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Fergus’s line1did rule this realm,
My father had the third place at the helm2.
3Out of the
privy kitchen3came his
4Of sixteen dishes he might daily eat.
5All things that were in season
out were sought5.
6Amongst the rest they
7Which, being set ready till my father comes,
8A mouse leaps on the table for the crumbs;
9Then, skipping up and down, her tail did glide
10By chance betwixt the shells;
’twas then full tide7.
11The oyster, feeling one within her house,
12Clapped close her doors, and thus she catched the mouse.
13O, that I now could speak the
Frogian language9! But I want such lungs
he that writ the dismal bloody fights10
16Betwixt the Frogian and the Micean knights.
17Surely no women, and I think few men,
dance so well as he11with
19But he those tongues, as I have heard, did seek
20Before he learned the Latin or the Greek.
21But now the captive mouse her dubious fate
22In my own mother tongue I must relate.
23As her imprisonment came by
24So the next
happy14tide did let her go.
25Oh, wonderful! Who would have ever thought
the Delian twins15help should be brought?
27Then let us learn, while flesh doth here
28Our sinful souls—not think our selves secure.
this dull fish17was torn up from a rock,
spritely18mouse in prison thus to lock,
31So, from a
vulgar19, one may rise to reign
32That many a noble spirit may restrain.
33This is too true; yet let them patient be,
34For tide, or time, or death, will set them free.
35Then trust in God,
extol20Him day and night:
36For sun, and moon, and stars, shall for thee fight.