A PHENOMENAL FAUNA
WITH PICTURES BY OLIVER HEREFORD
Copyright, 1901, 1902 By LIFE PUBLISHING COMPANY New York
By ROBERT HOWARD RUSSELL
To My Godfather WILLIAM F. CLARKE
THE REG'LAR LARK
The Reg'lar Lark's a very gay old Bird; At sunrise often may his voice be heard As jauntily he wends his homeward way, And trills a fresh and merry roundelay. And some old, wise philosopher has said: Rise with a lark, and with a lark to bed.
Although a learned Entomologist May doubt if Humbugs really do exist, Yet each of us, I'm sure, can truly say We've seen a number of them in our day. But are they real?—well, a mind judicial Perhaps would call them false and artificial.
The Poppycock's a fowl of English breed, And therefore many think him fine indeed. Credulous people's ears he would regale, And so he crows aloud and spreads his tale. But he is stuffed with vain and worthless words; Fine feathers do not always make fine birds.
The Haycock cannot crow; he has no brains, No,—not enough to go in when it rains. He is not gamy,—fighting's not his forte, A Haycock fight is just no sort of sport. Down in the meadow all day long he'll bide, (That is a little hay-hen by his side.)
THE POWDER MONKEY
A Theory, by scientists defended, Declares that we from monkeys are descended. This being thus, we therefore clearly see The Powder-Monkey heads some pedigree. Ah, yes,—from him descend by evolution, The Dames and Daughters of the Revolution.
THE TREE CALF
The sportive Tree Calf here we see, He builds his nest up in a tree; To this strange dwelling-place he cleaves Because he is so fond of leaves. 'Twas his ancestral cow, I trow, Jumped o'er the moon, so long ago. But he is not so great a rover, Though at the last he runs to cover.
THE MILITARY FROG
The Military Frog, as well you know, Is the famed one who would a-wooing go. And on the soldier's manly breast displayed, He wins the heart of every blushing maid. But, as a frog, I think he's incomplete, He has no good hind legs that we may eat.
THE FEATHER BOA
This animal of which I speak Is a most curious sort of freak. Though Serpent would its form describe, Yet it is of the feathered tribe. And 'tis the snake, I do believe, That tempted poor old Mother Eve, For never woman did exist Who could its subtle charm resist.
THE BRICK BAT
Oft through the stillness of the summer night We see the Brick Bat take his rapid flight. And, with unerring aim, descending straight, He meets a cat on the back garden gate. The little Brick Bat could not fly alone,— Oh, no; there is a power behind the thrown.
THE CAT O' NINE TAILS
The Cat O' Nine Tails is not very nice,— No good at all at catching rats and mice; She eats no fish, though living on the sea, And no one's friend or pet she seems to be. Yet oft she makes it lively for poor Jack,— Curls round his legs, and jumps upon his back.
THE ROUND ROBIN
Here's the Round Robin, round as any ball; You scarce can see his head or tail at all. He's not a carrier-pigeon, though he brings Important messages beneath his wings. And 'tis this freak of ornithology They mean who say, "A little bird told me."
THE IRON SPIDER
The Iron Spider is an insect strange, He loves to stand upon a red-hot range. Unlike his race, he's not an octoped, He has but three legs and he has no head. Had this but been the kind Miss Muffet saw 'Twould not have filled the maiden with such awe.
The Bookworm's an uninteresting grub, Whether he's all alone or in a club. Of stupid books which seem to us a bore, The Bookworm will devour the very core. Did Solomon or somebody affirm The early reed-bird catches the bookworm?
THE BLACK SHEEP
The Black Sheep is a beast all men should shun— He has no fleece yet fleeces every one; Though without horns, oft with a horn he's seen; Though not a lamb, he gambles on the green. Perhaps he's not a sheep, as some suggest, But a grim wolf who's in sheep's clothing dressed.
Time Flies are well-known insects; sages claim That Tempus Fugit is their rightful name. When we're on idleness or pleasure bent, They sting our conscience and our fun prevent. We hear them winter mornings ere we rise, And oft in fly-time we observe Time Flies.
THE APPLE BEE
In country villages is found The Apple Bee with buzzing sound. And when our ears it does regale We find a sting is in its tale. As to its food,—the Apple Bee Is fond of doughnuts, cheese and tea.
THE WELSH RABBIT
See the Welsh Rabbit—he is bred on cheese; (Or cheese on bread, whichever way you please.) Although he's tough, he looks so mild, who'd think That a strong man from this small beast would shrink? But close behind him follows the nightmare, Beware of them, they are a frightful pair.
THE CRICKET BAT
The Cricket Bat is very often seen Flying perchance around the village green; But unlike many other bats, its flight Is always made by day and not by night. There may be one exception though,—and that Is when it's aimed at some stray neighboring Cat.
THE COMMON SWALLOW
The Common Swallow is so swift of flight, We scarcely see him ere he's out of sight. One does not make a summer, it is true, But many of them cause a fall or two. The Swallow's strong when he is in his prime, And yet a man can down him every time.
The Tomahawk's a fearsome bird, we deem; Though feathered tribes hold him in great esteem; A bird of prey, he whizzes through the air, And clutches his pale victim by the hair. Gory and grewsome,—he is the mainstay Of the historic novel of to-day.
This is a Jail-bird. Isn't it a shame To keep him in a cage and try to tame His wild desires for freedom? See him droop Behind his bars. He wants to fly the coop. But to beguile his tedious, lonely hours Kind ladies bring him nosegays of bright flowers.
