I know that I was much abused, No doubt when I was young and rash, But I should not have been accused Of misappropriating cash.
I may have sneaked a silver dish;-- Well, you may search me if you wish!
So, now you see me, more or less, As I would figure in your thoughts; A trifle given to excess And prone perhaps to vice of sorts; When tempted, rather apt to fall, But still--a good chap after all!
(_Advice to the Young_)
My children, you should imitate The harmless, necessary cat, Who eats whatever's on his plate, And doesn't even leave the fat; Who never stays in bed too late, Or does immoral things like that; Instead of saying "Shan't!" or "Bosh!"
He'll sit and wash, and wash, and wash!
When shadows fall and lights grow dim He sits beneath the kitchen stair; Regardless as to life and limb, A simple couch he chooses there; And if you tumble over him, He simply loves to hear you swear.
And, while bad language _you_ prefer, He'll sit and purr, and purr, and purr!
[Illustration: _The Cat._]
The Children's "Don't"
_DON'T_ tell Papa his nose is red As any rosebud or geranium, Forbear to eye his hairless head Or criticise his cootlike cranium; 'Tis years of sorrow and of care Have made his head come through his hair.
_Don't_ give your endless guinea-pig (Wherein that animal may build a Sufficient nest) the Sunday wig Of poor, dear, dull, deaf Aunt Matilda.
Oh, _don't_ tie strings across her path, Or empty beetles in her bath!
_Don't_ ask your uncle why he's fat; Avoid upon his toe-joints treading; _Don't_ hide a hedgehog in his hat, Or bury bushes in his bedding.
He will not see the slightest sport In pepper put into his port!
_Don't_ pull away the cherished chair On which Mamma intended sitting, Nor yet prepare her session there By setting on the seat her knitting; Pause ere you hurt her spine, I pray-- That is a game that _two_ can play.
My children, never, never steal!
To know their offspring is a thief Will often make a father feel Annoyed and cause a mother grief; So never steal, but, when you do, Be sure there's no one watching you.
[Illustration: "Don't _hide a hedgehog in his hat._"]
Perhaps you have a turn for what Is known as "misappropriation,"
Attractions this has doubtless got For persons of a certain station, But prevalent 'twill never be Among the aristocracy.
Of course, suppose you want a thing (The owner's absent), and you borrow A ruby ring; you mean to bring Your friend his trinket back to-morrow Meanwhile you have the stones reset, Lest he forget! Lest he forget!
And if some rude detective's hand Should find beneath your cloak a roll Of muslin, or a cruet-stand That's labelled "Hotel Metropole,"
With kindly smile you hand them back, A harmless Kleptomaniac!
Don't tell a lie! Some men I've known Commit the most appalling acts, Because they happen to be prone To an economy of facts; And if _to lie_ is bad, no doubt 'Tis even worse _to get found out_!
Don't take the life of any one, However horrid he may be; That sort of thing is never done, Not in the best society, Where even parricide is thought A most unfilial kind of sport.
Among the "Upper Ten" to-day, It is considered want of tact To slay one's kith and kin, and may Be classed as an "unfriendly act."
Oh, yes, of course I know that this Is merely public prejudice.
[Illustration: "_Or empty beetles in her bath!_"]
But ever since the world began, Howe'er well meant his motives are, The man who slays his fellow man Is never really popular, Whether he sins from love of crime, Or merely just to pass the time.
SPEED, Ruthless Rhymes; throughout the land Disperse yourselves with patient zeal!
Go, perch upon the Critic's hand, Just after he has had a meal.
But should he still unkindly be, Unperch and hasten back to me.
And, wheresoever you may roam, Remember the secluded shelf (Where, sitting in his Heartless Home, The author chortles to himself), There, in the distant by-and-bye, You still may flutter back--to die.