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(144 quotes found)


Ambrose Bierce

“TORTOISE, n. A creature thoughtfully created to supply occasion for the following lines by the illustrious Ambat Delaso:

TO MY PET TORTOISE

My friend, you are not graceful --not at all; Your gait's between a stagger and a sprawl.

Nor are you beautiful: your head's a snake's To look at, and I do not doubt it aches.

As to your feet, they'd make an angel weep.
'Tis true you take them in whene'er you sleep.

No, you're not pretty, but you have, I own, A certain firmness --mostly you're [sic] backbone.

Firmness and strength (you have a giant's thews) Are virtues that the great know how to use --

I wish that they did not; yet, on the whole, You lack --excuse my mentioning it --Soul.

So, to be candid, unreserved and true, I'd rather you were I than I were you.

Perhaps, however, in a time to be, When Man's extinct, a better world may see

Your progeny in power and control, Due to the genesis and growth of Soul.

So I salute you as a reptile grand Predestined to regenerate the land.

Father of Possibilities, O deign To accept the homage of a dying reign!

In the far region of the unforeknown I dream a tortoise upon every throne.

I see an Emperor his head withdraw Into his carapace for fear of Law;

A King who carries something else than fat, Howe'er acceptably he carries that;

A President not strenuously bent On punishment of audible dissent --

Who never shot (it were a vain attack) An armed or unarmed tortoise in the back;

Subject and citizens that feel no need To make the March of Mind a wild stampede;

All progress slow, contemplative, sedate, And "Take your time" the word, in Church and State.

O Tortoise, 'tis a happy, happy dream, My glorious testudinous regime!

I wish in Eden you'd brought this about By slouching in and chasing Adam out.”










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