By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Bashful Earthquake - and Other Fables and Verses
Author: Herford, Oliver
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bashful Earthquake - and Other Fables and Verses" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

book was produced from scanned images of public domain
material from the Google Books project.)


  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  The contractions ’t and n’t for “it” and “not” have a space
  before and after them, so we see “is n’t” and “wer n’t” and “’t is”
  in the original text. These spaces are retained in this etext. The
  consistent exceptions in both the text and the etext are “don’t”
  “can’t” and “won’t”.

  Other contractions such as “they’re” and “you’re” have a half-space
  in the original text; these words are closed up in the etext.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources. All misspellings
  in the text, and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.


      _If this little world to-night
        Suddenly should fall thro’ space
      In a hissing, headlong flight,
        Shrivelling from off its face,
      As it falls into the sun,
        In an instant every trace
      Of the little crawling things--
        Ants, philosophers, and lice,
      Cattle, cockroaches, and kings,
        Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
      Men and maggots all as one
        As it falls into the sun--
      Who can say but at the same
        Instant from some planet far
      A child may watch us and exclaim:
        “See the pretty shooting star!”_

  _The_ Bashful

  & _Other_ FABLES
  and VERSES by
  with many pictures
  by _the Author_


  New York: Published by
  Charles Scribner’s Sons in
  the Autumn of MDCCCXCVIII

  _Copyright, 1898_,

  University Press:






  THE BASHFUL EARTHQUAKE                                   1

  THE LOVESICK SCARECROW                                   7

  THE MUSIC OF THE FUTURE                                  9

  SONG                                                    11

  THE DOORLESS WOLF                                       12

  THE BOLD BAD BUTTERFLY                                  15

  CRUMBS                                                  20

  JAPANESQUE                                              21

  THE DIFFERENCE                                          22


  THE FIRST FIRST OF APRIL                                24

  THE EPIGRAMMATIST                                       26

  THE SILVER LINING                                       28

  THE BOASTFUL BUTTERFLY                                  31

  THE THREE WISHES                                        35

  TRUTH                                                   37

  THE TRAGIC MICE                                         38

  ABSENCE OF MIND                                         40

  THE GRADUATE                                            41

  THE POET’S PROPOSAL                                     44

  A THREE-SIDED QUESTION                                  45

  THE SNAIL’S DREAM                                       51

  A CHRISTMAS LEGEND                                      52

  HYDE AND SEEKE                                          54

  IN THE CAFÉ                                             55

  THE LEGEND OF THE LILY                                  58

  THE UNTUTORED GIRAFFE                                   60

  THE ENCHANTED WOOD                                      64

  A BUNNY ROMANCE                                         68

  THE FLOWER CIRCUS                                       72

  THE 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


      _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._

[Illustration: The Bashful Earthquake]

          The Earthquake rumbled
          And mumbled
                And grumbled;
          And then he bumped,
          And everything tumbled--
      Houses and palaces all in a lump!


                  “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.


      The sun in the west was sinking red,
      And the Dormouse had just turned into bed,
      Dreaming as only a Dormouse can,
      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,


      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 grammar;
      All he could do was to feebly stammer:
      “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid it’s me.
      Please don’t be angry. I’ll 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.


[Illustration: The Lovesick Scarecrow]

      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.


[Illustration: The MUSIC of the FUTURE]

      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 inside!”



      _Gather Kittens while you may,
        Time brings only Sorrow;
      And the Kittens of To-day
        Will be Old Cats To-morrow._



      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 faint.
      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 deuce,--
      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’ll 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’ll be secure.
      Do you accept?” The wolf exclaimed, “I do!”
      The rich man smiled; the wolf smiled; _I_ smiled, too,
      And in my little book made haste to scrawl:
      “Thus affluence makes niggards of us all!”


[Illustration: The Bold Bad Butterfly]

      One day a Poppy, just in play,
      Said to a butterfly, “Go ’way,
      Go ’way, you naughty thing! Oh, my!
      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,
      Which is--

          |                           |
          |             ?             |
          |                           |

                    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_.

[Illustration: FINIS]



      Up to my frozen window-shelf
        Each day a begging birdie comes,
      And when I 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.

[Illustration: Japanesque]

      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 _tink tunkle_
        Played by that charming Jap Anise--
      For am I not her old Jap uncle?
        And is she not my Japan niece?


      In 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 scoff
      Till the fall, when both “come off,”
      With this difference, be it said,
      That the leaves at least are Red.



