If this little world to-night
Suddenly should fall thro' space
In a hissing, headlong flight,
Shrivelling from of its face,
As it falls into the sun,
In an instant every trace
Ofthe little crawling things-
Ants, philosophers, and lice,
Cattle, cockroaches, and aings,
Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
Men and maggots all as on
As it falls into the sun -
Who can say but at the samr
Instant from some planet far
A child may watch us and exclaim:
Se the pretty shooting star I '
& Other FABLES
and VERSES by
with many pictures
by the Author
New York: Published by
Charles Scribner's Sons in
the Autumn of MDCCCXCVIII
BY OLIVER HERFORD.
ILSibrON it, C IDE, U:
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.
TO THE ILLUSTRATOR
IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS AMIABLE
CONDESCENSION IN LENDING HIS EXQUISITELY
DELICATE ART TO THE EMBELLISHMENT OF THESE
POOR VERSES FROM HIS SINCEREST ADMIRER
THE BASHFUL EARTHQUAKE
THE LOVESICK SCARECROW .
THE MUSIC OF THE FUTURE
SONG . . .
THE DOORLESS WOLF .
THE BOLD BAD BUTTERFLY
CRUMBS . .
JAPANESQUE . .
TIE DIFFERENCE .
WHY YE BLOSSOME COMET
THE FIRST FIRST OF APRIL
THE EPIGRAMMATIST .
THE SILVER LINING .
THE BOASTFUL BUTTERFLY
THE THREE WISHES .
TRUTH . .
THE TRAGIC MICE .
ABSENCE OF MIND .
T'HE GRADUATE . .
THE POET'S PROPOSAL .
A THREE-SIDED QUESTION .
THE SNAIL'S DREAM .
S . 21
BEFORE YE LEAFE 23
. . 24
. . 26
. . 28
. . 31
. . 40
. . 41
. . 44
. . 45
A CHRISTMAS LEGEND . ... .52
HYDE AND SEEKE. . . 54
IN THE CAFI . . ... .55
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY ...... .58
THE UNTUTORED GIRAFFE. ... .. .60
TIIE ENCIIHANTED WOOD .... ... 64
A BUNNY OMANICE . . .. .68
THE FLOWER CIRCUS . .. .72
TIE FATUOUS FLOWER ... .. .. .77
A LOVE STORY. ... . .. 80
YE KNYGHTE-MARE . . 83
METAPHYSICS .. . . 84
THE PRINCESS THAT WAS N'T . .86
THE LION'S TOUR . .. .. 89
THE FUGITIVE THOUGHT . .. 93
THE CUSSED DAMOZEL . .. .97
A GAS-LOG REVERIE . .. 101
CUPID'S FAULT. . ... .103
ALL ABOARD . . 104
KILLING TIME.. ... . .. 105
THE MERMAID CLUB. ... . .. 107
A SONG . . 109
ANGEL'S TOYS . . . 110
THE REFORMED TIGRESS .... ... .112
Two LADIES ...... ... 115
TO THE WOLF AT THE DOOR . .. .119
THE FALL OF J. W. BEANE . .. .121
THE BASHFUL EARTHQUAKE
CRIME, Wickedness, Villany, Vice,
And Sin only misery bring;
If you want to be Happy and Nice,
Be good and all that sort of thing.
THE Earthquake rumbled
And then he bumped,
And everything tumbled -
Houses and palaces all in a lump!
'* N. 11 ,
"Oh, what a crash !
Oh, what a smash !
How could I ever be so rash? "
The Earthquake cried.
What under the sun
Have I gone and done ?
I never before was so mortified "
Then away he fled,
And groaned as he sped:
"This comes of not looking before I tread."
Out of the city along the road
He staggered, as under a heavy load,
Growing more weary with every league,
Till almost ready to faint with fatigue.
He came at last to a country lane
Bordering upon a field of grain;
And just at the spot where he paused to rest,
In a clump of wheat, hung a Dormouse nest.
i'I< 'y^ >
1' *"J I
The sun in the west was sinking red,
And the Dormouse had just turned into bed,
Dreaming as only a Dormouse cail,
When all of a sudden his nest began
To quiver and shiver and tremble and shake.
Something was wrong, and no mistake !
In a minute the Dormouse was wide awake,
And, putting his head outside his nest,
Cried: "WHO IS IT DARES DISTURB MY REST?"
His voice with rage was a husky squeak.
The Earthquake by now had become so weak
He 'd scarcely strength enough to speak.
He even forgot
the rules of
SAl he could
Sdo was to
.-., feebly stammer:
/1i, "-- a "
" I'm sorry, but I'm afraid it's me.
Please don't be angry. I '11 try to be "
No one will know what he meant to say,
For all at once he melted away.
The Dormouse, grumbling, went back to bed,
" Oh, bother the Bats!" was all he said.
A SCARECROW in a field of corn,
A thing of tatters all forlorn,
Once felt the influence of Spring
And fell in love a foolish thing,
And most particularly so
In his case --for he loved a crow !
