Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
Eugene Field. 1850–1895
 
231. The Duel
 
THE GINGHAM dog and the calico cat 
Side by side on the table sat; 
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!) 
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink! 
  The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate         5
  Appeared to know as sure as fate 
There was going to be a terrible spat. 
  (I was n't there; I simply state 
  What was told to me by the Chinese plate!) 
  
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"  10
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!" 
The air was littered, an hour or so, 
With bits of gingham and calico, 
  While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place 
  Up with its hands before its face,  15
For it always dreaded a family row! 
  (Never mind: I 'm only telling you 
  What the old Dutch clock declares is true!) 
  
The Chinese plate looked very blue, 
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"  20
But the gingham dog and the calico cat 
Wallowed this way and tumbled that, 
  Employing every tooth and claw 
  In the awfullest way you ever saw— 
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!  25
  (Don't fancy I exaggerate— 
  I got my news from the Chinese plate!) 
  
Next morning where the two had sat 
They found no trace of dog or cat; 
And some folks think unto this day  30
That burglars stole that pair away! 
  But the truth about the cat and pup 
  Is this: they ate each other up! 
Now what do you really think of that! 
  (The old Dutch clock it told me so,  35
  And that is how I came to know.) 
 
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