The Ballad Of The Taylor Pup

A poem by Eugene Field

Now lithe and listen, gentles all,
Now lithe ye all and hark
Unto a ballad I shall sing
About Buena Park.

Of all the wonders happening there
The strangest hap befell
Upon a famous Aprile morn,
As I you now shall tell.

It is about the Taylor pup
And of his mistress eke
And of the prankish time they had
That I am fain to speak.


The pup was of as noble mien
As e'er you gazed upon;
They called his mother Lady
And his father was a Don.

And both his mother and his sire
Were of the race Bernard--
The family famed in histories
And hymned of every bard.

His form was of exuberant mold,
Long, slim, and loose of joints;
There never yet was pointer-dog
So full as he of points.

His hair was like to yellow fleece,
His eyes were black and kind,
And like a nodding, gilded plume
His tail stuck up behind.

His bark was very, very fierce,
And fierce his appetite,
Yet was it only things to eat
That he was prone to bite.

But in that one particular
He was so passing true
That never did he quit a meal
Until he had got through.

Potatoes, biscuits, mush or hash,
Joint, chop, or chicken limb--
So long as it was edible,
'T was all the same to him!

And frequently when Hunger's pangs
Assailed that callow pup,
He masticated boots and gloves
Or chewed a door-mat up.

So was he much beholden of
The folk that him did keep;
They loved him when he was awake
And better still asleep.


Now once his master, lingering o'er
His breakfast coffee-cup,
Observed unto his doting spouse:
"You ought to wash the pup!"

"That shall I do this very day",
His doting spouse replied;
"You will not know the pretty thing
When he is washed and dried.

"But tell me, dear, before you go
Unto your daily work,
Shall I use Ivory soap on him,
Or Colgate, Pears' or Kirk?"

"Odzooks, it matters not a whit--
They all are good to use!
Take Pearline, if it pleases you--
Sapolio, if you choose!

"Take any soap, but take the pup
And also water take,
And mix the three discreetly up
Till they a lather make.

"Then mixing these constituent parts,
Let Nature take her way,"
With which advice that sapient sir
Had nothing more to say.

Then fared he to his daily toil
All in the Board of Trade,
While Mistress Taylor for that bath
Due preparation made.


She whistled gayly to the pup
And called him by his name,
And presently the guileless thing
All unsuspecting came.

But when she shut the bath-room door,
And caught him as catch-can,
And hove him in that odious tub,
His sorrows then began.

How did that callow, yallow thing
Regret that Aprile morn--
Alas! how bitterly he rued
The day that he was born!

Twice and again, but all in vain
He lifted up his wail;
His voice was all the pup could lift,
For thereby hangs this tale.

'Twas by that tail she held him down,
And presently she spread
The creamy lather on his back,
His stomach, and his head.

His ears hung down in sorry wise,
His eyes were, oh! so sad--
He looked as though he just had lost
The only friend he had.

And higher yet the water rose,
The lather still increased,
And sadder still the countenance
Of that poor martyred beast!

Yet all the time his mistress spoke
Such artful words of cheer
As "Oh, how nice!" and "Oh, how clean!"
And "There's a patient dear!"

At last the trial had an end,
At last the pup was free;
She threw aside the bath-room door--
"Now get you gone!" quoth she.


Then from that tub and from that room
He gat with vast ado;
At every hop he gave a shake,
And--how the water flew!

He paddled down the winding stairs
And to the parlor hied,
Dispensing pools of foamy suds
And slop on every side.

Upon the carpet then he rolled
And brushed against the wall,
And, horror! whisked his lathery sides
On overcoat and shawl.

Attracted by the dreadful din,
His mistress came below--
Who, who can speak her wonderment--
Who, who can paint her woe!

Great smears of soap were here and there--
Her startled vision met
With blobs of lather everywhere,
And everything was wet!

Then Mrs. Taylor gave a shriek
Like one about to die:
"Get out--get out, and don't you dare
Come in till you are dry!"

With that she opened wide the door
And waved the critter through;
Out in the circumambient air
With grateful yelps he flew.


He whisked into the dusty street
And to the Waller lot,
Where bonnie Annie Evans played
With charming Sissy Knott.

And with those pretty little dears
He mixed himself all up--
Oh, fie upon such boisterous play--
Fie, fie, you naughty pup!

Woe, woe on Annie's India mull,
And Sissy's blue percale!
One got that pup's belathered flanks,
And one his soapy tail!

Forth to the rescue of those maids
Rushed gallant Willie Clow;
His panties they were white and clean--
Where are those panties now?

Where is the nicely laundered shirt
That Kendall Evans wore,
And Robbie James' tricot coat
All buttoned up before?

The leaven, which, as we are told,
Leavens a monstrous lump,
Hath far less reaching qualities
Than a wet pup on the jump.

This way and that he swung and swayed,
He gambolled far and near,
And everywhere he thrust himself
He left a soapy smear.


That noon a dozen little dears
Were spanked and put to bed
With naught to stay their appetites
But cheerless crusts of bread.

That noon a dozen hired girls
Washed out each gown and shirt
Which that exuberant Taylor pup
Had frescoed o'er with dirt.

That whole day long the Aprile sun
Smiled sweetly from above
On clotheslines flaunting to the breeze
The emblems mothers love.

That whole day long the Taylor pup
This way and that did hie
Upon his mad, erratic course,
Intent on getting dry.

That night when Mr. Taylor came
His vesper meal to eat,
He uttered things my pious pen
Would liefer not repeat.

Yet still that noble Taylor pup
Survives to romp and bark
And stumble over folks and things
In fair Buena Park.

Good sooth, I wot he should be called
Buena's favorite son
Who's sired of such a noble sire
And dammed by every one!

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