The Rat And The Cat

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

At telling of rabies old Esop was grand;

With his subtile invention, his wisdom so great.

And a story of his, as I have it at hand,

Into our own language I now will translate.

"It is plain," said a Rat, at the mouth of his hole,

"No distinction more lovely and noble is found

Than fidelity. Therefore it is, on my soul,

I love and respect the generous Hound."
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A Cat answered, hard by: "This quality fine

I assure you is also a merit of mine."--

"Ah! what's that?" said the Rat, as, in terrible fright

He sprang to his hole, and, when safe out of sight,

Just poking his nose out, he coolly did call:

"You boast of it, hey? I don't like it at all."

* * * * *

The honor which many would freely allow,

They retract, when it lights on an enemy's brow.

Now what say you, my reader? "The fable is one

Which delights and instructs. It is perfectly done.

Esop had, in these things, a way of his own."

Ah! but look, my good sir; from this noddle of mine

It all came. Your friend Esop wrote never a line--

Of the whole.--"Ah, indeed! Then the fable is thine?"

Yes it is, learned man; and I ween you'll not fail.

Being mine, to attack it with tooth and with nail.