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THE NEW TALE OF A TUB.

169

What terrors sieze

The Bengalese
As the roar of the Tiger reaches the car,

Their hair is standing on end with fear.
Short-and-stout, with his hair all gray,
Has a rattling note in his jolly old throat;
If choking his laugh with a truss of hay,

He could n't more surely have stifled the gay. While Tall-and-thin with his hair all carroty,

Looks thrice as red with fright as his head,

And his face bounds plump, at a single jump,
Into horror, and out of hilarity.

All they can hear, in their terrible fear,
Behind and before, is the Tiger's roar;
Again and again, o'er the plain,

Clearer and clearer, nearer and nearer,
Into the Tub now its way it has found,
Where its echoes keep rolling round and round,
Till out of the bung-hole they bursting come,
Like a regiment of thunders escaped from a drum.

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If an earthquake had shattered a thousand kegs,
The terrified Bengalese could n't, i' fegs,
Have leapt more rapidly on to their legs.

He's at 'em, he 's on 'em, the jungle guest !
When a man's life by peril is prest,

His wits will sometimes be at their best.
So the presence of Tiger, I find,
Inspires our heroes with presence of mind.

There 's no time to be lost

Down the glasses are tossed; The Bengalese have abandoned their grub, And they 're dodging their gentleman round the Tub. Active and earnest they nowhere lodge, And he can't get at them, because of their dodge. Short-and-stout and Tall-and-thin Never before such a scrape were in,

Nor ever yet used-can you well have a doubt of it ?So uncommonly artful a dodge to get out of it.

Tiger keeps prowling,

Howling, and growling;
He feels himself that their dodge is clever;
But the quick fresh blood of the Bengalese
Nicer and nicer he snuffs on the breeze,
The more they practice their dodge recitals,
The more he longs to dine on their vitals.
His passion is up, his hunger is keen,
His jaws are ready, his teeth are clean,

And sharpened their limbs to sever.
The fire is flashing in light from his eyes;
In his own peculiar manner he cries,

The while they shine,
“If I mean to dine,
I had better begin,"

And then, with a grin,
And a voice the loudest that ever was heard,
He
roars,

“Never trust to a tiger's word,
If this dodge shall last much longer!

No, no, no, no,-it shall be no go!
There 's a way of disturbing this Tub's repose;

So down on your knees,
You Bengalese,
And prepare to be eaten up, if you please.

Here goes!
Here goes! here goes !” and he gave a spring.
The gentlemen, looking for no such thing,
Might have fallen a prey to the Tiger's fling;

But a certain interference,
Which bursts from their most intelligent Tub,
May enable them to return to their grub,

On the selfsame plain a year hence.
The Tub, though empty of roll and ration,
Is full of a certain preservation,

Of which—though it does not follow

THE NEW TALE OF A TUB.

171

In every case of argumentation

It is full because it is hollow.
For, not having a top, and no inside things,
It turns top-heavy when Tiger springs,
And, making a kind of balancing pause,
Keeps holding the animal up by his claws,

In a manner that seems to fret it;
While Short-and-stout, in a state of doubt,
Keeps on his belly a sharp lookout;
And Tall-and-thin, with an impudent grin,

Exults in his way,

As much as to say,
“I only wish you may get it !
But much as I may respect your ability,
I don't see at present the great probability.”

The Tiger has leapt up, heart and soul.
It 's clear he meant to go the whole
Hog, in his hungry efforts to seize
The two defianceful Bengalese.

But the Tub! the Tub!
Ay, there 's the rub!
At present he 's balanced atop of the Tub,
His fore legs inside,

And the rest of his hide,
Not weighing so much as his head and his legs,

And having no hand in

A pure understandin'
Of the just equilibrium of casks and of kegs,

Not bred up in attics,

Nor taught mathematics,
To work out the problems of Euclid with pegs,
He has plunged with the impetus wild of a lover,
And the Tub has loomed large, balanced, paused, and

turned over.

The Tiger at first had a hobby-horse ride,
But now he is decently quartered inside;

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And the question is next, long as fortune may frown on

him, How the two Bengalese are to keep the Tub down on

him.

'Bout this there 's no blunder,
The Tiger is under

The Tub!
My verse need not run

To the length of a sonnet,
To tell how the Bengalese

Both jumped upon it,
While the beautiful barrel

Keeps acting as bonnet
To the Tiger inside,

Who no more in his pride
Can roam over jungle and plain,
But sheltered alike from the sun and the rain,

Around its interior his sides deigns to rub

With a fearful hub-bub,
And longs for his freedom again.

The two Bengalese,
Not at all at their ease,
Hear him roar,
And deplore

Their prospects as sore,
Forgetting both picnic and flask;

Each, wondering, dumb,

What of both will become,
Helps the other to press on the cask;

Resigned to their fate,

But increasing their weight
By action of muscle and sinew,
In order that forcibly you, Mr. Tub,

Whom their niggers this morning
Rolled here with their grub,
May still keep the Tiger within you.

THE NEW TALE OF A TUB.

173

On the top of the Tub,
In the warmest of shirts,

The thin man stands,
While the fat by his skirts
Holds, anxiously puffing and blowing;

And the thin peers over the top of the cask,
“Is there any hope for us?”

As much as to ask,
With a countenance cunning and knowing;
And just as he mournfully 'gins to bewail,

In a grief-song that ought to be sung whole,
He twigs the long end of the old Tiger's tail
As it twists itself out of the bung-hole.

Then, sharp on the watch,
He gives it a catch,

And shouts to the Tiger,
“You 're now got your match;
You may rush and may riot, may wriggle and roar,
But I 'm blest if I 'll let your tail go any more!”
It 's as safe as a young roasted pig in a larder,
And no two Bengalese could hold on by it harder.
With the Tiger's tail clenched fast in his fist,
And his own coat-tail grasped fast to assist,
Stands Tall-and-thin with Short-and-stout,
Both on the top of the Tub to scout,
Tiger within and they without,

And both in a pretty pickle.
The Tiger begins by giving a bound;
The Tub 's half turned, but the men are found
To have very carefully jumped to the ground-

At trifles they must not stickle.
It 's no use quaking and turning pale,
Pluck and patience must now prevail,
They must keep a hold on the Tiger's tail,

And neither one be fickle.
There they must pull, if they pull for weeks,
Straining their stomachs and bursting their cheeks,

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