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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Tortoise

  TORTOISE   noun
A creature thoughtfully created to supply occasion for the following lines by the illustrious Ambat Delaso:

  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.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911


Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30