The Gardener and the Mole

A GARDENER had watcht a mole
And caught it coming from its hole.
" Mischievous beast!" he cried, " to harm
The garden as thou dost the farm.
Here thou hast had thy wicked will
Upon my tulip and jonquil.
Behold them drooping and half dead
Upon this torn and tumbled bed."
The mole said meekly in reply,
" My star is more to blame than I.
To undermine is mole's commission,
Our house stil holds it from tradition.
What lies the nearest us is ours.
Decreed so by the higher Powers.
We hear of conies and of hares.
But when commit we deeds like theirs?
We never touch the flowers that blow,
And only bulbs that lurk below.
'Tis true, where we have run, the ground
Is rais'd a trifle, nor quite sound,
Yet, after a few days of rain,
Level and firm it lies again;
Wise men, like you, will rather wait
For these than argue against fate,
Or quarrel with us moles because
We simply follow Nature's laws.
We raise the turf to keep us warm,
Surely in this there is no harm.
Ye break it up to set thereon
A fortress or perhaps a throne,
And pray that God cast down his eyes
Benignly on burnt sacrifice,
The sacrifice of flesh and bone
Fashioned, they tell us, like His own,
Ye in the cold lie all the night
Under thin tents, at morn to fight.
Neither for horn'd nor fleecy cattle
Start we to mingle in the battle,
Or in the pasture shed their blood
To pamper idleness with food.
Indeed we do eat worms; what then?
Do not those very worms eat men,
And have the impudence to say
Ye shall ere long be such as they?
We never kill or wound a brother,
Men kill by thousands one another,
And, though ye swear ye wish but peace,
Your feuds and warfares never cease."
Such homebrought truths the gardener,
Though mild by nature, could not bear,
And lest the mole might more have said
He chopt its head off with the spade.
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