e poetry," said the King.
"Just a little ode to a favourite linnet. It wouldn't interest your Majesty."
"I adore poetry," said the King, who had himself written a rhymed couplet which could be said either forwards or backwards, and in the latter position was useful for removing enchantments. According to the eminent historian, Roger Scurvilegs, it had some vogue in Euralia and went like this:
"Bo, boll, bill, bole. Wo, woll, will, wole."
A pleasing idea, temperately expressed.
The Countess, of course, was only pretending. Really she was longing to read it. "It's quite a little thing," she said.
"Hail to thee, blithe linnet, Bird thou clearly art, That from bush or in it Pourest thy full heart! And leads the feathered choir in song Taking the treble part."
"Beautiful," said the King, and one must agree with him. Many years after, another poet called Shelley plagiarised the idea, but handled