Book I

BOOK I.

T O fill my rising Song with sacred Fire,
Ye tuneful Nine , ye sweet Celestial Quire!
From Helicon 's imbow'ring Height repair,
Attend my Labours, and reward my Pray'r,
The dreadful Toils of raging Mars I write,
The Springs of Contest, and the Fields of Fight;
How threatning Mice advanc'd with warlike Grace,
And wag'd dire Combats with the croaking Race.
Not louder Tumults shook Olympus ' Tow'rs,
When Earth-born Giants dar'd Immortal Pow'rs,
Those equal Acts an equal Glory claim,
And thus the Muse records the Tale of Fame.

 Once on a time, fatigu'd and out of Breath,
And just escap'd the stretching Claws of Death,
A Gentle Mouse , whom Cats pursu'd in vain,
Fled swift-of-foot across the neigb'ring Plain,
Hung o'er a Brink, his eager Thirst to cool,
And dipt his Whiskers in the standing Pool;
When near a courteous Frog advanc'd his Head;
And from the Waters, hoarse-resounding said:

 What art thou, Stranger? What the Line you boast?
What Chance has cast thee panting on our Coast?
With strictest Truth let all thy Words agree,
Nor let me find a faithless Mouse in thee.
If worthy Friendship, proffered Friendship take,
And ent'ring view the pleasureable Lake:
Range o'er my Palace, in my Bounty share,
And glad return from hospitable Fare.
This silver Realm extends beneath my Sway,
And me, their Monarch, all its Frogs obey.
Great Physignathus I, from Peleus ' Race,
Begot in fair Hydromede 's Embrace,
Where by the nuptial Bank that paints his Side,
The swift Eridanus delights to glide.
Thee too, thy Form, thy Strength, and Port proclaim
A scepter'd King; a Son of Martial Fame;
Then trace thy Line, and Aid my guessing Eyes.
Thus ceas'd the Frog , and thus the Mouse replies.

 Known to the Gods, the Men, the Birds that fly
Thro' wild Expanses of the midway Sky,
My Name resounds; and if unknown to thee,
The Soul of Great Psycarpax lives in me.
Of brave Troxartas ' Line, whose sleeky Down
In Love compress'd Lychomile the brown.
My Mother she, and Princess of the Plains
Where-e'er her Father Pternotroctas reigns:
Born where a Cabin lifts its airy Shed,
With Figs, with Nuts, with vary'd Dainties fed,
But since our Natures nought in common know,
From what Foundation can a Friendship grow?
These curling Waters o'er thy Palace roll;
But Man's high Food supports my Princely Soul.
In vain the circled Loaves attempt to lye
Conceal'd in Flaskets from my curious Eye,
In vain the Tripe that boasts the whitest Hue,
In vain the gilded Bacon shuns my View,
In vain the Cheeses, Offspring of the Paile,
Or honey'd Cakes, which Gods themselves regale.
And as in Arts I shine, in Arms I fight,
Mix'd with the bravest, and unknown to Flight.
Tho' large to mine the humane Form appear,
Not Man himself can smite my Soul with Fear.
Sly to the Bed with silent Steps I go,
Attempt his Finger, or attack his Toe,
And fix indented Wounds with dext'rous Skill;
Sleeping he feels, and only seems to feel.
Yet have we Foes which direful Dangers cause,
Grim Owls with Talons arm'd, and Cats with Claws,
And that false Trap , the Den of silent Fate,
Where Death his Ambush plants around the Bait:
All-dreaded these, and dreadful o'er the rest
The potent Warriors of the tabby Vest;
If to the dark we fly, the Dark they trace,
And rend our Heroes of the nibbling Race.
But me, nor Stalks, nor watrish Herbs delight,
Nor can the crimson Radish charm my Sight,
The Lake-resounding Frogs selected Fare,
Which not a Mouse of any Taste can bear.

 As thus the downy Prince his Mind exprest,
His Answer thus the croaking King addrest.

 Thy Words luxuriant on thy Dainties rove,
And, Stranger, we can boast of bounteous Jove:
We sport in Water, or we dance on Land,
And born amphibious, Food from both command.
But trust thy self where Wonders ask thy View,
And safely tempt those Seas, I'll bear thee thro':
Ascend my Shoulders, firmly keep thy Seat,
And reach my marshy Court, and feast in State.

 He said, and bent his Back; with nimble Bound
Leaps the light Mouse, and clasps his Arms around,
Then wond'ring floats, and sees with glad Survey
The winding Banks resembling Ports at Sea.
But when aloft the curling Water rides,
And wets with azure Wave his downy Sides,
His Thoughts grow conscious of approaching Woe,
His idle Tears with vain Repentance flow,
His Locks he rends, his trembling Feet he rears,
Thick beats his Heart with unaccustom'd Fears;
He sighs, and chill'd with Danger, longs for Shore:
His Tail extended forms a fruitless Oar,
Half-drench'd in liquid Death his Pray'rs he spake,
And thus bemoan'd him from the dreadful Lake.

 So pass'd Europa thro' the rapid Sea,
Trembling and fainting all the vent'rous Way;
With oary Feet the Bull triumphant rode,
And safe in Crete depos'd his lovely Load.
Ah safe at last! may thus the Frog support
My trembling Limbs to reach his ample Court.

 As thus he sorrows, Death ambiguous grows,
Lo! from the deep a Water- Hydra rose;
He rolls his sanguin'd Eyes, his Bosom heaves,
And darts with active Rage along the Waves.
Confus'd, the Monarch sees his hissing Foe,
And dives, to shun the sable Fates, below.
Forgetful Frog! The Friend thy Shoulders bore,
Unskill'd in Swimming, floats remote from Shore,
He grasps with fruitless Hands to find Relief,
Supinely falls, and grinds his Teeth with Grief,
Plunging he sinks, and struggling mounts again,
And sinks, and strives, but strives with Fate in vain.
The weighty Moisture clogs his hairy Vest,
And thus the Prince his dying Rage exprest.

 Nor thou, that flings'st me flound'ring from thy Back,
As from hard Rocks rebounds the shatt'ring Wrack,
Nor thou shalt 'scape thy Due, perfidious King!
Pursu'd by Vengeance on the swiftest Wing:
At Land thy Strength could never equal mine,
At Sea to conquer, and by Craft, was thine;
But Heav'n has Gods, and Gods have searching Eyes:
Ye Mice , ye Mice , my great Avengers rise!

 This said, he sighing gasp'd, and gasping dy'd,
His Death the young Lychopinax espy'd,
As on the flow'ry Brink he pass'd the Day,
Bask'd in the Beams, and loyter'd Life away.
Loud shrieks the Mouse , his Shrieks the Shores repeat;
The nibbling Nation learn their Heroe's Fate:
Grief, dismal Grief ensues; deep Murmurs sound,
And shriller Fury fills the deafen'd Ground.
From Lodge to Lodge the sacred Heralds run,
To fix their Council with the rising Sun;
Where great Troxartas crown'd in Glory reigns,
And winds his length'ning Court beneath the Plains;
Psycarpax ' Father, Father now no more!
For poor Psycarpax lies remote from Shore;
Supine he lies! the silent Waters stand,
And no kind Billow wafts the Dead to Land!
Author of original: 
Unknown, formerly at. to Homer
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