"Alack-a-day it's wrong, I know,
It's wrong for me to love a crow;
An all-wise man created me
To scare the crows away," cried he
"And though the music of her Caw'
Thrills through and through this heart of straw,
"My passion I must put away
And do my duty, come what may !
Yet oh, the cruelty of fate!
I fear she doth reciprocate
My love, for oft at dusk I hear
Her in my cornfield hovering near.
"And once I dreamt oh, vision blest!
That she alighted on my breast.
'T is very, very hard, I know,
But all-wise man decreed it so."
He cried and flung his arm in air,
The very picture of despair.
Poor Scarecrow, if he could but know !
Even now his lady-love, the Crow,
Sits in a branch, just out of sight,
With her good husband, waiting night,
To pluck from out his sleeping breast
His heart of straw to line her nest.
THE politest musician that ever was seen
Was Montague Meyerbeer Mendelssohn Green.
So extremely polite he would take off his hat
Whenever he happened to meet with a cat.
"It's not that I'm partial to cats," he'd explain;
"Their music to me is unspeakable pain.
There 's nothing that causes my flesh so to crawl
As when they perform a G-flat caterwaul.
Yet I cannot help feeling in spite of their din -
When I hear at a concert the first violin
Interpret some exquisite thing of my own,
If it were not for cat gut I'd never be known.
And so, when I bow as you see to a cat,
It is n't to her that I take off my hat ;
But to fugues and sonatas that possibly hide
Uncomposed in her well in her tuneful
Gather Kittens while you may,
Time brings only Sorrow;
And the Kittens of To-day
Will be Old Cats To-morrow.
THE DOORLESS WOLF.
I SAW, one day, when times were very good,
A newly rich man walking in a wood,
Who chanced to meet, all hungry, lean, and sore,
The wolf that used to sit outside his door.
Forlorn he was, and piteous his plaint.
"Help me!" he howled. "With hunger I am
It is so long since I have seen a door-
And you are rich, and you have many score.
When you 'd but one, I sat by it all day;
Now you have many, I am turned away.
Help me, good sir, once more to find a place.
Prosperity now stares me in the face."
The newly rich man, jingling all the while
The silver in his pocket, smiled a smile:
He saw a way the wolf could be of use.
"Good wolf," said he, "you're going to the
The dogs, I mean, and that will never do;
I think I've found a way to see you through.
I too have worries. Ever since I met
Prosperity I have been sore beset
By begging letters, charities, and cranks,
All very short in gold and long in thanks.
Now, if you '11 come and sit by my front door
From eight o'clock each morning, say, till four,
Then every one will think that I am poor,
And from their pesterings I '11 be secure.
Do you accept ?" The wolf exclaimed, I do "
The rich man smiled ; the wolf smiled ; I smiled,
And in my little book made haste to scrawl:
"Thus affluence makes niggards of us all!"
f'. NE day a Poppy, just in play,
; ";' Said to a butterfly, Go 'way,
Go 'way, you naughty thing Oh,
But you're a bold bad butterfly!"
Of course 't was only said in fun,
He was a perfect paragon -
In every way a spotless thing
(Save for two spots upon his wing).
But tho' his morals were the best,
He could not understand a jest;
And somehow what the Poppy said
Put ideas in his little head,
And soon he really came to wish
He were the least bit devilish."
He then affected manners rough
'And strained his voice to make it gruff,
And scowled as who should say "Beware,
I am a dangerous character.
You'd best not fool with me, for I -
I am a bold, bad butterfly."
He hung around the wildest flowers,
And kept the most unseemly hours,
With dragonflies and drunken bees,
And learned to say By Jove with ease,
Until his pious friends, aghast,
Exclaimed, "He's getting awf'lly fast!"
'\ / /
He shunned the nicer flowers, and threw
Out hints of shady things he knew
About the laurels, and one day
He even went so far to say
Something about the lilies sweet
I could not possibly repeat !
At length, it seems, from being told
How bad he was, he grew so bold,
This most obnoxious butterfly,
That one day, swaggering 'round the sky,
He swaggered in the net of Mist-
er Jones, the entomologist.
" --' .
" It seems a sin," said Mr. J.,
"This harmless little thing to slay,"
As, taking it from out his net,
He pinned it to a board, and set
Upon a card below the same,
In letters large, its Latin name,
but I omit it, lest
Its family might be distressed,
And stop the little sum per year
They pay me not to print it here.
Pto my frozen window-shelf
Each day a begging birdie comes,
And when 1 have a crust myself
The birdie always gets the crumbs.
They say who on the water throws
His bread, will get it back again;
If that is true, perhaps-who knows?-
I have not cast my crumbs in vain.
Indeed, I know it is not quite
The thing to boast of one's good deed;
To what the left hand does, the right,
I am aware, should pay no heed.
Yet if in modest verse I tell
My tale, some editor, maybe,
May like it very much, and -well,
My bread will then return to me.
OH, where the white quince blossom swings
I love to take my Japan ease!
I love the maid Anise who clings :" :
So lightly on my Japan knees; -.
I love the little song she sings,
The little love-song Japanese.
