The Dragon’s Visit

On the cherry-trees the dragon lay
a-simmering and a-dreaming.
The blossom was white in the early day,
but green his scales were gleaming.
Over the seas he had flown by night,
for his land was dragon-haunted,
Styffed with gold and jewels bright,
but food and sport he wanted.

Excuse me, Mr. Higgins, please!
Have you seen what’s in your garden?
There’s a dragon on your cherry-trees!”
“A what? I beg your pardon!”
Mr. Higgins fetched the garden-hose,
and the dragon woke from dreaming.
He blinked and snorted in his nose
when he felt the water streaming.

“How cool!” he said. “So good for scales!
I did not expect a fountain!
I’ll sit and sing here, till daylight fails
and the full moon’s mounting.”
But Higgins runs, on the doors he knocks
of Miss Biggins and old Tupper.
“Come help me quick! Come Mr. Box,
or he’ll eat us all for supper!”

Miss Biggins sent for the Fire Brigade
with a long red ladder,
And a brave show their helmets made;
but the dragon’s heart grew sadder:
It reminds me of the wicked ways
of warriors unfeeling,
Hunting us in the bad old days
and our bright gold stealing.”

The Captain with his hatchet came:
“Now what d’you think you’re doing?”
The dragon laughed: Cap’n What’s-your-name,
I’m sitting here and stewing.
I like to stew. So let me be!
Or your church-steeple
I’ll batter down, blast every tree,
and you, and eat these people!”
“Turn on the hudgrant!” said Captain George
and down the ladder tumbled.

The dragon’s eyes like coals in a forge
glowed, and his belly rumbled.
He began to steam; he threshed his tail,
and away the blossom fluttered.
But the Brigade were not the men to quail,
although he growled and muttered.

With poles they jabbed him from below,
Where he was rather tender:
“Havoc!” the dragon cried, “haro!”
and rose in splendour.
He smashed the town to a rubbish-heap,
and over the Bay of Bimble
Sailors could see the red flames leap
from Bumpus Head to Trimble.

The Higgins was tough, and as for Box:
just like his name he tasted;
The dragon threw Tupper on the rocks,
and said, “This munching’s wasted.”
So he buried hatchet and Captain George,
and he sang a dirge for Higgins
On a cliff above the long white shores –
And he did not Miss Biggins.

Sadly he sang till the moon went down,
with the surf below sighing
On the grey rocks, and in Bimbletown
the red blaze dying.
He saw the peaks far over the sea
Round his own land ranging;
And he mused on Men, and how strange they be,
and the old order changing.

“None of them now have the wit to admire
a dragon’s song or colour,
Nor the nerve with steel to meet his fire –
the world is getting duller!”
He spread his wide wings to depart;
but just as he was rising
Miss Biggins stabbed him to the heart,
and that he found surprising.

“I regret this very much,” she said.
“You’re a very splendid creature,
And your voice is quite remarkable
for one who has had no teacher;
But wanton damage I will not have,
I really had to end it.’
The dragon sighed before he died:
‘At least she called me splendid.’

„Посещението на дракона”. В „Списание Оксфорд”, Оксфорд, том 55, № 14 (4 февруари 1937), стр. 342.

Поема, преиздадена в преработен вариант в „Зимни приказки за деца” през 1965 г.