A sly old Fox, a foe of Geese and Rabbits,
Was taken captive in a trap one day
(Just recompense of predatory habits),
And lost his tail before he got away.
He felt ashamed at such a mutilation;
But, cunning as before, proposed a way
To gain companions in his degradation;
And spoke as follows, on a council-day:—
"Dear brother Foxes, what can be the beauty
Or use of things so cumbrous and absurd?
They only sweep the mud up. It′s your duty
To cut them off—it is, upon my word!"
"Not bad advice: there may be wisdom in it,"
Remarked a sage, "but will you, by-the-by,
Oblige us all by turning round a minute,
Before we give a positive reply?"
You never heard such hurricanes of laughter
As hailed the cropped appearance of the rogue.
Of course, among the Foxes, ever after,
Long tails continued very much in vogue.