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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1808.9
Jupiter and the Frogs
"H. W. T."
The Scots Magazine, LXX (July, 1808), pp. 527-528

Imitated from Aesop.[1]

'Tis said, the croaking race of old,
    Of Jove's dominion tir'd,
Become seditious, vain, and bold,
    Another king desir'd.

The god, who men and croakers rules,
    Smil'd at their discontent,
And, soon, in pity to the fools,
    A harmless monarch sent.

Red stream of lightning flash'd on high;
    Loud thunder shook the bog;
And swift descended from the sky
    A huge unwieldy log.

Its dashing fall the nation heard,
    And trembled in their caves,
But, when the tumult ceas'd they rear'd,
    Their heads above the waves.

At length, approaching by degrees,
    And more familiar grown,
The state, with indignation, sees
    A log upon the throne.

Then on his back they swiftly mount,
    Their king no more revere,
Nor make of him the least account,
    But loudly croaking there,

In voice resounding o'er the place,
    And all with one accord,
An active monarch for their race
    Demand of heav'n's high lord.

The angry god, on vengeance bent,
    Denounc'd their future woe,
And soon a direful monster sent
    To give the fated blow.

Lo! from the lake's remotest bed
    A hissing voice is heard,
And o'er the waves his horrid head
    A water-hydra rear'd.

With crest erect, and flaming eyes,
    He circles round the shores,
In ev'ry creek and corner pries,
    And half the race devours,

Again they pray;—but Jove refus'd,
    To grant the wish'd relief;
For they, who have his gifts abus'd,
    Must bear th' attendant grief.
                  _____

Kind reader, to this tale give ear,
    Which Aesop told before,
And ye may now with profit hear,
    As Athens heard of yore.

Let short-eyed mortals cease to grieve
    For good yet unpossest,
Live while they may, and still believe,
    The present hour the best.

And had proud France allegiance giv'n
    To Bourbon's milder sway
She had not been so sadly driv'n
    A Tyrant to obey.


Notes

1. Also see The Frogs and the Crane (1804).

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September 2004

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