06 November 2013

The Robin Red-Breast and the Cat

By Ewan Clarke.
One morn, when snows bestrew'd the ground,
And frost each pool in fetters bound,
A Robin pinch'd through hungers power,
Made free t'approach a farmer's door,
Nor bolts, nor bars his entrance stop'd;
The door was open...in he hopp'd...
He star'd around with vast surprise,
The scene was new in Robin's eyes.
He duck'd his head as who should say,
God bless you, folks! this frosty day;
Now bolder grown, he hopp'd around,
And pick'd the crumbs from off the ground,
His little crop soon fill'd with meat
Kind Jenny crumbled as he eat.
"Blest chance to lead me (Robin said)
To where I'm warmed, to where I'm fed,
May ne'er mischance this house molest,
And may that kind be doubly blest,
May pains, and sickness cease t'intrude,"
The chirp'd a song of gratitude.
Grimalkin heard the tempering air,
And sly crept from beneath a chair;
He lick'd his whiskers, fixed his eyes,
And sprung upon his flutt'ring prize.
Ah me ... ah me, what woes betide,
Spare .. spare my life, poor Robin cry'd,
Show mercy as thoud'dst mercy find,
I ne'er harm'd Cat or Kitten kind.
Let man's example by thy guide,
Fool, so it is ... the Cat reply'd,
Look around, and thou shalt view each day,
Man making man his eager prey.
The helpless, harmless, rest assur'd,
Ne'er fail, like thee, to be devour'd.
Thus spoke the Cat, with visage grim,
Then tore the trembler limb from limb.
May 13, 1812. Norwich Courier 16(27): 4.