Fifes and Drums/The Ultimate Argument

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Before the high court of King Lion the Strong
The wily Hyena appeared with a throng
Of Jackals as witnesses, charging the Ass
With wronging him foully by eating the grass.

"This rogue," the Hyena indignantly cried,
"Without any warrant express or implied,
Devours the herbage so luscious and sweet
And cruelly leaves me with nothing to eat.
I pray the Court, therefore, to grant me relief,
Including permission to dine on the thief."

The Ass pleaded humbly with down-hanging ears,
(Addressing a Jury composed of his peers):
"Dear friends, that I graze in the meadow is true,
But not without warrant. My course I pursue
By right of a Document sealed with a Seal—
King Solomon's firman which none may repeal."

"Ha!" snarled the Hyena; "but where is your proof?"
"My warrant is writ," said the Ass, "on my hoof."
"Indeed!" sneered the Plaintiff; "then show it, I beg."
"Look well!" brayed the Ass, as he drew up a leg.
Close peered the Hyena. The Ass gave a snort
And kicked the Conspirator clean out of Court.


While Patience is praiseworthy, even in Gath,
And Sweetness may possibly turn away Wrath,
The mildest can have but one answer to give
Oppressors who question their title to live.

Arthur Guiterman.