I ran across this today and had a big time with my kids as they saw it as a riddle. I had them take turns reading it, just to see how many could understand it. ...I had to read it twice myself! ;-)
Most poetry flows and entertains as it goes- this is entertaining- but you have to pay attention!
The Atheist And The Acorn
Methinks this world is oddly made,
And ev’ry thing’s amiss,
A dull, presuming Atheist said,
As stretch’d he lay beneath a shade;
And instanced in this:
Behold, quoth he, that mighty thing,
A Pumpkin, large and round,
Is held but by a little string,
Which upwards cannot make it spring,
Or bear it from the ground.
Whilst on this Oak, a fruit so small,
So disproportion’d grows;
That who with sense surveys this All,
This universal Causal Ball,
Is ill contrivance knows.
My better judgment would have hung
The weight upon a tree,
And left this mast, this slightly strung,
‘Mongst things which on the surface sprung,
And small and feeble be.
No more the caviler could say,
Nor further faults descry;
For, as he upwards gazing lay,
An Acorn, lossen’d from the stay,
Fell down upon his eye.
Th’ offended part with tears ran o’er,
As punish’d for the sin:
Fool! Had that bough a Pumpkin bore,
Thy whimsies must have worked no more,
Nor skull had kept them in.
Anne, Countess of Wincheslsea
(descry – caught sight of)