I almost love the lute's think tunklle
Played by that charming Jap
For am I not her old Jap uncle ?
And is she not my Japan
niece ? a-
SN the spring the Leaves come out
And the little Poetlets sprout;
Everywhere they may be seen,
Each as Fresh as each is Green.
Each hangs on through scorch and
Till the fall, when both come off,"
With this difference, be it said,
That the leaves at least are Red.
WHY YE BLOSSOM COMETH BEFORE
ONCE hoary Winter chanced alas I
Alas! hys waye mistaking,
A leafless apple tree to pass
Where Spring lay dreaming. "Fie ye lass!
Ye lass had best be waking,"
Quoth he, and shook hys robe, and lo!
Lo! forth didde flye a cloud of snowe.
Now in ye bough an elfe there dwelte,
An elfe of wondrous power,
That when ye chillye snowe didde pelte,
With magic charm each flake didde melte,
Didde melte into a flower ;
And Spring didde wake and marvelle how,
How blossomed so ye leafless bough.
THE Infant Earth one April day
(The first of April so they say),
When toddling on her usual round,
Spied in her path upon the ground
A dainty little garland ring
Of violets and that was Spring.
She caught the pretty wreath of Spring
And all the birds began to sing,
But when she thought to hold it tight
'T was rudely jerked from out her sight;
And while she looked for it in vain
The birds all flew away again.
Alas! The flowering wreath of Spring
Was fastened to a silken string,
And Time, the urchin, laughed for glee
(He held the other end you see).
And that was long ago, they say,
When Time was young and Earth was gay.
Now Earth is old and Time is lame,
Yet still they play the same old game:
Old Earth still reaches out for Spring,
And Time well Time still holds the string.
I KNOW an entomologist
SWho thinks it not a sin
To catch a harmless butterfly,
And stick it, with a pin,
Upon a piece of paper white,
And underneath the same,
In letters large and plain, to write
The creature's Latin name.
I know another little man
Who catches, now and then,
A microscopic little thought
And goads it, with a pen,
To rhyme, until we wonder quite
How it can keep so tame,
And why he never fails to write
Beneath (in full) his name.
If you should ask me to decide
The which of them I'd rate
The greater torment of the two
I should not hesitate.
It's wicked with a pin to bore
A butterfly -but then,
I loathe the other fellow more,
Who bores me with his pen.
THE SILVER LINING.
'IEN poets sing of lovers' woes,
And blighted lives and throbs and throes
And yearnings goodness only knows
It's all a pose.
I am a poet too, you know,
I too was young once long ago,
And wrote such stuff myself, and so
I ought to know.
I too found refuge from Despair
In sonnets to Amanda's fair
White brow or Nell's complexion rare
Or Titian hair -
Which, when she scorned, did I resign
To flames, and go into decline ?
Not much When sonnets fetched per line
Enough to dine.
So, reader, when you read in print
A poet's woe beware and stint
Your tears and take this gentle hint
It is his mint.
When Julia's fair as flowery mead,"
Or when she makes his heart-strings bleed,"
Know then she 's furnishing his feed
Or fragrant weed -
And even as you read who knows ?
Like cannibal that eats his foes,
He dines off Julia's heart that froze,"
Or cheek of Rose."
THE BOASTFUL BUTTERFLY.
(FROM THE ORIENTAL.)
UPON the temple dome
*Of Solomon the wise
There paused, returning home,
A pair of butterflies.
He did the quite blas4
(Did it rather badly),
Wherefore need I say ? -
She adored him madly.
Did not attempt to curb:
"Goodness gracious me!
Is n't this superb "
He vouchsafed a smile
To indulge her whimsy,
Surveyed the lofty pile,
And drawled, "Not bad-but flimsy!
"Appearances, though fine,
Lead to false deduction;
This temple, I opine,
Is shaky in construction.
"Think of it, my dear.
All this glittering show
Would crumble disappear -
Should I but stamp my toe !
If I should stamp like this "
His wife cried, ''Heavens! don't !
He answered, with a kiss,
"Very well; I won't."
Now, every blessed word
Said by these butterflies,
It chanced, was overheard
By Solomon the wise.
He called in angry tone, /
And bade a Djinn to hie -
And summon to his throne
That boastful butterfly.
The butterfly flew down
Upon reluctant wing.
Cried Solomon, with a frown,
SHow dared you
say this thing?
"How dared you,
as this is ?"
"Oh, king, I only meant
To terrify the missis."
The insect was so scared
The king could scarce restrain
A smile. Begone you 're spared;
But don't do it again / "
So spake King Solomon.
The butterflew away.
His wife to meet him ran:
Oh, dear, what did he say?"
The butterfly had here
A chance to shine, and knew it.
Said he: The king, my dear,
Implored me not to do it "
NCE to a man a goblin came
And said to him, "If you will name
SThree wishes, whatsoever they be,
S They shall be granted instantly.
Think of three things you deem the best,
Express your wish we do the rest.' "
"0 Goblin !" cried the man, "indeed
You're just the kind of a friend I need.
Hunger and Want I've known thus far,
I fain would learn what Riches are."
