Louis Wain – The Frogmousiad

He was a host in himself, and like Mars in his menacing frown
Leading the conquering Mice through the battle he ranged up and down,
And on the brink of the pond he solemnly swore to efface
From creation’s record  the whole Batrachian race.

Then the King of the Gods, on Olympus’ towering hill,
Pitied the suffering Frogs, and thus he uttered his will,
Shaking his awful head :— “ Methinks this is going too far,
If Bun-ravager’s pride should control the issues of war.
Slaughter all Frogs indeed ! Come, Mars and Minerva, and stay
This o’erweening boaster from thus concluding the fray ! ”
So spake the King of Gods, and thus answered Juno his Queen :
“ Might of Minerva or Mars will scarce avail us, I ween,
Now the vanquished to save. Let thy lightning terribly flash,
Wherewith thou into atoms the rebel giants didst dash.”
Then at her word he let loose the consuming fiery levin
And with his thundering shook the firm foundation of heaven,
So that all nations trembled : only the Mice undismayed
More than ever resolved their triumph should not be delayed.
But the decrees of Fate were against their arrogant boast :

Sent by the gods there came another more terrible host—
Sidelong and all awry the eight-legged monstrosities marched,
Hard were their backs as anvils of steel, and graspingly arched
Nipper-armed claws before them—with eyes in their breasts flashing fire—
Sherd-like things that no weapon could wound, no labour could tire—
Crabs they are vulgarly called. These fell on the army of Mice,
Nipping and snapping asunder their toes and tails in a trice,
Routing them all in a panic, and driving them mangled and maimed
Till they slunk slowly back to their holes, curtailed and ashamed.
Thus as the wearied Sun ‘neath Ocean extinguished his ray,
All the noise of battle died out with the ending of day.

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