A duck, who had got such a habit of stuffing,
That all the day long she was panting and puffing;
And by every creature, who did her great crop see,
Was thought to be galloping fast for a dropsy;
One day, after eating a plentiful dinner,
With full twice as much as there should have been in her,
While up to her eyes in the gutter a roking,
Was greatly alarmed by the symptoms of choking.
No there was an old fellow, much famed for discerning
(A drake, who had taken a liking for learning),
And, high in repute with his feathery friends,
Was called Doctor Drake;—for this doctor she sends.
In a hole of the dunghill was Doctor Drake's shop,
Where he kept a few simples for curing the crop:
Some gravel and pebbles, to help the digestion,
And certain famed plants of the doctor's selection.
So, taking a handful of comical things,
And brushing his topple and pluming his wings,
And putting his feathers in apple-pie order,
Set out, to prescribe for the lady's disorder.
"Dear sir," said the duck, with a delicate quack,
Just turning a little way round on her back,
And leaning her head on a stone in the yard,
"My case, Doctor Drake, is exceedingly hard.
"I feel so distended with wind, and opprest,
So squeamish and faint—such a load at my chest;
And, day after day, I assure you it is hard
To suffer with patience these pains in my gizzard."
"Give me leave," said the doctor; with medical look,
As her flabby cold paw in his fingers he took;
"By the feel of your pulse—your complaint, I've been thinking
Is caused by your habit of eating and drinking."
"Oh no, sir, believe me," the lady replied
(Alarmed for her stomach as well as her pride),
"I am sure it arises from nothing I eat,
For I rather suspect I got wet in my feet.
"I've only been raking a bit in the gutter,
Where the cook had been pouring some cold melted butter;
And a slice of green cabbage, and scraps of cold meat,
Just a trifle or two, that I thought I could eat."
The doctor was just to his business proceeding,
By gentle emetics, a blister, and bleeding,
When all on a sudden she rolled on her side,
Gave a horrible quackle, a struggle, and died!
Her remains were interred in a neighboring swamp
By her friends, with a great deal of funeral pomp;
But I've heard this inscription her tombstone was put on,
"Here lies Mrs. Duck, the notorious glutton"
And all the young ducklings are brought by their friends,
To learn the disgrace in which gluttony ends.