“With some sawdust and bark
I could stuff in the dark
An owl better than that.
I could make an old hat
Look more like an owl
Than that horrid fowl,
Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather,
In fact, about him there’s not one natural feather.”
Just then, with a wink and a sly
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch,
Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic.
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say:
“Your learning’s at fault this time, anyway;
Don’t waste it again on a live bird, I pray.
I’m an owl; you’re another, Sir Critic, good day!”
And the barber kept on shaving.
THE TRUE STORY OF KING MARSHMALLOW,
O a jolly old fellow was King
As ever wore a crown!
At every draught of wine he quaffed,
And at every joke of his jester he laughed,
Laughed till the tears ran down—
O, he laughed Ha! Ha! and he laughed Ho! Ho!
And every time that he laughed, do you know,
The Lords in waiting they did just so.
But Queen Bonniberry was not
quite so merry;
She sat and sighed all the while,
And she turned very red and shook her head
At everything Jingle the jester said,
And never vouchsafed a smile.
O, she sighed Ah me! and she sighed Heigh-oh!
And every time that she sighed, do you know,
The Ladies in waiting they did just so.
Then the jester spoke just by
way of a joke,
(O he was a funny man!)
And he said May it please your majesties,
I wish to complain of those impudent fleas
That bite me whenever they can!
Then the king he laughed Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!
And the queen she sighed Ah me!—Heigh-oh!
While the Lords and the Ladies they did just so.
As for that, my man, the king
The fleas bite whoever they like,
But the very first flea you chance to see,
Wherever he may happen to be,
You have my permission to strike!
And the king he roared, Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!
While the queen she sighed Ah me!—Heigh-oh!
And the Lords and the Ladies they did just so.
Just then Jingle sighted a flea
that had lighted
Right on—well, where do you suppose?
On Marshmallow’s own royal face, and the clown
In bringing his hand with a swift motion down
Nearly ruined the poor monarch’s nose.
And the king he shrieked Ah! Ah! Oh! Oh!
And the queen burst out laughing Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!
While the Lords and the Ladies stood stupidly by
And didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
THE JACKDAW OF RHEIMS.
BY THOMAS INGOLDSBY (REV. R.H. BARHAM).
The Jackdaw sat on the Cardinal’s
Bishop and abbot and prior were there;
Many a monk, and many a friar,
Many a knight, and many a squire,
With a great many more of lesser degree,—
In sooth a goodly company;
And they served the Lord Primate on bended knee.
Never, I ween, was a prouder seen,
Read of in books, or dreamt of in dreams,
Than the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Rheims!