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POEM OF THE DAY

A NURSERY LEGEND

Oh! listen, little children, to a proper little song
Of a naughty little urchin who was always doing wrong:
He disobey'd his mammy, and he disobey'd his dad,
And he disobey'd his uncle, which was very near as bad.
He wouldn't learn to cipher, and he wouldn't learn to write,
But he would tear up his copy-books to fabricate a kite;
And he used his slate and pencil in so barbarous a way,
That the grinders of his governess got looser ev'ry day.

At last he grew so obstinate that no one could contrive
To cure him of a theory that two and two made five
And, when they taught him how to spell, he show'd his wicked whims
By mutilating Pinnock and mislaying Watts's Hymns.
Instead of all such pretty books, (which must improve the mind,)
He cultivated volumes of a most improper kind;
Directories and almanacks he studied on the sly,
And gloated over Bradshaw's Guide when nobody was by.

From such a course of reading you can easily divine
The condition of his morals at the age of eight or nine.
His tone of conversation kept becoming worse and worse,
Till it scandalised his governess and horrified his nurse.
He quoted bits of Bradshaw that were quite unfit to hear,
And recited from the Almanack, no matter who was near:
He talked of Reigate Junction and of trains both up and down,
And referr'd to men who call'd themselves Jones, Robinson, and Brown.

But when this naughty boy grew up he found the proverb true,
That Fate one day makes people pay for all the wrong they do.
He was cheated out of money by a man whose name was Brown,
And got crippled in a railway smash while coming up to town.
So, little boys and little girls, take warning while you can,
And profit by the history of this unhappy man.
Read Dr. Watts and Pinnock, dears; and when you learn to spell,
Shun Railway Guides, Directories, and Almanacks as well!

                                                                                            Henry S. Leigh.

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