Aesop in Rhyme, with Some Originals
A plain, but honest, country mouse, Residing in a miller's house; Once, on a time, invited down An old acquaintance of the town: And soon he brought his dainties out; The best he had there's not a doubt. A dish of oatmeal and green peas, With half a candle, and some cheese; Some beans, and if I'm not mistaken, A charming piece of Yorkshire bacon. And then to show he was expert In such affairs, a fine dessert Was next produced, all which he press'd, With rustic freedom, on his guest. But he, the city epicure, This homely fare could not endure Indeed he scarcely broke his fast By what he took, but said, at last, "Old crony, now, I'll tell you what: I don't admire this lonely spot; This dreadful, dismal, dirty hole, Seems more adapted for a mole Than 'tis for you; Oh! could you see My residence, how charm'd you'd be. Instead of bringing up your brood In wind, and wet, and solitude, Come bring them all at once to town, We'll make a courtier of a clown. I think that, for your children's sake, 'Tis proper my advice to take." "Well," said his host, "I can but try, And so poor quiet hole good bye!" Then off they jogg'd for many a mile, Talking of splendid things the while; At last, in town, they all arrived— Found where the city mouse had lived— Entered at midnight through a crack, And rested from their tedious track. "Now," said the city mouse, "I'll show What kind of fare I've brought you to:" On which he led the rustic mice Into a larder, snug and nice, Where ev'ry thing a mouse could relish, Did ev'ry shelf and nook embellish. "Now is not this to be preferr'd To your green peas?" "Upon my word, It is," the country mouse replied, "All this must needs the point decide." Scarce had they spoke these words, when, lo! A tribe of servants hasten'd through, And also two gigantic cats, Who spied our country mouse and brats. Then, by a timely exit, she Just saved herself and family. "Oh, ask me not," said she in haste, "Your tempting dainties more to taste; I much prefer my homely peas, To splendid dangers such as these." Let London Coxcombs smartly drest make us poor country folks their jest; but let them not with us compare : clowns are not fools, but dandies are.
Baldwin, Cradock and Joy
appropriated by (4) many decades later, but there are significant differences which are possibly due to historical references that no longer made sense.