"Then," cried the Goblin, "learn it well,
Riches are title deeds to Hell /
Now wish again."
Exclaimed the man. "I've thrown away,
And all for naught, a chance immense ;
I only wish I had some sense !"
The Goblin waved his hand- the Dunce
To his surprise was wise for once.
And being wise, he laughed, and said:
SI am a fool would I were dead !"
"Granted! the Goblin yell'd it's plain
You'll never be so wise again."
PERMIT me, madame, to declare
That I never will compare
Eyes of yours to Starlight cold,
Or your locks to Sunlight's gold,
Or your lips, I 'd have you know,
To the crimson Jacqueminot.
Stuff like that's all very fine
When you get so much a line;
Since I don't, I scorn to tell
Flattering lies. I like too well
Sun and Stars and Jacqueminot
To flatter them, I'd have you know.
THE TRAGIC MICE.
IT was a tragic little mouse
All bent on suicide
Because another little mouse
Refused to be his bride.
" Alas he squeaked, I shall not wed !
My heart and paw she spurns;
I'11 hie me to the cat instead,
From whence no mouse returns "
The playful cat met him half way,
Said she, "I feel for you,
You're dying for a mouse, you say,
I 'm dying for one, too! "
Now when Miss Mouse beheld his doom,
Struck with remorse, she cried,
"In death we'll meet !- O cat! make room
For one more mouse inside."
The playful cat was charmed; said she,
" I shall be, in a sense,
Your pussy catafalque Ah me !
It was her last offence!
Reader, take warning from this tale,
And shun the punster's trick:
Those mice, for fear lest cats might fail,
Had eaten arsenic /
ABSENCE OF MIND.
THEY paused just at the crossing's brink.
Said she, "We must turn back, I think."
She eyes the mud. He sees her shrink,
Yet does not falter,
But recollects with fatal tact
That cloak upon his arm in fact,
Resolves to do the courtly act
Of good Sir Walter.
Why is it that she makes no sound,
Staring aghast as on the ground
He lays the cloak with bow profound ?
Her utterance chokes her.
She stands as petrified, until,
Her voice regained, in accents chill
She gasps, I'll thank you if you will
Pick up my cloak, sir I"
wPT cr OU are old," 'Father World,' cried
"But for one of your age and size,
I feel it is only my duty to state
You are not uncommonly wise."
I am aged," replied Father World, "it is true.
And not very wise I agree.
Do you think tho' it's fair for a scholar like you
To abuse an old fossil like me ?"
Said the youth, I refer not to college degrees,
Nor dates that one crams in his skull,
I complain not because you are lacking in these,
But because you 're so awfully dull!
" I have studied you now I should think more or
For twenty-one years, and I know
You right through and through, and I can but
You are really confoundedly slow."
Said the world, "My dear sir, you are right, there's
Like dulness henceforth I will try
To be clever forgive me! I'm taking your time,
Perhaps we '11 meet later! Good-bye!"
"You are cold, Father World, and hardened for-
Cried the man, and exceeding wise,
And for any offensive remarks of my youth
I beg to apologize."
THE POET'S PROPOSAL.
"PHYLLIS, if I could I'd paint you
As I see you sitting there,
You distracting little saint, you,
With your aureole of hair.
If I only were an artist,
And such glances could be caught,
You should have the very smartest
Picture frame that can be bought !
Phyllis, since I can't depict your
Charms, or give you aught but fame,
Will you be yourself the picture ?
Will you let me be the frame ?
Whose protecting clasp may bind you
"' Nay," cried Phyllis ; "hold,
Or you '11 force me to remind you
Paintings must be framed with gold!
Scene. A hollow tree in the woods.
Time. December evening.
S MR. OWL (stretching
EIGHO! It's dark!
/ How fast the daylight
i i *" goes!
i I must have over-
-/ slept. It's time
And went about my breakfast to prepare.
I should keep better hours; I declare,
Before I got to bed 't was broad daylight !
That must be why I'm getting up to-night
With such a sleepy feeling in my head.
Heigho! Heigho! (Yawns.)
Enter MR. SPARROW.
MR. SPARROW: Why don't you go to bed,
If you 're so very sleepy? it's high time !
The sun has set an hour ago, and I 'm
Going home myself as fast as I can trot.
Night is the time for sleep.
MR. OWL: The time for what
The time for sleep, you say ?
MR. SPARROW : That's what I sai
ME. OL :
Well, my dear bird, your reason must have fled!
Mn. SPARROW (icily) :
I do not catch your meaning quite, I fear.
MR. OWL :
I mean you're talking nonsense. Is that clear?
MR. SPARROW (angrily) :
Say that again again, sir, if you dare!
Say it again !
MR. OWL: As often as you care.
You 're talking nonsense stuff and nonsense -
Mn. SPARROW (hopping one twig ig her up) :
You are a coward, sir, and impolite !
(Hopping on a still higher twig)
And if you were n't beneath me I would fight.
I am beneath you, true enough, my friend,
By just two branches. Will you not descend?
