1The porcupine went
ruffling in his pride,
2Scorning the humble tortoise by his side,
Spurning her oft, and spurting many a quill;
4The tortoise pulled her head in and lay still.
5He called her patient fool, and suff’ring ass;
6Thus o’er her back, insulting, he did pass.
7Just then, a loaded cart and men came by;
8As soon as they this
different couple spy,
9They laughed, which vexed the porcu at the heart;
quiver he did dart
Promiscuously at horses, men, and cart;
frocketeers threw stones and lashed their whip,
13Which made the furious porcupine to
14Then drove their cart over the tortoise shell:
15But she, in spite of all their spite, was well.
16The cart went on; the rustics, they run after;
17The tortoise hardly could hold in her laughter,
18But did refrain, hearing the doleful moan
19The porcupine made to himself alone:
20Saying, “Let revengeful spirits learn by me
21Not to retaliate an injury,
22But of this tortoise learn humility.”
23The tortoise blushed to hear herself commended,
24Then crawled away, and so the
wasps and hornets lose their lives and stings:
26From self-revenge, nought but repentance springs;
27Then, like the tortoise, though I feel or see
28The least affront, or seeming injury,
29Yet let my mind above the greatest be:
30What if they hurt my flesh? ’Tis but my shell
31That suffers; my
enfranchised soul is well.
32Then at my oppressors’ feet myself I’ll lay;
33Vengeance is Thine, my God: Thou wilt repay.