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From The Wit and Humor of America, edited by Marshall P. Wilder, Volume III, New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls and Company, 1911; pp. 414-415.





I’ve met this beast in drawing-rooms,

’Mong ladies gay with silks and plumes,

He looks quite bored, and silly, too,

When he’s held up to public view.

I think I like him better when

Alone I brave him in his den.


I never seek the surly Bear,

But if I meet him in his lair

I say, “Good day sir; sir, good day,”

And then make haste to get away.

It is no pleasure, I declare,

To meet the cross, ill-natured Bear.


I know it would be of no use

To say I’d never met a Goose.

There are so many all around,

With idle look and clacking sound.

And sometimes it has come to pass

I’ve seen one in my looking-glass.



This merry one, with laughing eyes,

Not too sedate nor overwise,

Is best of comrades; frank and free,

A clever hand at making tea;

A fearless nature, full of pluck,

I like her well — she is a Duck.


The Cat’s a nasty little beast;

She’s seen at many a fête1 and feast.

She’s spiteful, sly and double-faced,

Exceeding prim, exceeding chaste.

And while a soft, sleek smile she wears,

Her neighbor’s reputation tears.


Of all the animals I’ve met

The Puppy is the worse one yet.

Clumsy and crude, he hasn’t brains

Enough to come in when it rains.

But with insufferable conceit

He thinks that he is just too sweet.


Kids are the funniest things I know;

Nothing they do but eat and grow.

They’re frolicsome, and it is said

They eat tin cans and are not dead.

I’m not astonished at that feat,

For all things else I’ve seen them eat.

 1  Poetry teaches odd and unexpectedly useful things. As you can see here, it shows us how to pronounce fête, (a French word): as one-syllable: pronounced either FATE or FET. This is one of those words which we read but never hear in conversation. So most of us have never said it aloud, —  probably because we didn’t know how to pronounce it! Now we do.

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