A Child's Primer Of Natural History
SEE, chil-dren, the Fur-bear-ing Seal;
Ob-serve his mis-di-rect-ed zeal:
He dines with most ab-ste-mi-ous care
On Fish, Ice Water and Fresh Air
A-void-ing cond-i-ments or spice,
For fear his fur should not be nice
And fine and smooth and soft and meet
For Broad-way or for Re-gent Street
And yet some-how I of-ten feel
(Though for the kind Fur-bear-ing Seal
I har-bor a Re-spect Pro-found)
SEE the Gi-raffe; he is so tall
There is not room to get him all
U-pon the page. His head is high-er—
The pic-ture proves it—than the Spire.
That's why the na-tives, when they race
To catch him, call it stee-ple-chase.
His chief de-light it is to set
A good example: shine or wet
He rises ere the break of day,
And starts his break-fast right away.
His food has such a way to go,—
His throat's so very long,—and so
An early break-fast he must munch
To get it down ere time for lunch.
THIS is the Yak, so neg-li-gée:
His coif-fure's like a stack of hay;
He lives so far from Any-where,
I fear the Yak neg-lects his hair,
And thinks, since there is none to see,
What mat-ter how un-kempt he be.
How would he feel if he but knew
That in this Pic-ture-book I drew
His Phys-i-og-no-my un-shorn,
For chil-dren to de-ride and scorn?
THE con-sci-en-tious art-ist tries
On-ly to draw what meets his eyes.
This is the Whale; he seems to be
A spout of wa-ter in the sea.
Now, Hux-ley from one bone could make
An un-known beast; so if I take
This spout of wa-ter, and from thence
Con-struct a Whale by in-fer-ence,
A Whale, I ven-ture to as-sert,
Must be an an-i-mat-ed squirt!
Thus, chil-dren, we the truth may sift
By use of Log-ic's Price-less Gift.
THIS is the Le-o-pard, my child;
His tem-per's any-thing but mild.
The Le-o-pard can't change his spots,
And that—so say the Hot-ten-tots—
Is why he is so wild.
Year in, year out, he may not change,
No mat-ter how the wea-ther range,
From cold to hot. No won-der, child,
We hear the Le-o-pard is wild.
THE Sloth en-joys a life of Ease;
He hangs in-vert-ed from the trees,
And views life up-side down.
If you, my child, are noth-ing loath
To live in In-dol-ence and Sloth,
Un-heed-ing the World's frown,
You, too, un-vexed by Toil and Strife,
May take a hu-mor-ous view of life.
THIS is the El-e-phant, who lives
With but one aim—to please.
His i-vo-ry tusk he free-ly gives
To make pi-a-no keys.
One grief he has—how-e'er he tries,
He nev-er can for-get
That one of his e-nor-mous size
Can't be a house-hold pet.
Then does he to his grief give way,
Or sink 'neath sor-row's ban?
Oh, no; in-stead he spends each day
Con-tri-ving some un-sel-fish way
To be of use to Man.
OH, turn not from the hum-ble Pig,
My child, or think him in-fra dig.
We oft hear lit-er-a-ry men
Boast of the in-flu-ence of the Pen;
Yet when we read in His-to-ry's Page
Of Hu-man Pigs in ev-er-y age,
From Cr[oe]sus to the pres-ent day,
Is it, my child, so hard to say
(De-spite the Scribes' vain-glo-ri-ous boast)
What Pen has in-flu-enced Man the most?
EV-ER-Y child who has the use
Of his sen-ses knows a goose.
See them un-der-neath the tree
Gath-er round the goose-girl's knee,
While she reads them by the hour
From the works of Scho-pen-hau-er.
How pa-tient-ly the geese at-tend!
But do they re-al-ly com-pre-hend
What Scho-pen-hau-er's driv-ing at...?