The Ass and the Lapdog

A Woolly little terrier pup
Gave vent to yelps distressing,
Whereat his mistress took him up,
And soothed him with caressing:—
And yet he was not in the least
What one would call a handsome beast.

He might have been a Javanese,
He might have been a Jap dog,
And also neither one of these,
But just a common lapdog:—
(The kind that people send, you know,
Done up in cotton, to the Show).

At all events, whate’er his race,
The pretty girl who owned him
Caressed his unattractive face
And petted and cologned him,
While, watching her with pensive eye,
A patient ass stood silent by.
“If thus,” he mused, “the feminine
And fascinating gender
Is led to love, I too can win
Her protestations tender.”
No sooner said than done! And he
Sat down upon the lady’s knee.

Then, while her head with terror swam,
“This method seems to suit you,”
Observed the ass. “so here I am.”
Said she, “Get up, you brute, you!”
And promptly screamed aloud for aid:—
No ass was ever more dismayed.

They tied him up within the yard,
And there with whip and truncheon
They beat him, and they beat him hard,
From breakfast-time till luncheon.
He only gave a tearful gulp,
Though almost pounded to a pulp.

THE MORAL is (or seems, at least,
To be): In etiquette you
Will find that, while enough’s a feast,
A surplus will upset you:—
Toujours, toujours la politesse, if
If the quantity is not excessive!

Guy Wetmore Carryl, illust. Peter Newell, in Harper’s New Magazine, vol. 97, July 1898, pp. 320-1.

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