St. Nicholas/Volume 32/Number 2/A Riddle

4076137St. Nicholas, Volume 32, Number 2 — A RiddleMary Mapes Dodge

A Riddle

(For answer see page 190.)

Five vowels, three T’s, two S’s, N, B,
Only these letters, as plainly you ’ll see;
Yet out of the same you can fashion one word
That for magic or power is—well, simply absurd!
The way that it governs and changes affairs,
Folks, and their projects—perhaps unawares;
Decides who shall stay and as well, who shall go;
Secure in its fiat, its bold “thus and so,”
Such havoc with wills, or with heirs, I may say—
Such sudden o’erturnings to some other way!
Well, to work it all out is to lead you a dance,
Till you turn yourself into another, perchance!
It only is stable when harnessed, I ’m told,
By a big dictionary, both careful and bold;
Yet none of them differ—these books born of Babel;
Though always ’t is changing, none lo change it are able;
’T is a very hard task, and admits of no shirking.
Beware, lest it change itself while you are working!
M. M. D.