THE ROYAL SEAL
This noble beast's impressive form is seen 'Mong the possessions of a king or queen. Hard-favored, yet so valuable is he, He's ever kept beneath a lock and key. And, since his temper can't find vent in speech, He stamps and punches everything in reach.
THE FIRE DOGS
Here are two Fire Dogs—they are queer, indeed; They seem to come of a three-legged breed. They have no tails, their bark is on their back; They hunt in couples, never in a pack. The day's work over, 'tis a pleasant sight To find them waiting by the fire at night.
THE MACKEREL KIT
This funny little Mackerel Kit Is not like other cats a bit; She cannot mew or scratch or purr, She has no whiskers and no fur. Yet, like all cats, her dearest wish Is just to be filled up with fish; But (and this isn't so feline) She always takes them steeped in brine.
This is the merry Golf Lynx, as you see; An amiable beast, and fond of tee. Indigenous to all the country round, His snaky length lies prone along the ground. It is the fashion o'er this beast to rave, But have a care, lest you become his slave.
THE TRAVELING CRANE
The Traveling Crane's a bird, of course, Yet he possesses wondrous force. A bird of burden he must be, He lifts and pulls so mightily. And sometimes he will grasp his prey, And with it rise and soar away. His plumage is not fine, but then, He's of the greatest use to men.
THE FLYING BUTTRESS
The Flying Buttress, every day and night, Continues in his long, unwearied flight. He's not a song-bird, but he's said to be Famed for his beauty and his Symmetry. He frequents an old abbey or a manse; The ostrich eats him if he gets a chance.
THE SEA PUSS
In ocean waters the Sea Puss is found, Cat-like, forever chasing round and round. She has no claws, but crouching sly and low She stealthily puts out her undertow. And when an old seadog comes in her way I'll warrant you there is the deuce to pay!
THE BATTERING RAM
This is the Battering Ram, a fearful beast, I think he weighs a thousand tons at least. Stronger than any other kind of butter, He goes his way calmly, without a flutter. Big as an elephant, bigger than a horse, He seems the best example of brute force.
THE SPRING CHICKEN
Here's the Spring Chicken. I have heard They manufacture this queer bird From bits of leather and of strings All joined and worked by tiny springs. Whenever this fine fowl is broiled, Each of his springs should be well oiled, Or he may spring across the room And plunge his carver into gloom.
The Shuttlecock's a handsome fowl to see, His feathers grow straight upward like a tree. He cannot crow, but oftentimes his flight Will reach up to a most astounding height. He is a gamecock, and, in fighting trim, There are not many birds that equal him.
The Saw-Buck is a fearsome beast. The tramp objects to it, at least. When to the housewife he applies For coffee or for apple-pies, Right speedily he'll turn and leave her When he is seized with Saw-Buck Fever.
THE PIGEON TOAD
The Pigeon Toad's a funny little beast, He's found in every land from West to East. The children bring him in, to our amaze, And though we try to turn him out, he stays. He's never seen with soldiers, nor with fops, But with the schoolboys how he jumps and hops.
THE GOLDEN BUCK
Perhaps because it's easily approached, The Golden Buck's a game that's often poached. 'Tis sometimes mild, again 'tis strong and hearty, It may be found at many a gay stag-party. No branching antlers this strange beast adorn, But with the Golden Buck we take a horn.
THE BUMBLE PUPPY
This is the Bumblepuppy. He's quite tame, Although he's said to be a sort of game. You scorn him, yet you must—ah, there's the rub— Accept him at your table or your club. He has his points, yet he's a pest, indeed; I would we could exterminate the breed.
THE WATCH DOG
This useful animal we keep To guard our treasure while we sleep. A pointer, not a setter, yet He's of no use unless he's set. Gaze on his open, honest face,— There's no deception in his case. He is attached to us, 'tis plain, Though often by a slender chain.
THE GOLD EAGLE
Here's the Gold Eagle. Very rare. They say This bird is worth ten dollars any day. He has no wings, apparently, yet I Or you, or anyone can make him fly. He's very powerful—held in great esteem; And money talks, so let the eagle scream.
Of all the fearsome beasts beneath the sun The Bugbear is the most appalling one. At night he comes and hovers o'er our bed, Filling us with a nameless fear and dread. He is not half so terrible by day— Sometimes he shrinks and dwindles quite away.
THE IRISH BULL
Among the stock jokes it is oft averred The Irish Bull is best of all the heard. He has no points, he has no head or tail, But many a jovial party he'll regale. And all his hearers will with laughter choke, Except his brother John, who sees no joke.
'Tis very strange, and yet, upon my word, This silly fellow thinks he is a bird! He lives on hayseed,—everywhere he's found, But in the country he does most abound. And at the approach of winter, (more's the pity), A flock of jays will migrate to the city.
Misled by certain signs of form and shape, Some think we are descended from the ape. But recent science now the truth declares The human race descended from Forebears. And since we're so inclined to war, I'll wager One of our Forebears was the Ursa Major.
THE HIGH HORSE
The High Horse often takes a foremost place Among the winners of the human race. They say one needs both brawn and brain to ride him, And even then 'tis very hard to guide him. His jockeys gaily prance and boldly scoff, But soon or late they're sure to tumble off.
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Children of Our Town Abeniki Caldwell The Merry-Go-Round A Phenomenal Fauna