More Beasts (For Worse Children)

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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The parents of the learned child
(His father and his mother)
Were utterly aghast to note
The facts he would at random quote
On creatures curious, rare and wild;
And wondering, asked each other:
"An idle little child like this,
How is it that he knows
What years of close analysis
Are powerless to disclose?

Our brains are trained, our books are big,
And yet we always fail
To answer why the Guinea-pig
Is born without a tail.

Or why the Wanderooshould rant
In wild, unmeaning rhymes,
Whereas the Indian Elephant
Will only readThe Times.

Perhaps he found a way to slip
Unnoticed to the Zoo,
And gave the Pachyderm a tip,
Or pumped the Wanderoo.

Or even by an artful plan
Deceived our watchful eyes,
And interviewed the Pelican,
Who is extremely wise."
"Oh! no," said he, in humble tone,
With shy but conscious look,
"Such facts I never could have known
But for this little book."


Sometimes called the "Lion-tailed or tufted Baboon of Ceylon."

A Python I should not advise,—
It needs a doctor for its eyes,
And has the measles yearly.
However, if you feel inclined
To get one (to improve your mind,
And not from fashion merely),
Allow no music near its cage;
And when it flies into a rage
Chastise it, most severely.

I had an aunt in Yucatan
Who bought a Python from a man
And kept it for a pet.
She died, because she never knew
These simple little rules and few;—
The Snake is living yet.

The Welsh Mutton

The Cambrian Welsh or Mountain Sheep
Is of the Ovine race,
His conversation is not deep,
But then—observe his face!
What! would you slap the Porcupine?
Unhappy child—desist!
Alas! that any friend of mine
Should turn Tupto-philist.

To strike the meanest and the least
Of creatures is a sin,
How much more bad to beat a beast
With prickles on its skin.

From =I strike; =I love; one that loves to strike. The word is not found in classical Greek, nor does it occur among the writers of the Renaissance—nor anywhere else.

The Scorpion

The Scorpion is as black as soot,
He dearly loves to bite;
He is a most unpleasant brute
To find in bed, at night.
Whatever our faults, we can always engage
That no fancy or fable shall sully our page,
So take note of what follows, I beg.
This creature so grand and august in its age,
In its youth is hatched out of an egg.
And oft in some far Coptic town
The Missionary sits him down
To breakfast by the Nile:
The heart beneath his priestly gown
Is innocent of guile;
When suddenly the rigid frown
Of Panic is observed to drown
His customary smile.

Why does he start and leap amain,
And scour the sandy Libyan plain
Like one that wants to catch a train,
Or wrestles with internal pain?
Because he finds his egg contain—
Green, hungry, horrible and plain—
An Infant Crocodile.

The Vulture

The Vulture eats between his meals,
And that's the reason why
He very, very rarely feels
As well as you and I....