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• I know that you, sire, never do wrong,
You have no tail so stiff and strong,
You have no tail to strike and slay,
But you have ears to hear what I say.'

"You have done well,' the king replies,
And fix'd on her his little eyes ;
‘Good woman, yes, you have done right;
But you have not described me quite.

• I have no tail to strike and slay,
And I have ears to hear what you say ;
I have teeth, moreover, as you may see,
And I will make a meal of thee.'

Wicked the word, and bootless the boast,
As cruel King Crocodile found to his cost,
And proper reward of tyrannical might;
He show'd his teeth, but he miss'd his bite.

"A meal of me!' the woman cried,
Taking wit in her anger, and courage beside ;
She took him his forelegs and hind between,
And trundled him off the eggs of the Queen.

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To revenge herself then she did not fail;
He was slow in his motions for want of a tail ;
But well for the woman was it the while
That the Queen was gadding abroad in the Nile.

Two Crocodile Princes, as they play'd on the sand, She caught, and grasping them one in each hand, Thrust the head of one into the throat of the other, And made each Prince Crocodile choke his brother.

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And when she had truss'd three couple this way,
She carried them off and hasten d away,
And plying her cars with might and main,
Crossd the river and got to the shore again.
When the Crocodile Queen came home, she found
That her eggs were broken and scatter'd around,
And that six young princes, darlings all,
Were missing; for none of them answered her call.
Then many a not very pleasant thing
Pass'd between her and the Crocodile King;
* Is this your care of the nest ?' cried she ;
* It comes of your gadding abroad, said he.

The Queen had the better in this dispute,
And the Crocodile King found it best to be mute ;
While a terrible peal in his ears she rung,
I or the Queen had a tail as well as a tongue.
In woful patience he let her rail,
Standing less in fear of her tongue than her tail,
And knowing that all the words which were spoken,
Could not mend one of the eggs that were broken.
The woman, meantime, was very well pleased,
She had saved her life, and her heart was eased ;
The justice she ask'd in vain for her son,
She had taken herself, and six for one.

“Mash-Allah!' her neighbours exclaim'd in delight,
She gave them a funeral supper that night,
Where they all agreed that revenge was sweet,
And young Prince Crocodiles delicate meat.

R. Southey

CXLIX

THE LION AND THE CUB

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.'

7. Gay

CL

THE SNAIL

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there house and all

Together.

Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides

Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house with much

Displeasure.

Where'er he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels none,
Well satisfied to be his own

Whole treasure.

Thus hermit-like his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And, if he meets one, only feeds

The faster.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind,
(He and his house are so combined)
If, finding it, he fails to find

Its master.

V. Bourne

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CLI

THE COLUBRIAD

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 excl m, '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 ;'

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