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The Mythological Zoo

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How did Medusa do her hair?The question fills me with despair.It must have caused her sore distressThat head of curling snakes to dress.Whenever after endless toilShe coaxed it finally to coil,The music of a Passing BandWould cause each separate hair to standOn end and sway and writhe and spit,—She couldn't "do a thing with it."And, being woman and awareOf such disaster to her hair,What could she do but petrifyAll whom she met, with freezing eye?


The Siren

The Siren may be said to beThe Chorus-Lady of the Sea;Tho' Mermaids claim her as their kin,Instead of fishy tail and finTwo shapely feet rejoice the view(With all that appertains thereto).When to these other charms we addA voice that drives the hearer mad,Who will dispute her claim to beThe Chorus-Lady of the Sea?


The Dolphin

The Dolphin was, if you should wishTo call him so,—the King of Fish.Though having neither gills nor scales,His title should be Prince of Whales.While too small waisted to provideA Jonah with a Berth Inside,The Dolphin has been known to packA Drowning Sailor on his backAnd bear him safely into port,—He was a Taxi-whale, in short.


The Cockatrice

If you will listen to adviceYou will avoid the Cockatrice—A caution I need hardly sayWholly superfluous to-day.Yet had you lived when they were rifeSuch warning might have saved your life.To meet the Cockatrice's eyeMeans certain death—and that is whyWhen I its features here portrayI make it look the other way.O Cockatrice! were you so meanWhat must the Henatrice have been!



Dear Reader, should you chance to goTo Hades, do not fail to throwA "Sop to Cerberus" at the gate,His anger to propitiate.Don't say "Good dog!" and hope therebyHis three fierce Heads to pacify.What though he try to be politeAnd wag his Tail with all his might,How shall one amiable TailAgainst three angry Heads prevail?The Heads must win.—What puzzles meIs why in Hades there should beA Watch dog; 'tis, I should surmise,The last place one would burglarize.


The Sphinx

She was half Lady and half cat—What is so wonderful in that?Half of our lady friends (so sayThe other half) are Cats to-day.In Egypt she made quite a stir,They carved huge Images of her.Riddles she asked of all she metAnd all who answered wrong, she ate.When Œdipus her riddle solvedThe minx—I mean the Sphinx—dissolvedIn tears. What is there, when one thinks,So wonderful about the Sphinx?


The Sea Serpent

O wondrous worm that won the HeightOf Fame by keeping out of sight!Never was known on Land or SeaSuch a Colossal Modesty;Never such arrogant pretenceOf Ostentatious Diffidence.Celebrity whom none has seen,Save some Post Prandial Marine,No magazine can reproduceYour Photograph.—Oh, what's the useOf doing things when one may beSo Famous a Nonentity!


The Salamander

The Salamander made his bedAmong the glowing embers red.A Fiery Furnace, to his mind,Hygiene and Luxury combined.He was, if I may put it so,A Saurian Abednigo.He loved to climb with nimble easeThe branches of the Gas-log TreesWhere oft on chilly winter nightsHe rose to dizzy Fahrenheits.Believers in Soul TransmigrationSee in him the Re-incarnationOf those Sad Plagues of summer, whoAsk, "Is it hot enough for you?"


The Jinn

To call a Jinn the only thingOne needed was a magic ring.You rubbed the ring and forth there cameA monster born of smoke and flame,A thing of Vapor, Fume and GlareReady to waft you anywhere....