Or shall I-
Mn. SPARROW (hastily) :
No, don't rise. Tell me instead
What was the nonsense that you thought I said.
MR. OwL :
It may be wrong, but if I heard aright,
You said the proper time for sleep was night.
MR. SPARROW :
That's what I said, and I repeat it too!
Then you repeat a thing that is not true.
Day is the time for sleep, not night.
MR. SPARROW: Absurd!
Who 's talking nonsense now ?
MR. OWL: Impudent bird!
How dare you answer back, you upstart fowl!
MR. SPARROW: How dare you call me upstart -
you you Owl!
MR. OWL: This is too much! I'll stand no
more, I vow !
Defend yourself !
MR. BEAR (looking out of hollow tree) :
Come, neighbors, stop that row !
What you're about I'm sure I cannot think.
I only know I have n't had one wink
Of sleep. Indeed, I 've borne it long enough.
'T would put the mildest temper in a huff
And I am but a bear. Why don't you go
To bed like other folks, I'd like to know ?
Summer is long enough to keep awake -
Winter's the time when honest people take
Their three months' sleep.
MR. SPARROW: That settles me! I fly!
Dear Mr. Owl and Mr. Bear, good-by! [Exit.
I must go too, to find another wood.
Every one's mad in this queer neighborhood !
It is not safe such company to keep.
Good evening, Mr. Bear. [Exit.
MR. BEAR: Now I shall sleep.
THE SNAIL'S DREAM.
A SNAIL, who had a way, it seems,
Of dreaming very curious dreams,
Once dreamed he was-you'll never guess!-
The Lightning Limited Express !
A CHRISTMIAS LEGEND.
BENEATHE an ancient oake one daye
A holye friar kneeled to prayer;
Scarce hadde he mumbled Aves three,
When lo! a voice within the tree !
Straight to the friar's heart it wente,
A voice as of some spirit pente
Within the hollow of the tree,
That cried, Good father, sette me free! "
Quoth he, This hath an evil sounde"
Ande bente him lower to the ground.
But ever tho' he prayed, the more
The voice hys pytie didde implore,
Untyl he raised hys eyes ande there
Behelde a mayden ghostlie faire.
Thus to the holy manne she spoke:
" IV" the hollow of this oak,
Enchanted for a I/ndred years,
HIave I been bounde yet vain my tears;
Notte anything can breake the banne
Till I be kiss'd by hole manne."
" Woe's me! thenne sayd the friar ; if thou
Be senate to tempt me break my vowe ;
Butte whether made or fiende thou be,
I'll stake my soul to sette thee free."
The holye manne then crossed hym thrice,
And kissed the made when in a trice
She vanished -
Heaven forgive me now! "
Exclaimed the friar "my broken vowe.
"If I have sinned I sinned to save
Another fromme a living grave."
Thenne down upon the earth he felle,
And prayed some sign that he might telle
If he were doomed for-evermore;
When lo the oake, alle bare before,
Put forth a branch of palest greene,
And fruited everywhere between
With waxen berries, pearlie white,
A miracle before hys sight.
The holye friar wente hys waye
And told hys tale -
And from thatte daye
It hath been writ that anye manne
May blamelesse kiss what made he canne
Nor any one shall say hym "no "
Beneath the holye mistletoe.
HYDE AND SEEKE.
ONE day beneath a willowe tree,
Love met a made most faire to see;
"Come play at hyde and seeke," cried he.
"With alle my heart quoth she.
"I 'm it Love cries, and round hys eyes
A scarfe the maiden bindeth,
And inne and oute and round about
Ye willowe trees he windeth -
Yette ne'er the maiden findeth.
Stille inne and oute and round about,
And still no maiden meeting;
Till, piqued, ye rogue unbinds hys eyes,
And, perched upon a branch, espies
Ye made retreatinge;
"Fie! Fie! cries Love "you 're cheetinge !"
"Now, you," quothe he, "must seeke for me !
She binds her eyes, assentinge,
And inne and oute and round about,
Seeks she for Love relentinge -
But Love, they say alas, ye day !
Has spread his wings and flown away,
And left ye made lamentinge,
And left ye made repentinge.
IN THE CAFE.
I P. M.
HE sits before me as I write,
And talks of this and that,
And all my thoughts are put to flight
By his infernal chat.
I came to write a tender rhyme
To Phyllis or to Mabel,
And chose in this retired caf6
The most secluded table.
He came before I'd time to fly,
And ere I could refuse,
Had filled the very chair that I
Was keeping for the muse!
Then came the deluge down it came
In one unceasing pour -
Of science, crops, photography,
Religion, soups, and war.
1.30- Forsooth the flood of words that flows
From this secluded table
Will soon be great enough to swamp
A dozen towers of Babel.
2.30 And still he stays, and still the flood
Is rising as before;
3 The world is now a sea of words
3.30 Without a sign of shore.
6- Great Scott! He's going!
No, must you go ?
Don't tear yourself away!
What have I written? Oh, some trash-
A sort of Fairy-lay,
Of how a dreadful ogre
Caught a luckless youth one day,
And drowned him in a flood of well,
If you must go good day !"
