Child's Natural History

by Oliver Herford

Oliver Herford


Ev-er-y child who has the use
Of his sen-ses knows a goose.
Sees them un-der-neath the tree
Gath-er round the goose-girl's knee,
While she reads them by the hour
From the works of Scho-pen-hau-er.
How pa-tient-ly the geese at-tend!
But do they re-al-ly com-pre-hend
What Scho-pen-hau-er's driving at?
Oh, not at all; but what of that?
Nei-ther do I; nei-ther does she;
And, for that matter, nor does he.

A Seal

See, children, the Furbearing Seal;
Ob-serve his mis-di-rect-ed zeal;
He dines with most ab-ste-mi-ous care
On Fish, Ice Water and Fresh Air
A-void-ing cond-i-ments or spice
For fear his fur should not be nice
And fine and soft and smooth and meet
For Broad-way or for Re-gent Street,
And yet some-how I often feel
(Though for the kind Fur-bear-ing Seal
I harbor a Re-spect Pro-found)
He runs Fur-bear-ance in the ground.

The Ant

My child, ob-serve the use-ful Ant,
How hard she works each day.
She works as hard as ad-a-mant
(That's very hard, they say).
She has no time to gall-i-vant;
She has no time to play.
Let Fido chase his tail all day;
Let Kitty play at tag;
She has no time to throw away,
She has no tail to wag;
She scurries round from morn till night;
She nev-er nev-er sleeps;
She seiz-es ev-ery-thing in sight,
She drags it home with all her might,
And all she takes she keeps.

The Yak

This is the Yak, so negligee;
His coif-fure's like a stack of hay;
He lives so far from Any-where,
I fear the Yak neglects his hair.
And thinks, since there is none to see,
What mat-ter how un-kempt he be:
How would he feel if he but knew
That in this Picture-book I drew
His Phys-i-og-no-my un-shorn,
For children to de-ride and scorn?

Last updated March 30, 2023