      Once hoary Winter chanced--alas!
      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 powere,
      That when ye chillye snowe didde pelte,
      With magic charm each flake didde melte,
      Didde melte into a flowere;
      And Spring didde wake and marvelle how,
      How blossomed so ye leafless bough.

[Illustration: The first First of April.]

      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
        Who 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.




      When 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_.”




      Upon the temple dome
        Of Solomon the wise
      There paused, returning home,
        A pair of butterflies.

      _He_ did the quite blasé
        (Did it rather badly),
      Wherefore--need I say?--
        _She_ adored him madly.

      Enthusiasm she
        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,
        “How dared you say this thing?

      “How dared you, fly, invent
        Such blasphemy 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_!”

[Illustration: The Three Wishes.]

      Once to a man a goblin came
      And said to him, “If you will name
      Three wishes, whatsoe’er they be,
      They shall be granted instantly.
      Think of three things you deem the best,
      Express your wish--‘_we do the rest_.’”
      “O 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:
      “I 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.



      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’ll 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_!



      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!_”

[Illustration: The Graduate.]

      “You are old, ‘Father World,’” cried the Graduate,
        “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 less
        For twenty-one years, and I know
      You right through and through, and I can but confess
        You are really confoundedly slow.”

      Said the world, “My dear sir, you are right, there’s no crime
        Like dullness--henceforth I will try
      To be clever--forgive me! I’m taking your time,
        Perhaps we’ll meet later! Good-bye!”


      “You are cold, Father World, and harden’d forsooth,”
        Cried the man, “and exceeding wise,
      And for any offensive remarks of my youth
        I beg to apologize.”



        “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’ll force me to remind you
        Paintings _must_ be framed with gold!”

[Illustration: A Three-sided Question]

_Scene._ A hollow tree in the woods.

_Time._ December evening.

    MR. OWL.
    MR. BEAR.

        MR. OWL (_stretching his wings_):
      Heigho! It’s dark!
      How fast the daylight goes!
      I must have over-slept. It’s time I rose
      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 said.

        MR. OWL:
      Well, my dear bird, your reason must have fled!

        MR. 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--there!

        MR. SPARROW (_hopping one twig higher 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.

        MR. OWL:
      I _am_ beneath you, true enough, my friend,
      By just two branches. Will you not descend?
      Or shall I--

        MR. 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!


        MR. OWL:
      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._

        MR. OWL:
      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.





      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!



      Beneathe an ancient oake one daye
      A holye friar kneeled to praye;
      Scarce hadde he mumbled Aves three,
      When lo! a voice within the tree!
      Straighte to the friar’s hearte 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 grounde.
      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:

      “_Within the hollow of this oak,
      Enchanted for a hundred yeares,
      Have I been bounde--yet vain my teares;
      Notte anything can breake the banne
      Till I be kiss’d by holye manne._”

      “Woe’s me!” thenne sayd the friar; “if thou
      Be sente to tempt me breake my vowe;
      Butte whether mayde or fiende thou be,
      I’ll stake my soul to sette thee free.”
      The holye manne then crossed hym thrice,
      And kissed the mayde--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 downe 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 betweene
      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 mayde he canne
      Nor any one shall say hym “no”
      Beneath the holye mistletoe.


      One day beneathe a willowe tree,
        Love met a mayde moste faire to see;
      “Come play at hyde and seeke,” cried he.
      “With alle my hearte!”--quoth she.

      “I’m it!” Love cries, and rounde hys eyes
        A scarfe the maiden bindeth,
      And inne and oute and rounde aboute
        Ye willowe trees he windeth--
        Yette ne’er the maiden findeth.

      Stille inne and oute and rounde aboute,
        And stille no maiden meetinge;
      Till, piqued, ye rogue unbinds hys eyes,
      And, perched upon a branch, espies
        Ye mayde 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 rounde aboute,
        Seeks she for Love relentinge--

      But Love, they say--alas, ye day!
      Has spread his wings and flown away,
        And left ye mayde lamentinge,
        And left ye mayde repentinge.



1 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 café
              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._



      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
          Was consoled.

      So in time the Beauty grew
          To adore
      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,
          Golden too.

      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

[Illustration: The UNTUTORED GIRAFFE.]

      A child at school who fails to pass
      Examination in his class
      Of Natural History will be
      So shaky in Zoölogy,
      That, should he ever chance to go
      To foreign parts, he scarce will know
      The common _Mus 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.


