Louis Wain – The Frogmousiad

“Anger of gods to escape thou shalt surely never make shift,
Puff-cheek, casting me thus like shipwrecked sailor adrift :
Never on land for me couldst thou have been nearly a match
Wretch, in a contest athletic, wrestling, or toeing the scratch ;
But, as there’s justice in heaven, for this thy wat’ry device
Penalty dear shalt thou pay to th’ avenging army of Mice.”
So the water closed o’er him, and down to the bottom he sank :
Lick-trencher saw him drown, as he sat on the slippery bank,
Saw, and cried aloud ; then homeward speeding like fire
Told the sad tale to his friends, and roused their deadliest ire.

Then to the halls of Loaf-nibbler, the aged father, forlorn,
Bade he the heralds summon assembly at earliest morn,
While on the pitiless wave Crumb-snatcher’s motionless form
Lay without life outspread, the sport of billow and storm.
Summoned in haste they came, and to them the sorrowing sire,
Mourning his offspring lost, thus spake in terrible ire
“Friends, though on me alone unmeasured calamities fall,
Yet not alone I grieve : there is woe and wailing for all.
Thrice have I been bereaved : one son on my threshold, in vain,
Flying for life, by the merciless Cat was o’ertaken and slain
And by the craft of men ensnaring innocent Mice
Yet another was caught in an engine of novel device
Now too, a third has perished, his mother’s darling and mine,-
Drowned in the fathomless deep by Puff-cheek’s cruel design.
Come then, arm ye for vengeance, and issue forth to the fight,
Warriors bravely equipped and harnessed in panoply bright.”

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