James Whitcomb Riley
Billy's Alphabetical Animal Show - Poem by James Whitcomb Riley
A was an elegant Ape
Who tied up his ears with red tape,
And wore a long veil
Half revealing his tail
Which was trimmed with jet bugles and crape.
B was a boastful old Bear
Who used to say,--'Hoomh! I declare
I can eat--if you'll get me
The children, and let me--
Ten babies, teeth, toenails and hair!'
C was a Codfish who sighed
When snatched from the home of his pride,
But could he, embrined,
Guess this fragrance behind,
How glad he would be that he died!
D was a dandified Dog
Who said,--'Though it's raining like fog
I wear no umbrellah,
Me boy, for a fellah
Might just as well travel incog!'
E was an elderly Eel
Who would say,--'Well, I really feel--
As my grandchildren wriggle
And shout 'I should giggle'--
A trifle run down at the heel!'
F was a Fowl who conceded
_Some_ hens might hatch more eggs than _she_ did,--
But she'd children as plenty
As eighteen or twenty,
And that was quite all that she needed.
G was a gluttonous Goat
Who, dining one day, _table-d'hote,_
Ordered soup-bone, _au fait_,
And fish, _papier-mache_,
And a _filet_ of Spring overcoat.
H was a high-cultured Hound
Who could clear forty feet at a bound,
And a coon once averred
That his howl could be heard
For five miles and three-quarters around.
I was an Ibex ambitious
To dive over chasms auspicious;
He would leap down a peak
And not light for a week,
And swear that the jump was delicious.
J was a Jackass who said
He had such a bad cold in his head,
If it wasn't for leaving
The rest of us grieving,
He'd really rather be dead.
K was a profligate Kite
Who would haunt the saloons every night;
And often he ust
To reel back to his roost
Too full to set up on it right.
L was a wary old Lynx
Who would say,--'Do you know wot I thinks?--
I thinks ef you happen
To ketch me a-nappin'
I'm ready to set up the drinks!'
M was a merry old Mole,
Who would snooze all the day in his hole,
Then--all night, a-rootin'
Around and galootin'--
He'd sing 'Johnny, Fill up the Bowl!'
N was a caustical Nautilus
Who sneered, 'I suppose, when they've _caught_ all us,
Like oysters they'll serve us,
And can us, preserve us,
And barrel, and pickle, and bottle us!'
O was an autocrat Owl--
Such a wise--such a wonderful fowl!
Why, for all the night through
He would hoot and hoo-hoo,
And hoot and hoo-hooter and howl!
P was a Pelican pet,
Who gobbled up all he could get;
He could eat on until
He was full to the bill,
And there he had lodgings to let!
Q was a querulous Quail,
Who said: 'It will little avail
The efforts of those
Of my foes who propose
To attempt to put salt on my tail!'
R was a ring-tailed Raccoon,
With eyes of the tinge of the moon,
And his nose a blue-black,
And the fur on his back
A sad sort of sallow maroon.
S is a Sculpin--you'll wish
Very much to have one on your dish,
Since all his bones grow
On the outside, and so
He's a very desirable fish.
T was a Turtle, of wealth,
Who went round with particular stealth,--
'Why,' said he, 'I'm afraid
Of being waylaid
When I even walk out for my health!'
U was a Unicorn curious,
With one horn, of a growth so _luxurious_,
He could level and stab it--
If you didn't grab it--
Clean through you, he was so blamed furious!
V was a vagabond Vulture
Who said: 'I don't want to insult yer,
But when you intrude
Where in lone solitude
I'm a-preyin', you're no man o' culture!'
W was a wild _Wood_chuck,
And you can just bet that he _could_ 'chuck'
He'd eat raw potatoes,
Green corn, and tomatoes,
And tree roots, and call it all '_good_ chuck!'
X was a kind of X-cuse
Of a some-sort-o'-thing that got loose
Before we could name it,
And cage it, and tame it,
And bring it in general use.
Y is the Yellowbird,--bright
As a petrified lump of star-light,
Or a handful of lightning-
Bugs, squeezed in the tight'ning
Pink fist of a boy, at night.
Z is the Zebra, of course!--
A kind of a clown-of-a-horse,--
Each other despising,
Yet neither devising
A way to obtain a divorce!
& here is the famous--what-is-it?
Walk up, Master Billy, and quiz it:
You've seen the _rest_ of 'em--
Ain't this the _best_ of 'em,
Right at the end of your visit?
Comments about Billy's Alphabetical Animal Show by James Whitcomb Riley
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.