The Urban Rat and the Suburban Rat

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Urban Rat and the Suburban Rat
by Guy Wetmore Carryl
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
                        Beyond dispute!”

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,
                        “Try entertaining
                        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.