The Urban Rat and the Suburban Rat
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|The Impecunious Cricket and the Frugal Ant→|
|This poem was published in Wetmore’s 1898 anthology Fables for the Frivolous, which are parodies of Aesop's Fables|
A metropolitan rat invited
His country cousin in town to dine:
The country cousin replied, “Delighted.”
And signed himself, “Sincerely thine.”
The town rat treated the country cousin
To half a dozen
Kinds of wine.
He served him terrapin, kidneys devilled,
And roasted partridge, and candied fruit;
In Little Neck Clams at first they revelled,
And then in Pommery, sec and brut;
The country cousin exclaimed: “Such feeding
Proclaims your breeding
But just as, another bottle broaching,
They came to chicken en casserole
A ravenous cat was heard approaching,
And, passing his guest a finger-bowl,
The town rat murmured, “The feast is ended.”
And then descended
The nearest hole.
His cousin followed him, helter-skelter,
And, pausing beneath the pantry floor,
He glanced around at their dusty shelter
And muttered, “This is a beastly bore.
My place as an epicure resigning,
I’ll try this dining
In town no more.
“You must dine some night at my rustic cottage;
I’ll warn you now that it’s simple fare:
A radish or two, a bowl of pottage,
And the wine that’s known as ordinaire,
But for holes I haven’t to make a bee-line,
No prowling feline
Molests me there.
“You smile at the lot of a mere commuter,
You think that my life is hard, mayhap,
But I’m sure than you I am far acuter:
I ain’t afraid of no cat nor trap.”
The city rat could but meekly stammer,
“Don’t use such grammar,
My worthy chap.”
He dined next night with his poor relation,
And caught dyspepsia, and lost his train,
He waited an hour in the lonely station,
And said some things that were quite profane.
“I’ll never,” he cried, in tones complaining,
That rat again.”
It’s easy to make a memorandum
About THE MORAL these verses teach:
De gustibus non est disputandum;
The meaning of which Etruscan speech
Is wheresoever you’re hunger quelling
Pray keep your dwelling
In easy reach.