Henry Livingston, Jr.
Henry Livingston's Poetry

The frogs, of calm & quiet tir'd,
From Jupiter a king requir'd;
Of sport and frolic always fond.
A log was tumbl'd in the pond.
The splash astounded, forth they fled
Till one by one was rais'd a head.
The log lay still - they bolder grew -
And round their king their squadrons threw.
Distrust and fear now all suspended,
They to his back in shoals ascended,
Enjoy'd their visionary hour
And croak'd defiance to his pow'r.
A meeting was resolv'd upon,
The tidings thro the rushes sung;
The day arriv'd - the chair was plac'd -
And by a rev'rend croaker grac'd.
A secretary too was nam'd
For penmanship & talents fam'd,
A long petition then was form'd
And by a thousand names adorn'd;
They join'd unanimous to say
Their king a sluggish monster lay
Whom nothing they could do could jostle,
Alike unfit to rule or bustle.
Jove frown'd & down a stork he threw
Into the discontented crew.
His majesty with hunger keen
Their mottl'd ranks began to thin
Now wad'd here - now stalk'd there -
Nor knew nor age or sex to spare.
Now from the bog a pray'r arose
To free them from this worst of woes;
Jove stopped up his ears in fumo
And turn'd to fondle with his Juno,
Leaving the frogs to moan & fret
And meet as best they could their fate.

This fable was the first part of a political poem
about the lowering fortunes of DeWitt Clinton,
the log that was boring the populace,
and the excitement being generated by
Andrew Jackson, 'Old Hickory', especially in
the south of the country. As the old saw
reminds us, be careful what you wish for.

Transcription and interpretation thanks to Mac Jackson, New Zealand
Original Source of the Poem
Androboros (the Man-hater), Page 14

The Frogs, a factious fickle Race,
With little Maners, and less Grace,
    Croaked for a King so loud,
That all the Host of Heav'n sate mute
Nodding to Jove to grant their suit,
    And give 'em what they wou'd.

A King they had, of such a size
Who's Entry too, made such a Noise,
    That Ev'ry Neut and Frog
Affrighted, run to hide their heads;
Some in the Pool, some 'mongst the Reeds,
    Like Fools, 'Twas but a Log.

At last, one bolder than the rest,
Approach'd, and the new Prince Address't,
    No hurt from xx sustain'd,
He mock'd his former Fears, and swore
'Twas the best stick of Wood that o'er
    The Marshes ever Reign'd.

Then all the Croaking Crew drew near,
And in his shade from th' angry Air,
    Were shelter'd safe, and eas'd,
Nay, more than that, they'd frisk and play
Upon his back a live long day,
    He Undisturb'd and pleas'd.

The Pertest Frog of all the Pack,
A Toad, some say, his hue was Black;
    'Tis true; but that's no matter,
Upon the passive Monarch's head,
At times would Noxious Venom shed,
    And both his sides bespatter.

'Twas That same Frog, the Legends tell,
Burst when he only meant to swell,
    Soon after these Events.
Be that as 'twill, 'twas He that drew
That giddy Senseless Crowd to new
    Sedition and Complaints.

Give us a bustling King, Dread Sir!
They cry'd, a King that makes a stir;
    This is not to be mov'd.
Jove heard and gave 'm one, who's care
Was, that they should Obey and Fear,
    No matter how they Lov'd.

It was a Stork, who's Law-less Rage
Spar'd neither Sex, Degree nor Age,
    That came within his reach.
And that was great, for whilst his Claws
Ransack't the Deep, his Vulturs Jaws
    Could wander o'er the Beach.

Then they Implor'd the God to send
From heav'n a Plague, from Hell a Fiend,
    Or any but this Curse.
Peace, cry'd the Monarch of the GOds,
Ye Worms; Keep him you have, 'tis odds
    The Next may prove a Worse.


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