A Donkey, whose talent for burdens was wondrous, So much that you'd swear he rejoic'd in a load, One day had to jog under panniers so pond'rous, That -- down the poor Donkey fell smack on the road!
His owners and drivers stood round in amaze -- What! Neddy, the patient, the prosperous Neddy, So easy to drive, through the dirtiest ways, For every description of job-work so ready!
One driver (whom Ned might have "hail'd" as a "brother") Had just been proclaiming his Donkey's renown For vigour, for spirit, for one thing or another -- When, lo, 'mid his praises, the Donkey came down!
But, how to upraise him? - one shouts, t'other whistles, While Jenky, the Conjurer, wisest of all, Declar'd that an "over-production of thistles" -- (Here Ned gave a stare) -- "was the cause of his fall."
Another wise Solomon cries, as he passes -- "There, let him alone, and the fit will soon cease; The beast has been fighting with other jack-asses, And this is his mode of "transition to peace"."
Some look'd at his hoofs, and with learned grimaces, Pronounc'd that too long without shoes he had gone -- "Let the blacksmith provide him a sound metal basis (The wise-acres said), and he's sure to jog on."
Meanwhile, the poor Neddy, in torture and fear, Lay under his panniers, scarce able to groan; And -- what was still dolefuller - lending an ear To advisers, whose ears were a match for his own.
At length, a plain rustic, whose wit went so far As to see others' folly, roar'd out, as he pass'd -- "Quick -- off with the panniers, all dolts as ye are, Or, your prosperous Neddy will soon kick his last!"