Page:Gesta Romanorum - Swan - Wright - 2.djvu/341

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329
OF EXTREME FEAR.

Scattering the fire, with reckless ire,
The rafters caught the flame;
And bleating breed, and scabby steed
Were roasted in the same.

Now had that wight, that miller hight,
Vouchsafed his house to keep;
Ere he returned, it had not burned,
Nor burned his horse and sheep[1].

The boy, made happy by the present, returned home.

Master. My child, have you stolen your verses, or made them?

Celest. I made them, Sir.

He then read what we have given above; and the master, struck with the greatest astonishment at their uncommon beauty, exclaimed, "My dear boy, tell me if any one made these verses for you?"

  1. As these are probably the only verses on record of the devil's composition, (at least so well authenticated,) I cannot do less than transcribe them for the edification of the curious.

    "Nexus ovem binam, per spinam traxit equinam;
    Læsus surgit equus, pendet utrumque pecus.
    Ad molendinum, pondus portabat equinum,
    Dispergendo focum, se cremat atque locum,
    Custodes aberant singula damna ferant."