One day sat dreaming in his form a Hare,
(And what but dream could one do there?)
With melancholy much perplexed
(With grief this creature′s often vexed).
"People with nerves are to be pitied,
And often with their dumps are twitted;
Can′t even eat, or take their pleasure;
Ennui," he said, "torments their leisure.
See how I live: afraid to sleep,
My eyes all night I open keep.
′Alter your habits,′ some one says;
But Fear can never change its ways:
In honest faith shrewd folks can spy,
That men have fear as well as I."
Thus the Hare reasoned; so he kept
Watch day and night, and hardly slept;
Doubtful he was, uneasy ever;
A breath, a shadow, brought a fever.
It was a melancholy creature,
The veriest coward in all nature;
A rustling leaf alarmed his soul,
He fled towards his secret hole.
Passing a pond, the Frogs leaped in,
Scuttling away through thick and thin,
To reach their dark asylums in the mud.
"Oh! oh!" said he, "then I can make them scud
As men make me; my presence scares
Some people too! Why, they′re afraid of Hares!
I have alarmed the camp, you see.
Whence comes this courage? Tremble when I come;
I am a thunderbolt of war, may be;
My footfall dreadful as a battle drum!"
There′s no poltroon, be sure, in any place,
But he can find a poltroon still more base.