The Two Old Bachelors
Two old Bachelors were living in one house;
One caught a Muffin, the other caught a Mouse.
Said he who caught the Muffin to him who caught the Mouse,—
"This happens just in time! For we've nothing in the house,
Save a tiny slice of lemon and a teaspoonful of honey,
And what to do for dinner—since we haven't any money?
And what can we expect if we haven't any dinner,
But to lose our teeth and eyelashes and keep on growing thinner?"
Said he who caught the Mouse to him who caught the Muffin,—
"We might cook this little Mouse, if we only had some Stuffin'!
If we had but Sage and Onion we could do extremely well;
But how to get that Stuffin' it is difficult to tell!"
Those two old Bachelors ran quickly to the town
And asked for Sage and Onion as they wandered up and down;
They borrowed two large Onions, but no Sage was to be found
In the Shops, or in the Market, or in all the Gardens round.
But some one said, "A hill there is, a little to the north,
And to its purpledicular top a narrow way leads forth;
And there among the rugged rocks abides an ancient Sage,—
An earnest Man, who reads all day a most perplexing page.
Climb up, and seize him by the toes,—all studious as he sits,—
And pull him down, and chop him into endless little bits!
Then mix him with your Onion (cut up likewise into Scraps),—
When your Stuffin' will be ready, and very good—perhaps."
Those two old Bachelors without loss of time
The nearly purpledicular crags at once began to climb;
And at the top, among the rocks, all seated in a nook,
They saw that Sage a-reading of a most enormous book.
"You earnest Sage!" aloud they cried, "your book you've read enough in!
We wish to chop you into bits to mix you into Stuffin'!"
But that old Sage looked calmly up, and with his awful book,
At those two Bachelors' bald heads a certain aim he took;
And over Crag and precipice they rolled promiscuous down,—
At once they rolled, and never stopped in lane or field or town;
And when they reached their house, they found (besides their want of Stuffin'),
The Mouse had fled—and, previously, had eaten up the Muffin.
They left their home in silence by the once convivial door;
And from that hour those Bachelors were never heard of more.