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The Lion and the Echo

Illustration 081

The Lion and the Echo

A lion , bravest of the wood,

Whose title undisputed stood,

As o'er the wide domains he prowl'd,

And in pursuit of booty growl'd,

An Echo from a distant cave

Regrowl'd, articulately grave:

His majesty, surprised, began

To think at first it was a man;

But on reflection sage, he found

It was too like a lion's sound.

"Whose voice is that which growls at mine?"

His highness ask'd. Says Echo, "Mine!"

"Thine!" says the Lion: "Who art thou?"

Echo as stern cried, "Who art thou?"

"Know I'm a lion, hear and tremble!"

Replied the king. Cried Echo, "Tremble!"

"Come forth," says Lion; "show thyself."

Laconic Echo answered, "Elf."

"Elf, durst thou call me, vile pretender?"

Echo as loud replies, "Pretender!"

At this, as jealous of his reign,

He growl'd in rage; she growl'd again.

Incensed the more, he chafed and foam'd,

And round the spacious forest roam'd

To find the rival of his throne,

Who durst with him dispute the crown.

A fox, who listen'd all the while,

Address'd the monarch with a smile:

"My liege, most humbly I make bold,

Though truth may not be always told,

That this same phantom which you hear,

That so alarms your royal ear,

Is not a rival of your throne:

The voice and fears are all your own."

Imaginary terrors scare

A timorous soul with real fear;

Nay, even the wise and brave are cow'd

By apprehensions from the crowd:

A frog a lion may disharm,

And yet how causeless the alarm!

Illustration 083