The lion had an enterprise in hand;
Held a war-council, sent his provost-marshal,
And gave the animals a call impartial -
Each, in his way, to serve his high command.
The elephant should carry on his back
The tools of war, the mighty public pack,
And fight in elephantine way and form;
The bear should hold himself prepared to storm;
The fox all secret stratagems should fix;
The monkey should amuse the foe by tricks.
'Dismiss,' said one, 'the blockhead asses,
And hares, too cowardly and fleet.'
'No,' said the king; 'I use all classes;
Without their aid my force were incomplete.
The ass shall be our trumpeter, to scare
Our enemy. And then the nimble hare
Our royal bulletins shall homeward bear.'
A monarch provident and wise
Will hold his subjects all of consequence,
And know in each what talent lies.
There's nothing useless to a man of sense.