Away with you, baby, away to the garden,
And leave ugly Latin to Algernon, do:
He must learn the lesson, although it’s a hard one,
But, darling, there’s plenty of time before you.
Oh, if you but knew, dear, you’d run like the kitten,
And scamper away from a future that waits:—
If you knew the dry nonsense the big folks have written
On purpose to pester the little folks’ pates.
We want all poor Algernon’s deepest attention,
You see his sad case by the way that he frowns;
He’s fighting a thing that they call a declension—
A sort of a regiment of soldiers called nouns.
He’ll beat them, you know, for he’s brave and he’s willing;
And going to work at them, hammer and tongs,
And mamma knows who’ll give him a splendid new shilling
As soon as he’s perfect to—here, see,—“By Songs.”
So don’t interrupt him, my darling, with chatter,
He stops in his lesson to look up and laugh:
His fragile conception of datives you scatter,
And cut his poor ablative plural in half.
What, blue eyes wide open at hearing such tidings,
At being accused in such very long words,
And looking as wistful as if they were chidings?
No, darling, run off to the flowers and the birds.
Eh? you want a lesson? Well! count all those roses,
For each you leave out you must pay me a kiss:
And Al shall be free, too, the moment he knows his
Musæ, musarum, mu—what, Al?—musis.
So off with you, baby, and O! be contented
That you’ve got no lesson to cloud that white brow,
Some day you’ll wish Latin had not been invented:
Perhaps, in her heart, mamma wishes so now.
E. M. B.