      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.
      “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.”


      The Python, waking with a hiss,
      Exclaimed, “What kind of snake is this?
      Your spots are really very fine,
      Almost as good in fact as mine,
      But with those legs I fail to see
      How you can coil about a tree.
      Take away half, and you would make
      A very decent sort of snake--
      Almost as fine a snake as I;
      Indeed, it’s not too late to try.”

      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_.

[Illustration: The Enchanted Wood.]

      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 squirrelsome.

      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.

      And so it went on from morn till night:
      The Tree-frog piping with pure delight,

      And the Raven croaking with all his might
      That nothing in all the world was right.

      Well, in this same wood, it chanced one day
      The enchanter Merlin lost his way;

      And stopping to rest ’neath the very tree
      Where the Raven and Tree-frog were taking their tea,


      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 yawn:

      “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 year!”




      The Bunnies are a feeble folk
        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!
      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 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 Harebell 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?



      Once on a time a Bumblebee
      Addressed a Sunflower. Said he:
      “Dear Sunflower, tell me is it true
      What everybody says of you?”

      Replied the Sunflower: “Tell me, pray,
      How should _I_ 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 whene’er he walks the skies
      You follow him with all your eyes
      From morn till eve--”
      “Oh, what a shame!”
      Exclaimed the Sunflower, aflame,
      “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.




      He was a Wizard’s son,
        She an Enchanter’s daughter;
      He 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 coupé;
        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,
      They rushed on each other instead
        And each turned the other to stone.



      Then the lovers, since lumber was high,
        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._



      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 grimme,
        Sitts on each knyghte hys cheste.

      Ye log in pieces twaine doth falle,
        Ye daye beginnes to breake,
      Twelve ghostlie grandmothers glyde from ye hall,
        And ye twelve goode knyghtes awake.

      Ande ever whenne Mynce Pye was placed
        On ye table frome 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 mark,
        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 tough,
        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.

[Illustration: The Princess That was n’t.]

      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.


[Illustration: The Lion’s Tour

A Fable]

      His Majesty the King of Beasts,
      Tired of fuss and formal feasts,
      Once resolved that he would go
      On a tour incognito.
      But a suitable disguise
      Was not easy to devise;
      Kingly natures do not care
      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.”


      And so he did, and as you’ll guess,
      He had a measure of success.
      Disguised in name alone, he yet
      Took in ’most every one he met.

      The first was Mister Wolf, who said,
      “Your Majesty--” “Off with his head!”
      The angry monarch roared. “I am,
      I’d have you know, a Woolly Lamb.”

      Then Mistress Lamb, who, being near,
      Had heard, addressed him: “Brother dear--”
      “Odds cats!” the lion roared. “My word!
      Such insolence I never heard!”

      His rage was a terrific sight
      (It almost spoiled his appetite).
      And so it went, until one day
      He met Sir Fox, who stopped to say
      (Keeping just far enough away,
      Yet in a casual, off-hand way,
      As if he did n’t care a fig),
      “Good-morning to you, Thingumjig.”

      To-day we think it _infra dig_,
      To use such words as Thing um jig;
      But what is now a vulgar word
      In those days never had been heard.
      Sir Fox himself invented it
      This great emergency to fit.

      The King of Beasts, quite unprepared
      For this reception, simply stared.


      Of course he was not going to show
      There was a word he did not know.
      He bowed, and with his haughtiest air
      Resumed his walk; but everywhere
      He went his subjects, small and big,
      Took up the cry of Thingumjig.
      It followed him where’er he went;
      He did n’t dare his rage to vent.
      Suppose it were a compliment?
      His anger then would only show
      Here was a word he did not know!
      The only course for him ’t was clear,
      Was to pretend he did not hear.


      And this he did until, at length,
      Long fasting so impaired his strength
      He gave his tour up in despair,
      Mid great rejoicing everywhere.




      When scribbling late one night
      I happened to alight
        On the happiest thought I’d thought
            For many a year.
      I hailed it with delight
      But ere I’d time to write
        My pencil had contrived
            To disappear.

      Where _could_ the thing have gone?
      I searched and searched upon
        The table, and beneath it
            And behind it.
      I pushed my books about,
      Turned my pockets inside out,
        But the more I looked
            The more I could n’t find it!


      Then I searched and searched again
      On the table, but in vain,
        And I fussed and fumed
            And felt about the floor.
      And I rose up in my wroth,
      And I shook the tablecloth,
        And turned my pockets
            Inside out once more!

