A frog and a flea went to church one day,
Just to see what there was to see.
They chattered of everything on the way,
And were happy as they could be.
The Flea was a trifle too pert and gay,
But the Frog not a frivolous word would say.
The Frog when surprised murmured, "Oh, dear me!"---
But the Flea muttered wickedly, "Oh, D! D!"
The Frog walked straight, but the Flea would lurch;
Still, somehow or other they got to the church.
The Frog sat soberly, most devout,
But the Flea was a fidgety bird.
The Frog said, "That's helpful. Pray think it out."
But the Flea scoffed, "That's quite absurd!"
He asked, with a sneer and a sidelong pout,
"What can the old fossil be thinking about!
It's the silliest sermon that ever I heard!"
The Frog watched the parson, and said not a word.
He sat quite attentive and grave on his perch,
And did just the things that one should do in church.
The Frog's whole behavior was perfect, you see;
But I can't say a word in defense of the Flea.
And it's perfectly plain, it's as plain as can be,
That any reward (if reward there should be
For behavior in church that would please you and me)
Should go to the Frog, and not to the Flea:
For a fidgety fowl and a froward was he,
That scornful, unmannerly, cynical Flea!
But a dog killed the Frog as he came out of church,
And the Flea was not left there to starve on his perch.
Rewards go astray (it's as plain as can be),
For a lady of rank took the Flea home to tea.
And the thing in this life that's most puzzling to me
Is the constant success of the pestilent Flea.
Frank Morton, Verses for Marjorie, published 1916.