PrologueTo you, who 've graver things bespoke,
This seems no better than a joke,
And light for mere amusement made;
Yet still we drive the scribbling trade,
And from the pen our pleasure find,
When we've no greater things to mind.
Yet if you look with care intense,
These tales your toil shall recompense;
Appearance is not always true,
And thousands err by such a view.
'Tis a choice spirit that has pried
Where clean contrivance chose to hide;
That this is not at random said,
I shall produce upon this head
A fable of an arch device,
About the Weasel and the Mice.
The Weasel and MiceA Weasel, worn with years, and lame,
That could not overtake its game,
Now with the nimble Mice to deal,
Disguised herself with barley meal;
Then negligent her limbs she spread
In a sly nook, and lay for dead.
A Mouse that thought she there might feed,
Leapt up, and perish'd in the deed;
A second in like manner died;
A third, and sundry more beside:
Then comes the brindled Mouse, a chap
That oft escaped both snare and trap,
And seeing how the trick was played,
Thus to his crafty foe he said:-
"So may'st thou prosper day and night,
As thou art not an errant bite."