      “This will not do,” I said,
      “I _must not_ lose my head!”
        So I went and tore the cushions
            From my chair,
      Shook all my rugs and mats,
      And shoes and coats and hats,
        And crawled beneath the
            Sofa in despair!



      Then I said, “I _must_ keep cool!”
      So I took my two-foot rule
        And I poked among the
            Ashes in the grate.
      And I paced my room in rage,
      Like a wild beast in a cage,
        In a furious, frightful, frantic,
            Frenzied state!

      At last, upon my soul,
      I lost my self-control
        And indulged in language
            Quite unfit to hear;
      Till out of breath--I gasped
      And clutched my head--and grasped
        That pencil calmly resting on
            My ear!

      Yes, I found that pencil stub!
      But my thought--Aye, there’s the rub
        In vain I try to call it
            Back again.
      It has fled beyond recall,
      And what is worst of all
        ’T will turn up in some
            Other fellow’s brain!

      So I denounce forthwith
      Any future Jones or Smith
        Who thinks _my thought_--a
            Plagiarist of the worst.
      I shall know my thought again
      When I hear it, and it’s plain
        It _must_ be mine because
            _I thought it first_!




      A lover sate alone
        All by the Golden Gate,
      And made exceedynge moan
        Whiles he hys Love didde wait.

      To him One coming prayed
        Why he didde weepe. Said he,
      “I weepe me for a maid
        Who cometh notte to mee.”

      “Alas! I waite likewise
        My Love these many years;
      Meseems ’t would save our eyes
        If we should pool our tears.”

      And so they weeped full sore
        A twelvemonth and a daye,
      Till they could weepe no more,
        For notte a tear hadde they.

      Whenas they came to see
        They could not weepe alway,
      Each of hys Faire Ladyee
        ’Gan sing a rondelay.


      “My Love hath golden hair,”
        Sang one, “and like the wine
      The red lips of my Fair.”
        The other sang, “_So’s mine_.”

      “My Love is wondrous wise,”
        Sang one, “and wondrous fine
      And wondrous dark her eyes.”
        The other sang, “_So’s mine_.”


      “My Love is wondrous proud,
        And her name is Geraldyne.”
      “Thou liest!” shrieked aloud
        The other. “_She is mine!_”

      “She plighted ere I died
        Eternal troth to me.”
      “Good lack,” the other cried,
        “E’en so she plighted me!”

      “Beside my bier she swore
        She would be true to me,
      For aye and evermore,
        Unto eternityee.”

      The twain didde then agree,
        In their most grievous plight,
      To fly to earth and see
        The which of them was right.

      Alack and well-a-daye!
        A-well-a-daye alack!
      Eft soons they flew away,
        Eft sooners flew they back.

      For when they had come there
        They were not fain to stay,
      To Geraldyne the Faire
        Her silver weddyng daye.




      As I sit, inanely staring
        In the Gas-log’s lambent flame,
      Far away my fancy’s faring
        To a land without a name,--
      To the country of Invention,
        Where I roam in ecstasy,
      Where all things are mere pretension,
        Nothing what it seems to be.

      Folded in a calm serenic,
        On a jute-bank I recline,
      Where, mid moss of hue arsenic,
        Millinery flowers entwine.
      Cambric blooms--glass-dew beshowered,
        Gay with colors aniline,
      Ever eagerly devoured
        By the mild, condensed milch kine.

      Now the scene idyllic changes
        From the meadows aniline,
      And my faltering fancy ranges
        Down a dismal, deep decline,

      Scene of some age past upheaval,
        Where no foot of man has fared,
      To a Gas-log grove primeval,
        Where I find me, mute, and scared
      Of--I know not--Goblins, Banshees,
        And the ancient Gas-trees toss
      Gnarled and flickering giant branches,
        Hoary with asbestos moss.

      Now I come to where are waving
        Painted palms, precisely planned,
      Rearing trunks of cocoa shaving,
        By electric zephyrs fanned,
      Soothing me with sound seraphic
        Till I sink into a swoon,
      Dreaming cineomatographic
        Dreams beneath an arc-light moon.


[Illustration: Cupid’s Fault.]

        Once Cupid, he
        Went on a spree
      And made a peck of trouble,
        “Ah ha!” cried he,
        “Two hearts I see!”
      Alack, the rogue saw double.


