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A lion cub, of sordid mind,
Avoided all the lion kind;
Fond of applause, he sought the feasts
Of vulgar and ignoble beasts ;
With asses all his time he spent,
Their club's perpetual president.
He caught their manners, looks, and airs;
An ass in everything but ears !
If e'er his Highness meant a joke,
They grinn'd applause before he spoke ;
But at each word what shouts of praise ;
Goodness! how natural he brays !
Elate with flattery and conceit,
He seeks his royal sire's retreat ;
Forward and fond to show his parts,
His Highness brays; the lion starts.
'Puppy! that curs'd vociferation
Betrays thy life and conversation :
Coxcombs, an ever-noisy race,
Are trumpets of their own disgrace.
Why so severe ?' the cub replies ;
Our senate always held me wise !'
"How weak is pride,' returns the sire :
* All fools are vain when fools admire !
But know, what stupid asses prize,
Lions and noble beasts despise.'
To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there house and all
Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides
Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house with much
Where'er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own
Thus hermit-like his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And, if he meets one, only feeds
Who seeks him must be worse than blind, (He and his house are so combined,) if, finding it, he fails to find
Close by the threshold of a door nail'd fast,
Three kittens sat ; each kitten look'd aghast.
I, passing swift and inattentive by,
At the three kittens cast a careless eye ;
Not much concern'd to know what they did there,
Not deeming kittens worth a Poet's care.
But presently a loud and furious hiss
Caused me to stop, and to exclaim, 'What's this?'
When lo! upon the threshold met my view,
With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue,
A viper, long as Count de Grasse's queue.
Forth from his head his forked tongue he throws,
Darting it full against a kitten's nose ;
Who having never seen, in field or house,
The like, sat still and silent as a mouse :
Only projecting, with attention due,
Her whisker'd face, she asked him, “Who are you?
On to the hall went I, with pace not slow,
But swift as lightning, for a long Dutch hoe:
With which well arm'd I hasten'd to the spot,
To find the viper, but I found him not.
And, turning up the leaves and shrubs around,
Found only, that he was not to be found.
But still the kitten, sitting as before,
Sat watching close the bottom of the door.
* I hope,' said I,' the villain I would kill
Has slipp'd between the door and the door-sill ;
And if I make despatch, and follow hard,
No doubt but I shall find him in the yard ;'
For long ere now it should have been rehearsed,
'Twas in the garden that I found him first.
Even there I found him—there the full-grown cat,
His head, with velvet paw, did gently pat;
As curious as the kittens each had been
To learn what this phenomenon might mean.
Fill'd with heroic ardour at the sight,
And fearing every moment he would bite,
And rob our household of our only cat
That was of age to combat with a rat,
With outstretch'd hoe I slew him at the door,
And taught him never to come thither more.
THE PRIEST AND THE MULBERRY
Did you hear of the curate who mounted his mare,
And merrily trotted along to the fair ?
Of creature more tractable none ever heard,
In the height of her speed she would stop at a
But again with a word, when the curate said, Hey, She put forth her mettle and gallop'd away.
As near to the gates of the city he rode,
While the sun of September all brilliantly glow'd,
The good priest discover'd, with eyes of desire,
A mulberry-tree in a hedge of wild briar ;
On boughs long and lofty, in many a green shoot,
Hung large, black, and glossy, the beautiful fruit.
The curate was hungry and thirsty to boot ;
He shrunk from the thorns, though he long'd for
With a word he arrested his courser's keen speed,
And he stood up erect on the back of his steed;
On the saddle he stood while the creature stood still,
And he gather'd the fruit till he took his good fill.
· Sure never,' he thought, 'was a creature so rare,
So docile, so true, as my excellent mare;
Lo, here now I stand,' and he gazed all around,
As safe and as steady as if on the ground;
Yet how had it been, if some traveller this way,
Had, dreaming no mischief, but chanced to cry,
He stood with his head in the mulberry-tree,
And he spoke out aloud in his fond reverie ;
At the sound of the word the good mare made a
push, And down went the priest in the wild-briar bush. He remember'd too late, on his thorny green bed, Much that well may be thought cannot wisely be said.
T. L. Peacock
Proud Maisie is in the wood,
Walking so early;
Sweet Robin sits on the bush
Singing so rarely.