Billy Rabbit to Mary by Eliza Lee Follen

[Billy Rabbit was a little rabbit which a boy caught in the woods, and gave to a little girl of the name of Mary. She was very attentive to the little prisoner, gave him an abundance of good things to eat, and tried her best to make him happy; but all in vain. After many attempts, he at last succeeded in making his escape, and instantly disappeared in the woods. In the course of the day, the following letter, sealed with a sharp thorn, was received by his friend Mary.]

Artichoke Woods.

You thought, my dear Mary, you had Billy fast,
But I tried very hard, and escaped you at last;
The chance was so tempting, I thought I would nab it,—
It was not very naughty, I’m sure, in a rabbit.
O, let not your kind heart be angry with me;
But think what a joy it is to be free,
To see the green woods, to feel the fresh air,
To skip, and to play, and to run everywhere.
The food that you gave me was pleasant and sweet,
But I’d rather be free, though with nothing to eat.

O, how glad they all were to see me come back,
And every one wanted to give me a smack.
Dick knocked over Brownie, and jumped over Bun,
And the neighbours came in to witness the fun.
My father said something, but could not be heard;
My mother looked at me, but spoke not a word;
And while she was looking, her eyes became pink,
And she shed a few tears, I verily think.

To him who a hole or a palace inhabits,
To all sorts of beings, to men, and to rabbits,
Ah! dear to us all is sweet Liberty,
Especially, Mary, to you and to me.
So I hope you’ll forgive me for sending this letter,
To tell you I’m safe, and feel so much better,
Cut all sorts of capers, and act very silly,
And am your devoted, affectionate

Billy.

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