Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
Prehistoric Smith
By David Law Proudfit (1842–1897)
 
Quaternary Epoch—Post-Pliocene Period

A MAN sat on a rock and sought
  Refreshment from his thumb;
A dinotherium wandered by
  And scared him some.
 
His name was Smith. The kind of rock        5
  He sat upon was shale.
One feature quite distinguished him—
  He had a tail.
 
The danger past, he fell into
  A reverie austere,        10
While with his tail he whisked a fly
  From off his ear.
 
“Mankind deteriorates,” he said,
  “Grows weak and incomplete;
And each new generation seems        15
  Yet more effete.
 
“Nature abhors imperfect work,
  And on it lays her ban;
And all creation must despise
  A tailless man.        20
 
“But Fashion’s dictates rule supreme,
  Ignoring common sense;
And Fashion says, to dock your tail
  Is just immense.
 
“And children now come in the world        25
  With half a tail or less;
Too stumpy to convey a thought,
  And meaningless.
 
“It kills expression. How can one
  Set forth, in words that drag,        30
The best emotions of the soul,
  Without a wag?”
 
Sadly he mused upon the world,
  Its follies and its woes;
Then wiped the moisture from his eyes        35
  And blew his nose.
 
But clothed in earrings, Mrs. Smith
  Came wandering down the dale;
And, smiling, Mr. Smith arose
  And wagged his tail.        40
 
 
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