Archive for June 7th, 2014

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Birds, Beasts, and Fishes by Adelaide O’Keefe

The Dog will come when he is call’d,
The Cat will walk away;
The Monkey’s cheek is very bald;
The Goat is fond of play.
The Parrot is a prate-apace,
Yet knows not what he says:
The noble Horse will win the race,
Or draw you in a chaise.

The Pig is not a feeder nice,
The Squirrel loves a nut,
The Wolf would eat you in a trice.
The Buzzard’s eyes are shut.
The Lark sings high up in the air.
The Linnet in the tree;
The Swan he has a bosom fair,
And who so proud as he?

Oh, yes, the Peacock is more proud,
Because his tail has eyes.
The Lion roars so very loud,
He’d fill you with surprise.
The Raven’s coat is shining black.
Or, rather, raven grey:
The Camel’s bunch is on his back,
The Owl abhors the day.

The Sparrow steals the cherry ripe.
The Elephant is wise.
The Blackbird charms you with his pipe,
The false Hyena cries.
The Hen guards well her little chicks,
The Cow — her hoof is slit:
The Beaver builds with mud and sticks.
The Lapwing cries “peewit.”

The little Wren is very small.
The Humming-bird is less;
The Lady-bird is least of all,
And beautiful in dress.
The Pelican she loves her young,
The Stork its parent loves;
The Woodcock’s bill is very long,
And innocent are Doves.

The streak’d Tiger ‘s fond of blood.
The Pigeon feeds on peas,
The Duck will gobble in the mud.
The Mice will eat your cheese.
A Lobster’s black, when boiled he’s red.
The harmless Lamb must bleed —
The Cod-fish has a clumsy head.
The Goose on grass will feed.

The lady in her gown of silk.
The little Worm may thank;
The sick man drinks the Ass’s milk.
The Weasel ‘s long and lank.
The Buck gives us a venison dish,
When hunted for the spoil:
The Shark eats up the little fish,
The Whale produces oil.

The Glow-worm shines the darkest night,
With lantern in its tail:
The Turtle is the cit’s delight.
And wears a coat of mail.
In Germany they hunt the Boar,
The Bee brings honey home.
The Ant lays up a winter store,
The Bear loves honey-comb.

The Eagle has a crooked beak,
The Plaice has orange spots;
The Starling, if he’s taught, will speak;
The Ostrich walks and trots.
The child that does not these things know.
Might well be call’d a dunce;
But I in knowledge quick will grow,
For youth can come but once.

From: Taylor, Jane and Ann, O’Keefe, Adelaide and Cooper, James Davis, Original Poems for Infant Minds by Several Young Persons, 1868, George Routledge & Sons: New York and London,p. 170.

Date: 1804-1805

By: Adelaide O’Keefe (1776-1865)