Phyllis or Mabel! pray forgive -
I had to pay him out;
I'll write that tender rhyme to you
Some other day, no doubt.
/ '. .
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
ONCE a Tiger for a freak,
Fell in love
With a Lily, pure and meek
And as timid, white, and weak
As a dove.
Yet withal a wee bit chilly,
Just enough the Tiger's silly
Pride to pique.
By and by the Lily cold,
Felt the charm;
Learned, tho' dreadful to behold,
That the Tiger, fierce and bold,
Meant no harm.
And she smiled upon him shyly,
Till at length the Tiger wily
So in time the Beauty grew
The Royal Beast who came to woo,
Loved him for his golden hue -
For his roar;
All for him with blushes burning,
To a Tiger-lily turning,
But alas, the luckless Lily
Loved in vain;
For a painted daffodilly
Came between them, and the Lily,
Pale with pain,
In a dark pool, drooped and pining,
Drowned herself, and rose a shining
CHILD at school who fails to pass
Examination in his class
Of Natural History will be
So shaky in Zoology,
That, should he ever chance to go
- -, To foreign parts, he scarce will know
The common iMus Ridiculus
From Felis or Caniculus.
And what of boys and girls is true
Applies to other creatures, too,
As you will cheerfully admit
When once I 've illustrated it.
/ ^/ Tr!!^ ^
I' Y I i
Once on a time a young Giraffe
(Who when at school devoured the chaff,
And trampled underneath his feet
The golden grains of Learning's wheat)
Upon his travels chanced to see
A Python hanging from a tree,
A thing he 'd never met before.
All neck it seemed and nothing more
And, stranger still, it was bestrown
With pretty spots much like his own. 4
Well, well I've often heard," he said,
" Of foolish folk who lose their head;
But really it's a funnier joke
To meet a head that 's lost its folk.
"Dear me! Ha! ha! It makes me laugh.
Where has he left his other half ?
If he could find it he would be
A really fine Giraffe, like me."
j .-- -, The Python, waking with a
/ ^ hiss,
S, *' ', Exclaimed, "What kind of
ii snake is this ?
J b -
Your spots are really
SAlmost as good in fact as
S But with those legs I fail to
How you can coil about a tree.
Take away half, and you
A very decent sort of snake -
Almost as fine a snake as I;
Indeed, it's not too late to
A something in the Python's eye
Told the Giraffe 't was best to fly,
Omitting all formality.
And afterward, when safe at home,
He wrote a very learned tome,
Called, "What I Saw beyond the Foam."
Said he, "The strangest thing one sees
Is a Giraffe who hangs from trees,
And has (right here the author begs
To state a fact) and has no legs!"
The book made a tremendous hit.
The public all devoured it,
Save one, who, minding how he missed
Devouring the author hissed.
The I'nci-anIed TVoo cid.>
A DARK old Raven lived in a tree,
With a little Tree-frog for company,
In the midst of a forest so thick with trees
Only thin people could walk with ease.
Yet though the forest was dank and dark,
The little Tree-frog was gay as a lark;
He piped and trilled the livelong day,
While the Raven was just the other way:
He grumbled and croaked from morn till night,
And nothing in all the world was right.
The moon was too pale, or the sun too bright;
The sky was too blue, or the snow too white ;
The thrushes too gay, or the owls too glum;
And the squirrels well, they were too squirrel-
And as for the trees, why did they grow
In a wood, of all places ? he 'd like to know.
A wood is so dark and unhealthy, too, -
For trees; and besides, they obstruct the view. I'
And so it went on from morn till night:
The Tree-frog piping with pure delight,
And the Raven croaking with all his
That nothing in all the world was
Well, in this same wood, it chanced
The enchanter Merlin lost his way;
And stopping to rest neathh the
Where the Raven and Tree-frog
were taking their tea,
( '- s ^=
He divined of a sudden, by magic lore,
A thing I forgot to mention before :
That the forest and all that therein did dwell
Owed their present shape to an ancient spell.
Now a spell, though a tiresome job to make,
Is the easiest thing in the world to break,
When once you know how to perform the trick,
As Merlin did. Waving his magic stick,
He cried, Let this forest and everything in it
Take its former shape !" When lo in a minute,
In place of the Raven, a stern old sage
All robed in black and all bent with age;
And where the little Tree-frog had been
Sat a goodly youth all dressed in green
And around about was a flowery lawn
Where the forest had been. Said the sage, with a
I must have been dozing -well, to resume -
As I was saying, this world of gloom "
Oh, bother the world of gloom -just hear
That thrush! cried the youth; "the first this
r i, '', ..
Now on, when ar alarms were rife
SA BUNNY ROMANCE.
SHE Bunnies are a feeble folk
I Whose weakness is their strength.
To shun a gun a Bun will run
'-';-. To almost any length.
Now once, when war alarms were rife
In the ancestral wood
Where the kingdom of the Bunnies
For centuries had stood,
The king, for fear long peace had made
His subjects over-bold,
To wake the glorious spirit
Of timidity of old,
Announced one day he would bestow
Princess Bunita's hand
On the Bunny who should prove himself
Most timid in the land.
