Little Ballads Of Timely Warning; II: On Malicious Cruelty To Harmless Creatures
Ellis Parker Butler
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The cruelty of P. L. Brown—
(He had ten toes as good as mine)
Was known to every one in town,
And, if he never harmed a noun,
He loved to make verbs shriek and whine.
The “To be” family’s just complaints—
(Brown had ten toes as good as mine)
Made Brown cast off the last restraints:
He smashed the “Is nots” into “Ain’ts”
And kicked both mood and tense supine.
Infinitives were Brown’s dislike—
(Brown, as I said, had ten good toes)
And he would pinch and shake and strike
Infinitives, or, with a pike,
Prod them and then laugh at their woes.
At length this Brown more cruel grew—
(Ten toes, all good ones, then had Brown)
And to his woodshed door he drew
A young infinitive and threw
The poor, meek creature roughly down,
And while the poor thing weakly flopped,
Brown (ten good toes he had, the brute!)
Got out his chopping block and dropped
The martyr on it and then propped
His victim firmly with his boot.
He raised his axe! He brandished it!
(Ye gods of grammar, interpose!)
He brought it down full force all fit
The poor infinitive to split—
* * * * *
(Brown after that had but six toes!
Infinitives, by this we see.
Should not he split too recklessly.