The Poppet-Show

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Once I gave a "poppa-show":
And I had the greatest fun!
Every boy and girl I know
That is, nearly every one,
Came to see it: I just put
Some old toys into a box;
Paper things that I had cut,
On a stage made out of blocks;
And the children came in flocks
When I called out, "Yo, ho, oh!
Pin to see the 'poppa-show.'"

Boy who lives next door, he came;
Took a peep and said, "That clown
'S worth the money, just the same
As most any show in town."
Then he went away and brought
Lot of girls and boys to see;
Brought so many that they fought,
And were bad as they could be:
It was like a Christmas-tree:
While I stood there shouting, "Ho!
Pin to see the 'poppa-show.'"

Some just laughed; and one or two
Said it was n't worth a pin:
And another said, "He knew
When he had been taken in."
And a little girl, who paid
A gold pin right out her dress,
Cried and said she was afraid
She'd be spanked at home unless
She received it back. I guess
She was spanked. I said, "You know,
Pin to see the 'poppa-show.'"

One boy tried to hit me then,
But the boy who lives next door
He got madder than a hen,
Knocked him down, right on the floor,
And then pulled him out and I
Helped him pull him. Then a girl
Laughed and one began to cry,
For, a boy, he pulled her curl:
Then the whole room was a whirl
While I shouted, "Oh, yo, ho!
Pin to see the 'poppa-show.'"

Then a big boy grabbed my box,
Threw it in the midst of all;
All the paper-dolls and blocks
Clattered on the floor or wall,
Made a mighty rumpus: one
Hit me on the head a slap,
And I yelled. But it was fun;
Did n't care a cent or rap.
Suddenly there came a tap
At the door, and I cried, "Ho!
Pin to see the 'poppa-show.'"

Then my mother and my nurse
Entered; and she said, "What boys!
Girls too! Could n't be much worse.
Making such a lot of noise.
You should all be sent to bed,
Or be whipped. I never knew
Children that were so ill-bred,
Nor a wilder, rowdier crew.
Wonder what'll become of you!
Now just pack yourselves and go!
No more pins or 'poppa-show.'"

And they went, and mother, she,
When the last of them was gone,
Left me in the nursery,
Made me put my night-clothes on:
And she took my pins away,
And I cried just fit to kill
But she gave them back next day,
When I promised I'd be still,
And not play like Jack and Jill,
Tumbling round and to and fro
With a noisy "poppa-show."

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