by: Sara Coleridge (1802-1852)

Y, there's the Squirrel perched aloft,
That active little rover;
See how he whisks his bushy tail,
Which shadows him all over;
Now rapid as a ray of light
He darts up yon tall beach;
He skips along from branch to branch;
And now the top can reach.

Now view him seated on the bough
To crack his nuts at ease,
While blackbirds sing and stockdoves coo
Amid the neighbouring trees;
The light wind lifts his silky hair,
So long and loosely flowing;
His quick ear catches every sound--
How brisk he looks and knowing.

With cunning glance he casts around
His merry sparkling eye,
In yonder hazel by the brook
Rich clusters he can spy;
His lofty station soon he quits
To seize the milky store;
You ne'er can catch him, dearest child,
The useless chase give o'er.

The butterfly you once surprised,
And had him in your power,
While he his painted wings displayed
Upon the passion-flower;
As in the foxglove's bell he dived
You caught the humble bee,
Examined well his velvet coat,
Then gave him liberty.

With lambkins you might run a race
Though swift they hied away,
The nimble kid attempt to chase
Along the healthy brae;
But little squirrel's more alert
Than butterfly or bee,
No lamb or kid is half so light,
So swift of foot as he.

The fleet gazelle, the mountain roe,
You may not hope to seize,
And fruitless were it to pursue
A leaf whirled by the breeze.
A dolphin 'neath the ocean wave
You scarcely could surprise,
Nor on the desert sands o'ertake
The ostrich as she flies.

"The Squirrel" is reprinted from Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children. Sare Coleridge. London: John W. Parker, 1839.




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