“ Listen, ye Frogs, I come from the outraged nation of Mice,
Bringing you stern defiance : so arm your host in a trice.
Slain by Puff-cheek your King, Crumb-snatcher’s corpse from the wave
Calls on his country for vengeance ; and so we challenge your brave
Champions to battle.” He spake : in their ears that utterance shrill
Rang, and raised in their valiant hearts an answering thrill :
Then as they muttered reproaches, the King arose to explain :—
“ Friends, not mine is the guilt : no innocent Mouse have I slain
Not in my sight did he perish. But on the treacherous marge
Sporting he met his death : shall they lay on your monarch the charge
Basely accusing the guiltless ? At once then let us debate
How these treacherous Mice we can wholly annihilate.
My advice is to arm ourselves, and stand in a rank
On the brink of the pond at the steepest slope of the bank ;
Then, as they rush upon us, to seize each foe by the helm,
And in the watery deep their encumbered bodies o’erwhelm.
So shall we raise our trophy, and make our victory known,
Drowning the famed Mouse-heroes, who only swim like a stone.”
Such were the words of the King ; and his lieges in haste to obey