South-Sea Ballad:
Merry Remarks upon Exchange-Alley Bubbles.
To a New Tune, call’d,
The Grand Elixir: or, the Philosopher’s Stone discover’d.


In London stands a famous Pile, And near that Pile an Alley, Where many Crowds for Riches Toil, And Wisdom stoops to Folly. Here Sad and Joyful, High and Low; Court Fortune for her Graces, And as she Smiles or Frowns, they show Their Gestures and Grimaces.


Here Stars and Garters do appear, Among our Lord the Rabble, To buy and sell, to see and hear The Jews and Gentiles squabble. Here crafty Courtiers are too wise For those who trust to Fortune, They see the Cheat with clearer Eyes, Who peep behind the curtain.


Our greatest Ladies hither come, And ply in Chariots daily, Oft pawn their Jewels for a Sum, To venture in the Alley. Young Harlots, too, from Drury-Lane, Approach the Change in coaches, To fool away the Gold they gain By their obscene Debauches.


Long Heads may thrive by sober Rules, Because they Think, and drink not, But Headlongs are our thriving Fools, Who only drink, and Think not, The lucky Rogues, like Spaniel Dogs, Leap into South Sea-Water, And there they fish for Golden Frogs, Not caring what comes a’ter.


’Tis said that Alchimists of old Could turn a Brazen Kettle, Or Leaden Cistern into Gold, That noble tempting Mettle, But if it here may be allow’d To bring in Great and Small Things, Our cunning South Sea, like a God, Turns Nothing into All Things.


What need have we of Indian Wealth Or Commerce with our Neighbours, Our Constitution is in Health, And Riches crown our Labours: Our South-Sea Ships have golden Shrouds, They bring us Wealth, ’tis granted, But lodge their Treasure in the Clouds, To hide it, till its wanted.


O Britain bless thy present State, Thou only happy Nation, So odly Rich, so madly Great, Since Bubbles came in Fashion. Successful Rakes exert their Pride, And count their airy Millions, Whilst homely Drabs in Coaches ride, Brought up to Town on Pillions.


Few Men, who follow Reason’s Rules, Grow fat with South Sea Diet, Young Rattles and unthinking Fools Are those that flourish’d by it. Old Musty Jades and Pushing Blades, Who’ve least Consideration, Grow Rich a pace; whilst wiser Heads Are struck with Admiration.


A Race of Men, who t’other Day Lay crush’d beneath Disasters, Are now by Stock brought into Play, And made our Lords and Masters. But should our South Sea Babel fall, What Numbers would be Frowning, The Losers then must ease their Gall By Hanging or by Drowning.


Five hundred Millions, Notes and Bonds, Our Stocks are worth in Value, But neither lie in Goods or Lands, Or Money let me tell ye. Yet tho’ our Foreign Trade is lost, Of mighty Wealth we Vapour; When all the Riches that we boast Consists in Scraps of Paper.