1:06. THE BATTEL OF THE FROG AND MOUSE. Frog-land to save, and Micean Realms to spare From War and Ruine, two bold Kings prepare The Empire of the Marshes to decide In single fight; From all parts far and wide Both Nations flock to see the great event, And load with Vows and Pray'rs the Firmament: Oppos'd Petitions grant Heaven's Court no rest, While Hopes and Fears thus struggle in their breast. Up to the fatal Lists and measur'd Banks Both Armies drew; bold Yellow-coats in Ranks And black furr'd Mouscovites the circle man, Which the six-finger'd Giant could not span. The rising Hills each where the vulgar crown'd: Nor long expect they, when the Warlike sound, Of spirit-stirring Hornets, Gnats, and Bees, (Such Trumpeters would blood turn'd Ice unfreeze) Told the approach of two no petty Kings, While the long Vale with big-voyc'd Croakers rings. First King Frogmorton with the freckled face Enters the List (for they by Lot took place) Riding a Crafish, arm'd from head to heel In Shel, dame Nature's gift, instead of Steel. Although the many-footed could not run With the great Crab, which yearly feasts the Sun; Nor with the golden Scorpion could set forth And measure daily the Tun-belly'd Earth; Yet such his speed, he ne'r was overtook By any shel-back'd Monster of the Brook. The Arms he wore once were a Water-snake's, Which in the battel, when the springs and Lakes Decided were, a Conquerour he brought From the deep floods, with gold and purple wrought; Ore these a water-Rat's black Fur he cast, Dreadful with teeth and claws. Thus, as he past The Vulgar shout to see their six-inch'd King Like great Alcides in his Lyons skin. A whole house arm'd his head, had been a Snail's: Though Estridge Plumes it wants, and Peacocks Tails, Yet every colour the great Rain-bow dies, Shone on his Crest, the wings of Butter-flies, Sent him of old a present from Queen Mab. His Targe the shel of a deserted Crab, Where in the Frogian tongue this verse was writ; The Man-like swimming King unvanquish'd yet. Six sprightly Todpoles his rush Javelins bore; His Sword, a shape long two edg'd Flag he wore Girt to his thigh, a wand'ring Snail the Hilt, With a bright varnish in Meanders gilt. Appointed thus, about the Lists he rid, While all admire the Champions Arms and Steed. Soon as the pleas'd Spectators setled were, Glad acclamations melting into air, Voices were heard through ecchoing valleys ring, Th' approach foretelling of the Micean King. A subdu'd Mouse-trap, his Sedan in peace, His Chariot now, from Man's high Palaces Moustapha brought: Ne'r through the scorching plain Did sweating Kings draw such a Tamberlain: Six Princes, Captive Ferrets, through deep tracts Fearing the lash, oft fir'd his thundring ax: And though a heavy mortal was their load, King Oberon they ore Hill and Dale out-rode. Enter'd the Lists, he lights, then mounted on A dapled Weesle; the bold Micedon Appear'd (may we great things compare with small) Like the World's Conquerour, though not so tall. His Arms were not of Steel, nor Gold, nor Brass; Not sweating Cyclops turn'd the yielding mass With griping tongues, nor Bull-skin bellows rore To purge Electrum from the frothie Ore; But the black coat of a Westphalia Swine, Long hung in smoak, which now like Jet did shine. Fame sayes (and she tells truth as oft as lyes;) The season'd Gammon Miceans did Surprize, Spoyl'd the red flesh before 'twas once serv'd up After full boards, to rellish a fresh cup: This their Kings right, his Captains did present To him for safety, and an Ornament; Such was black Moustapha's habergeon: The ancient Hero's had but steel upon The heads of cruel Spears; but this did weild A Lance, whose body was all over steel'd; It was a Knitting-needle, strong and bright; His Helm a Thimble, daz'd th' Enemies sight, Ore which a thick fall'd Plume, wagg'd with each gale, Of Tiffany, gnawn from a Ladie's Veil; In it a Sprig which made his own afeard, The stiff Mustachios of a dead Cat's Beard. His solid Shield which he so much did trust Was Bisket, though some write 'twas Manchet crust. Historians oft, as Poets, do mistake; But I affirm 'twas Bisket, for the Cake, They all agree by Navigation, Four times was season'd in the Torrid Zone. The Story thus is told, the Rattish Prince A great Diviner, had Intelligence From occult Causes, that the dangerous Seas Must be forsook, and floating Palaces: The Ship next voyage would by Storms be lost: Therefore his black bands swom to the next Coast On Bisket safe; but Tybert by the way (The Prince of Cats) made him and it a prey, Slew on the shore, and feasted on his head; He, with blood sated, leaves neglected bread, Of which black Moustapha after made his Targe, Like Ajax seven-fold shield, but not so large. His Motto was his Title and his Name Transpos'd into no costive Anagram, Which from the Micean tongue we thus translate: The Parmazan affecter, strong, and great. Both Champions searcht, found free from fraud or Charms, They take their stands, and peise their mighty Arms. At once loud Hornets sound, at once they start; At once couch'd Spears, with