The Bath

A poem by R. C. Lehmann

Hang garlands on the bathroom door;
Let all the passages be spruce;
For, lo, the victim comes once more,
And, ah, he struggles like the deuce!

Bring soaps of many scented sorts;
Let girls in pinafores attend,
With John, their brother, in his shorts,
To wash their dusky little friend.

Their little friend, the dusky dog,
Short-legged and very obstinate,
Faced like a much-offended frog,
And fighting hard against his fate.

No Briton he! From palace-born
Chinese patricians he descends;
He keeps their high ancestral scorn;
His spirit breaks, but never bends.

Our water-ways he fain would'scape;
He hates the customary bath
That thins his tail and spoils his shape,
And turns him to a fur-clad lath;

And, seeing that the Pekinese
Have lustrous eyes that bulge like buds,
He fain would save such eyes as these,
Their owner's pride, from British suds.

Vain are his protests - in he goes.
His young barbarians crowd around;
They soap his paws, they soap his nose;
They soap wherever fur is found.

And soon, still laughing, they extract
His limpness from the darkling tide;
They make the towel's roughness act
On back and head and dripping side.

They shout and rub and rub and shout -
He deprecates their odious glee -
Until at last they turn him out,
A damp gigantic bumble-bee.

Released, he barks and rolls, and speeds
From lawn to lawn, from path to path,
And in one glorious minute needs
More soapsuds and another bath.

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