        There was but one;
        What has he done?
      How could he be so stupid?
        Into one heart
        _Two_ arrows dart--
      O Cupid, Cupid, Cupid!

        In truth ’t is sweet
        When “two hearts beat
      As one”--but what to do
        When in one heart
        Two arrows smart
      And _one heart beats as two_?


Scene: a railway station.

      Just two minutes more!
        O Tempus, stand still,
        Stand still, I implore,
        One moment, until
        I have time to reflect
        On what I would say.
      Give me time to collect
      My senses, I pray,
      Until I have said
      What my courage was mounting
      To say, when instead
      I was stupidly counting
      The moments that fled!
        O Tempus! you’re flying!
      A plague on this parting,
      This sighing, goodbying,
      This smiling and smarting;
      A plague too upon
      This--Heavens! it’s starting!
      Good bye!--
                  There, she’s gone!


      The air was full of shouts and cries,
      Of shrill “Ha-ha’s,” and “Ho’s,” and “Hi’s,”
        And every kind of whistle,
      And the sky was dark with flying things--
      Golf-sticks, balls, engagement-rings,
      Novels, rackets, and billiard-cues,
      Cameras, fishing-rods, and shoes,
        And every sort of missile.

      The ground was black with a seething mass
      Of people of every kind and class--
        Matrons, men, and misses,
      Ladies and gentlemen, old and new,
      Lads and lasses, and children too,
      Elderly men with elderly wives--
      Hustling and bustling for their lives.
        “I wonder what all this is?”

      Said I: “I fear that it may be
      Another case for the S. P. C.
        ’T will bear investigation.”
      I dropped my book and joined the race,
      And struggling into the foremost place,
      Behold, the object of the chase
      Was an aged man with wrinkled face!
        I was filled with indignation.

      His frame was bent and his knees aknock,
      His head was bald but for one lock,
        And I cried with anger thrilling,
      “This thing must stop; ’t is a disgrace
      An aged gentleman to chase.”
      Then everybody laughed in my face.
      “This,” they cried, “is a different case;
        It’s only ‘Time’ we’re killing.”

      Then it was I observed two things
      That grew from his shoulders--two big wings!
        And I joined in the people’s laughter.
      Tho’ killing is often out of place,
      A circumstance may alter a case.
      So I took my pad and pencil-case,
      And for want of a missile, in its place
        I tossed these verses after.

[Illustration: The Mermaid Club.]

      | _The Mermaid Culture Club request  |
      | That you will kindly be            |
      | On such and such a day their guest |
      | At something after three._         |

      I wrote at once that “I should be
      Most charmed,” and donn’d my best
      Dress diving-suit,--a joy to see,--
      And at their club-house ’neath the sea
      Arrived at “something after three”
      Promptly (unpunctuality
            Is something I detest).
      The President, a mermaid fair,
      Sat by a coral table,
      And read an essay with an air
      Intelligent and able
      Upon--but you will never guess
      The subject--it was nothing less
      Than _sunshades_ and _umbrellas_.
      I really did my very best
      To keep from laughing--as their guest.
      That it was hard must be confessed
      When next the meeting was addressed
      On _shoes_, and which would wear the best--
            _Tan slippers or prunellas_.
      Then came (it did look like a joke)
      Essays on _bonnet_, _hat_, and _toque_:
      Said I, “They must be mocking.”
      And when at length a mermaid rose,
      And read a thesis to expose
      The latest novelty in _hose_,
            I felt my reason rocking.
      But when at last the thing was o’er,
      And I was back again on shore,
            I fell to moralizing.
      And as remembrance came to me
      Of other clubs _not_ in the sea,
      Of essays read by ladies fair
      Upon the “why” and “whence” and “where,”
            Said I, “It’s not surprising.”



      Upon a time I had a Heart,
      And it was bright and gay;
      And I gave it to a Lady fair
      To have and keep alway.

      She soothed it and she smoothed it
      And she stabbed it till it bled;
      She brightened it and lightened it
      And she weighed it down with lead.

      She flattered it and battered it
      And she filled it full of gall;
      Yet had I Twenty Hundred Hearts,
      Still should she have them all.



