Close by the threshold of a door nailed fast
Three kittens sat; each kitten looked aghast;
I passing swift and inattentive by,
At the three kittens cast a careless eye,
Not much concerned to know what they did there,
Not deeming kittens worth a poet's care.
But presently a loud and furious hiss
Caused me to stop and to exclaim, 'What's this?'
When lo! upon the threshold met my view,
With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue,
A viper, long as Count de Grasse's quoue.