The Race.

A poem by A. Hoatson

Has anyone heard of the wonderful race
Of the frogs and the greyhounds, the rabbits and cats?
They rode it on bicycles, sixteen in all,
And the umpires were pugs, with cigars and high hats.

And the number of each kind of racer was four--
Four frogs dressed in green, four rabbits in brown,
Four greyhounds well brushed and with spotless shirt-fronts,
Four pussies with tails hanging gracefully down.


The four solemn puggies inspected them all
And weighed them as gravely as if they were dead.
"The rabbits must carry the dinners for all;
It's a fair handicap, as they're quickest," they said.

(I've heard that the rabbits were angry at this;
And I think that it's true, for they never were seen
Any more by the umpires, although the cats say
They frequently meet them at night on the green.)


And now they are ready, and "Go!" cried the first
Of the four solemn pugs as he lit his cigar.
"I shall act for the rabbits; you choose from the rest,
And carefully watch who first passes the bar."

"The cats shall be mine," says the fourth with a wag
Of his tightly curled tail as he sat on the grass.
"I speak for the frogs," said the third, "for I'm sure
They're cunning enough to let nobody pass."


"So the greyhounds are mine, then," says pug Number Two,
And he put his blue spectacles on, and he sighed,
"I know they'll not win, though they'll all do their best,
For nobody ever has taught them to ride."

The frogs came up first, with their legs straddled wide
On the bicycle handles, their arms folded tight;
Their umpire, the third little pug, gave a shout,
And pushed his hat back in his joy at the sight.


Then up came the greyhounds, and pug Number Two,
Though dissatisfied, felt that he could not ask more.
"But where are the rabbits?" said One with a groan.
"And what has become of my pussies?" whined Four.

Well, the pussies were last, for they would not begin
With the others, but stayed to catch mice and to play;
And the rabbits rode off with the food to the woods,
So nobody got any dinner that day.

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