      I’ve often wondered--have n’t you?--
      What all the little angels do
      To while eternity away,
      When grown-up angels sing and play
      Upon their harps with golden strings,
      And lutes and violas and things.
      What do they do? What do they play
      To while eternity away?
      After much pondering profound,
      Perhaps an answer I have found--
      I give it you for what it’s worth.
      The people now upon this earth,
      Who neither quite deserve to go
      Above hereafter, nor below--
      The prig, the poser, and the crank;
      The snob, who thinks of naught but rank;
      The gossip and the fool--in short,
      All nuisances of every sort--
      Will change into amusing toys
      For little angel girls and boys.
      The braggart will confer a boon
      By changing to a toy balloon;
      The snob tuft-hunter and the bore
      To shuttlecock and battledore
      Will turn; the highfalutin wights
      The angel boys will fly as kites;
      The gossip then will cease his prattle,
      And be an angel baby’s rattle;
      The prig--but you have got me there.
      Whether in heaven, or elsewhere,
      ’T is quite impossible to see
      What kind of use the prig can be;
      By what inscrutable design,
      Or by what accident divine,
      Or what impenetrable jest
      He was evolved, can ne’er be guessed.




      A lady on the lonely shore
        Of a dull watering place
      Once met a Tigress weeping sore,
        Tears streaming down her face.

      And knowing well that safety lay
        In not betraying fear,
      She asked in quite a friendly way,
        “What makes you weep, my dear?”

      The Tigress brushed a tear aside;
        “I want a man!” she wailed.
      “A man! they’re scarce!” the lady cried;
        “I fear the crop has failed!

      There is but one in miles, and oh,
        I fear that he is wed!”
      The Tigress smiled. “I am, you know,
        A man eater,” she said.

      “You eat them!” cried the maid, then ceased
        In horror and amaze,
      Then sat her down to show the beast
        The error of her ways.

      “Men are so scarce,” she urged, “I fear
        There are n’t enough to go
      Around--now is it right, my dear,
        That you should waste them so?

      I weep to think of all the men
        You’ve spoiled ere now,” said she.
      “And if you eat the rest, why, then
        What will be left for me?”

      The hours flew by; she took no rest
        Till twilight, when at last
      The contrite beast with sobs confessed
        Repentance for the past.

      “Go,” said the maid, “take my advice;
        I know what’s best for you;
      It’s cheap and filling at the price;
        Go seek the oyster stew!”

      The Tigress lies unto this day
        Upon an oyster bed.
      The Lady--so the gossips say--
        Is shortly to be wed.




TO C. D. G. AND A. B. W.

      Two ladies, not _real_ ladies (no offence--
      I don’t mean “not real ladies” in _that_ sense),
      But pictured fancies they--who dwelt between
      The pages of a weekly magazine.
      Though often in the selfsame week they met,
      They were n’t exactly in the selfsame set,
      And could not know each other. One, I think,
      Was done in wash; the other, pen and ink.
      The wash lady (again there’s no offence--
      I use “wash” in its pure artistic sense)
      Was a brunette, vivacious, charming wholly;
      Neither too slim, nor yet too rolly-poly.
      A dazzling smile had this enchanting creature;
      Indeed, her most predominating feature
      Was a continuous show of glittering pearl;
      And on her forehead hung a little curl--
      A most distracting little curl; and last,
      She had a very slight Hebraic cast.
      Gray eyes the other had, serene and clear;
      A cold and distant manner; yet I fear
      Her looks belied her, for she oft was seen
      Lounging about the beach, or ’mid the green,
      Of the conservatory’s dim retreat,
      Always some chappie nestling at her feet.
      A first-rate fellow she, and looked her best
      When in a golf or walking costume dressed;
      In short, the other’s opposite in all,
      And fearfully and wonderfully tall.
      One day, by chance, each occupied a place
      On the same page, exactly face to face,
      In such a way ’t was possible no more
      For either one the other to ignore.
      Then in an instant burst into a flame
      The fire that had been smouldering.

                                          “How came
      You here?” they both exclaimed, as with one voice.
      (Here I use asterisks, though not from choice
      But type has limits, and must play the dunce;
      When two young ladies both converse at once.)
                        I left them to their scenes.
      Next day I found the page in _smithereens_,
      And I reflected, “It is very sad
      That two nice girls should get so awfully mad
      About a thing for which, had they but known,
      Two artists were responsible alone.”




