The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. IV: American
To Miss Georgiana Shipley
By Benjamin Franklin (17061790)
On the Loss of Her American Squirrel, who, Escaping from His Cage, was Killed by a Shepherds Dog
LONDON, September 26, 1772.
DEAR MISS: I lament with you most sincerely the unfortunate end of poor Mungo. Few squirrels were better accomplished; for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world. As he had the honor of being, for his virtues, your favorite, he should not go, like common skuggs, without an elegy or an epitaph. Let us give him one in the monumental style and measure, which, being neither prose nor verse, is perhaps the properest for grief; since to use common language would look as if we were not affected, and to make rhymes would seem trifling in sorrow.
Alas! poor Mungo!
Happy wert thou, hadst thou known
Thy own felicity.
Remote from the fierce bald eagle,
Tyrant of thy native woods,
Thou hadst nought to fear from his piercing talons,
Nor from the murdering gun
Of the thoughtless sportsman.
Safe in thy wired castle,
Grimalkin never could annoy thee.
Daily wert thou fed with the choicest viands,
By the fair hand of an indulgent mistress;
Thou wouldst have more freedom.
Too soon, alas! didst thou obtain it;
Thou art fallen by the fangs of wanton, cruel Ranger!