A Fable

Rivington first published this production, in the Royal Gazette, as "A fable addressed to the Americans, upon their treaty with France." It afterwards appeared as "A fable, in the way of a song, for the rebels," over the signature of D. M.1 The last version differs slightly from the original.


REJOICE, Americans, rejoice !
Praise ye the Lord with heart and voice !
The treaty's signed with faithful France,
And now, like Frenchmen, sing and dance !

But when your joy gives way to reason,
And friendly hints are not deem'd treason,
Let me, as well as I am able,
Present your Congress with a fable.

Tired out with happiness, the frogs
Sedition croak'd through all their bogs;
And thus to Jove the restless race,
Made out their melancholy case.

"Fam'd, as we are, for faith and prayer,
We merit sure peculiar care;
But can we think great good was meant us,
When logs for Governors were sent us?

"Which numbers crush'd they fell upon,
And caus'd great fear, - till one by one,
As courage came, we boldly fac'd 'em,
Then leap'd upon 'em, and disgrac'd 'em !

"Great Jove," they croak'd, "no longer fool us,
None but ourselves are fit to rule us;
We are too large, too free a nation
To be encumber'd with taxation !

"We pray for peace, but wish confusion,
Then right or wrong, a - revolution !
Our hearts can never bend t' obey;
Therefore no king - and more we'll pray."

Jove smiled, and to their fate resign'd
The restless, thankless, rebel kind;
Left to themselves, they went to work,
First signed a treaty with king Stork.

He swore that they, with his alliance,
To all the world might bid defiance;
Of lawful rule there was an end on't,
And frogs were henceforth - independent.

At which the croakers, one and all,
Proclaim'd a feast, and festival!
But joy to-day brings grief to-morrow;
Their feasting o'er, now enter sorrow I

The Stork grew hungry, long'd for fish;
The monarch could not have his wish;
In rage he to the marshes flies,
And makes a meal of his allies.

Then grew so fond of well-fed frogs,
He made a larder of the bogs !
Say, Yankees, don't you feel compunction,
At your unnatural, rash conjunction ?

Can love for you in him take root,
Who's Catholic, and absolute ?
I'll tell these croakers how he'll treat 'em;
Frenchmen, like storks, love frogs - to eat 'em.

D. M. It has been suggested that David Matthews, Mayor of the city of New York, during the Revolution, was the writer of this song. D. M. is the only proof we have that such is the case.