equal force and Art Clos'd Bevers met, struck fire; at once they both Did backward kiss their mother Earth, though loth. But first his nimble foot the Micean found: When King Frogmorton as loath'd Irish ground His limbs had touch'd, lay on his back upright: Yet soon recovering, never Frogian Knight Made such a Charge; for with strange fury led At the first blow, he leaps quite ore his head, Bearing his pond'rous arms, his Sword and Targe. Nor was black Moustapha wanting in the Charge To shew his wondr'ous courage, strength, and skill: For by th' advantage of a rising Hill A Mole had wrought, he strikes; and though the stroke Would not have fel'd an Oxe, or cleft an Oake; Yet such it was, that had it took, in blood His Soul had wander'd through the Stygian flood; But missing, the soft air receives the wound, And ore and ore he tumbles to the ground. Nor at th' advantage was Frogmoreton slack, But at one jump bestrides the Micean's back; Then grasping him 'twixt his cold knees, he said: Robber of Man, who now shall give thee ayd? Foul Toad, so Oberon please, I fear not thee, Stout Moustapha reply'd: then actively He backward caught the short arm'd King by th' wrists, And bore him on his shoulders round the Lists; Lowd croaks scale Heaven, then maugre all his strength Regain'd his Sword and threw him thrice his length. On equal terms agen they battle joyn'd: Heroick Souls in narrow breasts confin'd! For these in Trojan Wars, once Champions fierce With gallant Acts adorn'd great Homer's verse: After became Testie Philosophers, And fought in hot disputes and learned jarrs; Then Lyons, Bears, Cocks, Bulls, and brisly Hogs; Last transmigrated Scismaticks, or Dogs: Where ere they meet, the War is still renew'd, With lasting hatred and immortal feud. The King, whose Grandsire when it thundred loud, 'Mongst fire and hail, dropt from a broken Cloud, And with an Hoast of Todpoles from the sky, In those vast Fenns a Frogian Colony At first did plant: though icy was his skin With Rage and Shame an Aetna felt within; Rais'd his broad Flag to make a mighty blow, Thinking at once in two to cleave the Foe; Who nimbly traversing with skill his ground, On th' Cerealian Shield receiv'd the wound: Yet from the orbed Bisket fell a slice, Which neer the List was snapp'd up in a trice. Here the Crum-picking King puts in a stuck, With a bright needle, his stiff Spanish Tuck; Which peirc'd Frogmoreton's skin, through's Dragon's mail; Rage doubles, then the Flag becomes a Flail; And on his Thimble Cask struck such a heat, That Moustapha was forced to retreat: Not struck with fear, but from his hole to fling Assured vengeance on the Diving King, Seven times he sallies forth, as oft retir'd; But now both Champions, with like fury fir'd, Lay off all cunning, scorning to defend, Strength, Rage, and Fortune must the Battel end: There was no interim; so the Cyclops beat When Mars his Arms require a second heat, Though lowder the Aetnaean Cavern rores; Blows had for death now made a thosuand dores, As many more for life to issue out. But here among our Authors springs a doubt: Some in this mighty combate dare averr Both Champions fainting, Symptoms shew'd of fear; In a cold sweat Frogmoreton, almost choak'd With heat and dust, gasp'd thrice, and three times croak'd. And Moustapha, bestew'd in blood and sweat, As oft cry'd Peep, and made no slow retreat. To these Detractors, since I am provok'd, I say 'tis false; this peep'd not, nor that croak'd. Historians feign, but truth the Poet sings; Some Writers still asperse the best of Kings. While thus the Battel stood, the Kytish Prince Had from lowd croaks and cries intelligence Of this great Fight; then to himself did say, What mighty matter's in the Marsh to day! Then mounted high on labouring wings he glides And the vast Region of the Air divides. The woful Fairy Mab did this foresee; Whom grief transform'd now to an humble-Bee: She flies about them, buzzing in their Ear: For both the Champions she esteemed dear. The black Prince did with Captive Frogians come, And at her Altars paid a Hecatomb That day: and King Frogmorton in her House With rear'd up hands offer'd a high-born Mouse; And when th' Immortal mortal Cates did wish, The fattest Sacrifice was made her Dish. Therefore She hums; Desist; No more; Be Friends; Behold, the common Enemy attends; In vain 'gainst him are your United Pow'rs: O stay your Rage; see, ore your head, he towers. But they engag'd in cruel fight, not heard The Queens admonishments, nor did regard Approaching Fates: but suddenly they bind In grapple fierce, their Targets cast behind. When the plum'd Prince down like swift Lightning stoops, And seiz'd both Champions, maugre all their Troops: Their Arms drop down, upon them both he feasts, And reconciles their doubtful Interests. Amaz'd Spectators fly, Hunt-crums, and Vaulters, Run to their Holes, and leap into the Waters.
Moral. Thus Petty Princes strive with mortall Hate, Till both are swallow'd by a Neighbouring State: Thus Factions with a Civill War imbru'd By some unseen Aspirer are Subdu'd. [more info]