Next day a proclamation
Was posted in the wood
To the Flower of Timidity,
The Pick of Bunnyhood:
His Majesty the Bunny king,
Commands you to appear
At a tournament at such a date
In such and such a year -
Where his Majesty will then bestow
Princess Bunita's hand
On the Bunny who will prove himself
Most timid in the land."
Then every timid Bunny's heart
Swelled with exultant fright
At the thought of doughty deeds of fear
And prodigies of flight.
For the motto of the Bunnies
As perhaps you are aware,
Is Only the faint-hearted
Are deserving of the fair."
They fell at once to practising,
These Bunnies, one and all,
Till some could almost die of fright
To hear a petal fall.
And one enterprising Bunny
Got up a special class
To teach the art of fainting
At your shadow on the grass.
At length- at length- at length
The moment is at hand I
And trembling all from head to foot
A hundred Bunnies stand.
And a hundred Bunny mothers
With anxiety turn gray
Lest their offspring dear should lose their fear
And linger in the fray.
Never before in Bunny lore
Was such a stirring sight
As when the bugle sounded
To begin the glorious flight!
A hundred Bunnies, like a flash,
All disappeared from sight
Like arrows from a hundred bows -
None swerved to left or right.
Some north, some south, some east, some west,-
And none of them, 't is plain,
Till he has gone around the earth
Will e'er be seen again.
It may be in a hundred weeks,
Perchance a hundred years.
Whenever it may be, 't is plain
The one who first appears
Is the one who ran the fastest ;
He wins the Princess' hand,
And gains the glorious title of
Most Timid in the Land."
THE FLOWER CIRCUS.
THE flowers in the dell
Once gave a circus show;
And as I know them well,
They asked if I would go
As their especial guest.
" Quite charmed! said I, and so
Put on my very best
Frock-coat and shiny hat,
And my embroidered vest
And wonderful cravat;
In fact, no end of style,
For it is, as you know,
But once in a great while
The flowers give a show.
They gave me a front seat,
The very nicest there -
A bank of violets sweet
And moss and maidenhair.
'T was going to be a treat -
I felt it in the air.
As martial music crashed
From a trained trumpet-vine,
Into the ring there dashed
A beauteous columbine !
With airy grace she strode
Her wild horse-chestnut steed.
I held my breath, she rode
With such terrific speed.
They brought a cobweb ring,
And lightly she jumped through it.
(A very dangerous thing;
How did she learn to do it ?)
I cried, "Brava! Encore "
Until she'd jumped through nine,
Each higher than before.
(I tell you, it was fine!)
Then Jack-in-pulpit who
From out his lofty place
Announced what each would do -
Cried, "Next there comes a race."
Two Scarlet Runners flew
Three times the ring around,
And with a crown of dew
The winner's head was crowned.
A booby race, for fun,
Came next (the prize was cheaper).
Trailing Arbutus won
Over Virginia Creeper.
Then came the world-famed six,
The Johnny-jump-up Brothers,
Who did amazing tricks,
Each funnier than the others.
A Spider, in mid-air
(Engaged at great expense),
On tight-thread gossamer
Danced with a skill immense !
A dashing young Green Blade
Who quickly followed suit,
An exhibition made
Of how young blades can shoot.
There were larebell ringers, too,
Who played delightful tunes,
And trained Dog-violets, who
Did antics, like buffoons.
All these and more were there -
Too many for narration;
But nothing could compare
With the last Great Sensation."
I never shall forget,
Though I should live an age,
The sight of Mignonette
Within the Lion's cage.
Sweet smiling Mignonette !
Not one bit scared -for why on
Earth should she fear her pet,
Her dear, tame Dandelion ?
THE FATUOUS FLOWER.
NCE on a time a
Addressed a Sun-
'Jl, '. r .' Dear Sunflower,
t. 11 me is it true
'' it everybody says of
yv you ?
Replied the Sunflower: "Tell me,
How should know what people say ?
Why should I even care ? No doubt
'T is some ill-natured tale without
A word of truth ; but tell me, Bee,
What is it people say of me ? "
" Oh, no the Bee made haste to add;
" 'T is really not so very bad.
I got it from the Ant. She said
She'd heard the Sun had turned your head,
-And that whenever he
-*-" walks the skies
-: .' ( You follow him with all
1i/4' From morn till eve-"
S' Oh, what a shame i "
. i Exclaimed the Sun-
"To say such things of me They know
The very opposite is so.
They know full well that it is he -
The Sun who always follows me.
I turn away my head until
I fear my stalk will break; and still
He tags along from morn till night,
Starting as soon as it is light,
And never takes his eyes off me
Until it is too dark to see !
They really ought to be ashamed.
Soon they 'll be saying I was named
For him, when well they know 't was he
Who took the name of Sun from me."
The Sunflower paused, with anger dumb.
The Bee said naught, but murmured, H'm !
'T was very evident that he
Was much impressed this Bumblebee.
He spread his wings at once and flew
To tell some other bees he knew,
Who, being also much impressed,
Said, H'm and flew to tell the rest.
