The Rock And The Bubble

Oh! a bare, brown rock
Stood up in the sea,
The waves at its feet
Dancing merrily.

A little bubble
Once came sailing by,
And thus to the rock
Did it gayly cry,--

"Ho! clumsy brown stone,
Quick, make way for me:
I'm the fairest thing
That floats on the sea.

"See my rainbow-robe,
See my crown of light,
My glittering form,
So airy and bright.

"O'er the waters blue,
I'm floating away,
To dance by the shore
With the foam and spray.

"Now, make way, make way;
For the waves are strong,
And their rippling feet
Bear me fast along."

But the great rock stood
Straight up in the sea:
It looked gravely down,
And said pleasantly--

"Little friend, you must
Go some other way;
For I have not stirred
this many a long day.

"Great billows have dashed,
And angry winds blown;
But my sturdy form
Is not overthrown.

"Nothing can stir me
In the air or sea;
Then, how can I move,
Little friend, for thee?"

Then the waves all laughed
In their voices sweet;
And the sea-birds looked,
From their rocky seat,

At the bubble gay,
Who angrily cried,
While its round cheek glowed
With a foolish pride,--

"You SHALL move for me;
And you shall not mock
At the words I say,
You ugly, rough rock.

"Be silent, wild birds!
While stare you so?
Stop laughing, rude waves,
And help me to go!

"For I am the queen
Of the ocean here,
And this cruel stone
Cannot make me fear."

Dashing fiercely up,
With a scornful word,
Foolish Bubble broke;
But Rock never stirred.

Then said the sea-birds,
Sitting in their nests
To the little ones
Leaning on their breasts,--

"Be not like Bubble,
Headstrong, rude, and vain,
Seeking by violence
Your object to gain;

"But be like the rock,
Steadfast, true, and strong,
Yet cheerful and kind,
And firm against wrong.

"Heed, little birdlings,
And wiser you'll be
For the lesson learned
To-day by the sea."

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