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A Bunny Romance
by Oliver Herford
(1863 - 1935) English-born American poet

The Bunnies are a feeble folk,
Whose weakness is their strength;
To shun a gun a Bun will run
To almost any length.

Now once, when war’s alarms were rife
In the ancestral wood
Where the kingdom of the Bunnies
For centuries had stood,
The king, for fear long peace had made
His subjects overbold,
To wake the glorious spirit
Of timidity of old,
Announced one day he would bestow
Princess Bunita’s hand
On the Bunny who should prove himself
Most timid in the land.

Next day a proclamation
Was posted in the wood:
“To the Flower of Timidity,
The Pick of Bunnyhood:
His Majesty the Bunny king
Commands you to appear
At a tournament – at such a date
In such and such a year –
Where his Majesty will then bestow
Princess Bunita’s hand
On the Bunny who will prove himself
Most timid in the land.”

Then every timid Bunny’s heart
Swelled with exultant fright
At the thought of doughty deeds of fear
And prodigies of flight.
For the motto of the Bunnies,
As perhaps you are aware,
Is, “Only the faint-hearted
Are deserving of the fair.”

They fell at once to practicing,
These Bunnies, one and all,
Till some could almost die of fright
To hear a petal fall.
And one enterprising Bunny
Got up a special class
To teach the art of fainting
At your shadow on the grass.

At length – at length – at length
The moment is at hand!
And trembling all from head to foot
A hundred Bunnies stand.
And a hundred Bunny mothers
With anxiety turn gray
Lest their offspring dear should lose their fear
And linger in the fray.

Never before in Bunny lore
Was such a stirring sight
As when the bugle sounded
To begin the glorious flight!
A hundred Bunnies, like a flash,
All disappeared from sight
Like arrows from a hundred bows,
None swerved to left or right –
Some north, some south, some east, some west –
And none of them, ‘tis plain,
Till he has gone around the earth
Will e’er be seen again.

It may be in a hundred weeks,
Perchance a hundred years –
Whenever it may be, ‘tis plain
The one who first appears
Is the one who ran the fastest;
He wins the Princess’ hand,
And gains the glorious title of
“Most Timid in the Land.”

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