And now if you should chance to see,
In field or grove, a Bumblebee,
And hear him murmur, "H'm!" then you
Will know what he 's alluding to.
A LOVE STORY.
S9 II liR was a Wizard's son,
a' -j She an Enchanter's daughter;
-- e dabbled in Spells for fun,
Her father some magic had taught her.
They loved but alas to agree
Their parents they could n't persuade.
An Enchanter and Wizard, you see,
Were natural rivals in trade -
And the market for magic was poor -
There was scarce enough business for two
So what started rivalry pure
Into hatred and jealousy grew.
Now the lovers were dreadfully good ;
But when there was really no hope,
After waiting as long as they could,
What else could they do but elope ? -
They eloped in a hired coup;
And the youth, with what magic he knew-
Made it go fully five miles a day.
(Such wonders can sorcery do!)
Then the maiden her witcheries plied,
And enchanted the cabman so much,
When they got to the end of their ride
Not a cent of his fare would he touch !
Now they're married and live to this day
In a nice little tower, alone,
For the building of which, by the way,
Their parents provided the stone.
Then the parents relented ? Oh, no!
They pursued with the fury of brutes,
But arrived just too late for the show,
Through a leak in their seven-league boots;
And finding their children were wed,
Into such a wild rage they
were thrown, .3 .- -.
They rushed on each other .- :.
And each turned the
other to stone. '
And bricks were as then quite unknown,
As soon as their tears were quite dry -
They quarried their parents for stone.
And now in a nice little tower,
In Blissfulness tinged with Remorse,
They live like as not to this hour -
(Unless they have got a divorce).
Crime, Wickedness, Villany, Vice,
And Sin only misery bring ;
If you want to be Happy and Nice,
Be good and all that sort of thing.
A POST-MORT-D'ARTHURIAN LEGEND.
YE log burns low, ye feaste is donne,
Twelve knyghtes of ye Table Rounde
Slyde down fromme ye benches, one by one,
And snore upon ye ground.
Ye log to a dimme blue flame has died,
When ye doore of ye banquet halle
Is opened wide, and in there glyde
Twelve spectral Hagges ande Talle.
Ye log burns dimme, and eke more dimme,
Loud groans each knyghtlie gueste,
As ye ghoste of his grandmother, gaunt and
Sitts on each knyghte hys cheste.
Ye log in pieces twaine doth falle,
Ye daye beginnes to break,
Twelve ghostlie grandmothers glyde from ye hall,
And ye twelve goode knyghtes awake.
Ande ever whenne Mynce Pye was placed
On ye table from thatte daye,
Ye Twelve knyghtes crossed themselves in haste
Ande looked ye other waye.
WHY and Wherefore set one day
To hunt for a wild Negation.
They agreed to meet at a cool retreat
On the Point of Interrogation.
But the night was dark and they missed their
And, driven well-nigh to distraction,
They lost their ways in a murky maze
Of utter abstruse abstraction.
Then they took a boat and were soon afloat
On a sea of Speculation,
But the sea grew rough, and their boat, though
Was split into an Equation.
As they floundered about in the waves of doubt
Rose a fearful Hypothesis,
Who gibbered with glee as they sank in the sea,
And the last they saw was this:
On a rock-bound reef of Unbelief
There sat the wild Negation ;
Then they sank once more and were washed ashore
At the Point of Interrogation.
IN a very lonely tower,
So the legend goes to tell,
Pines a Princess in the power
Of a dreadful Dragon's spell.
There she sits in silent state,
Always watching always dumb,
While the Dragon at the gate
Eats her suitors as they come -
King and Prince of every nation
Poet, Page, and Troubadour,
Of whatever rank or station -
Eats them up and waits for more.
Every Knight that hears the legend
Thinks he'll see what he can do,
Gives his sword a lovely edge, and-
Like the rest is eaten too!
All of which is very pretty,
And romantic, too, forsooth;
But, somehow, it seems a pity
That they should n't know the truth.
If they only knew that really
There is no Princess to gain -
That she's an invention merely
Of the crafty Dragon's brain.
Once it chanced he'd missed his dinner
For perhaps a day or two;
Felt that he was getting thinner,
Wondered what he'd better do.
Then it was that he bethought him
How in this romantic age
(Reading fairy tales had taught him)
Rescuing ladies was the rage.
So a lonely tower he rented,
For a trifling sum per year,
And this thrilling tale invented,
Which was carried far and near;
Far and near throughout the nations,
And the Dragon ever since,
Has relied for daily rations,
On some jolly Knight or Prince.
And while his romantic fiction
To a chivalrous age appeals,
It's a very safe prediction:
He will never want for meals.
i/ -* S -
V t IS Majesty the King of Beasts,
Tired of fuss and formal feasts,
Once resolved that he would go
On a tour incognito.
I B But a suitable disguise
SWas not easy to devise;
Kingly natures do not care
S ^y Other people's things to wear.
The very thought filled him with shame.
"No, I will simply change my name,"
Said he, "and go just as I am,
And call myself a Woolly Lamb."