      O Wolf, I do not dread thee as of yore,
      Time was when I would tremble in my shoes
      At sight of thee--when lo! my pity’ng Muse
      Brought me wherewith to drive thee from the door.
      And since at last, O Wolf, my waning store
      Has lured thee back, she will not now refuse
      My invocation. So I cannot choose
      But cry, “Help! Wolf!” that she may come once more.
      Mine is a Muse that listens with disdain
      To any call save that of appetite;
      And till thou earnest all my prayers were vain,
      For while my purse was full, my brain was light.
      Therefore, O Wolf, I welcome thee again
      To speed the Muse--that I may dine to-night.




      In all the Eastern hemisphere
      You would n’t find a knight, a peer,
      A viscount, earl or baronet,
      A marquis or a duke, nor yet
      A prince, or emperor, or king,
      Or sultan, czar, or anything
      That could in family pride surpass
      J. Wentworth Beane of Boston, Mass.
      His family tree could far outscale
      The bean-stalk in the fairy tale;
      And Joseph’s coat would pale before
      The blazon’d coat-of-arms he bore,
      The arms of his old ancestor,
      One Godfrey Beane, “who crossed, you know,
      About two hundred years ago.”
      He had it stamped, engraved, embossed,
      Without the least regard to cost,
      Upon his house, upon his gate,
      Upon his table-cloth, his plate,
      Upon his knocker, and his mat,
      Upon his watch, inside his hat;
      On scarf-pin, handkerchief, and screen,
      And cards; in short, J. Wentworth Beane
      Contrived to have old Godfrey’s crest
      On everything that he possessed.
      And lastly, when he died, his will
      Proved to contain a codicil
      Directing that a sum be spent
      To carve it on his monument.

      But if you think this ends the scene
      You little know J. Wentworth Beane.
      To judge him by the common host
      Is reckoning without his ghost.
      And it is something that befell
      His ghost I chiefly have to tell.

      At midnight of the very day
      They laid J. Wentworth Beane away,
      No sooner had the clock come round
      To 12 P. M. than from the ground
      Arose a spectre, lank and lean,
      With frigid air and haughty mien;
      No other than J. Wentworth Beane,
      Unchanged in all, except his pride--
      If anything, intensified.
      He looked about him with that air
      Of supercilious despair
      That very stuck-up people wear
      At some society affair
      When no one in their set is there.
      Then, after brushing from his sleeves
      Some bits of mould and clinging leaves,
      And lightly dusting off his shoe,
      The iron gate he floated through,
      Just looking back the clock to note,
      As one who fears to miss a boat.
      Ten minutes later found him on
      The ghost’s Cunarder--“Oregon;”
      And ten days later by spook time
      He heard the hour of midnight chime
      From out the tower of Beanley Hall,
      And stood within the grave-yard wall
      Beside a stone, moss-grown and green,
      On which these simple words were seen:

                    IN MEMORY
                SIR GODFREY BEANE.


      The while he gazed in thought serene
      A little ghost of humble mien,
      Unkempt and crooked, bent and spare,
      Accosted him with cringing air:
      “Most noble sir, ’t is plain to see
      You are not of the likes of me;
      You are a spook of high degree.”
      “My good man,” cried J. Wentworth B.,
      “Leave me a little while, I pray,
      I’ve travelled very far to-day,
      And I desire to be alone
      With him who sleeps beneath this stone.
      I cannot rest till I have seen
      My ancestor, Sir Godfrey Beane.”

      “Your ancestor! How can that be?”
      Exclaimed the little ghost, “when he,
      Last of his line, was drowned at sea
      Two hundred years ago; this stone
      Is to his memory alone.
      I, and I only, saw his end.
      As he, my master and my friend,
      Leaned o’er the vessel’s side one night
      I pushed him--no, it was not right,
      I own that I was much to blame;
      I donned his clothes, and took the name
      Of Beane--I also took his gold,
      About five thousand pounds all told;
      And so to Boston, Mass., I came
      To found a family and name--
      I, who in former times had been
      Sir Godfrey’s--”
                      “Wretch, what do you mean!
      Sir Godfrey’s what?” gasped Wentworth Beane.
      “Sir Godfrey’s valet!”

                            That same night,
      When the ghost steamer sailed, you might
      Among the passengers have seen
      A ghost of very abject mien,
      Faded and shrunk, forlorn and frayed,

      The shadow of his former shade,
      Who registered in steerage class,
      J. W. Beane of Boston, Mass.

      Now, gentle reader, do not try
      To guess the family which I
      Disguise as Beane--enough that they
      Exist on Beacon Hill to-day,
      In sweet enjoyment of their claims--
      It is not well to mention names.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bashful Earthquake - and Other Fables and Verses" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.