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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

David Law Proudfit (1842–1897)

Prehistoric Smith

Quaternary Epoch—Post-Pliocene Period

A MAN sat on a rock and sought

Refreshment from his thumb;

A dinotherium wandered by

And scared him some.

His name was Smith. The kind of rock

He sat upon was shale.

One feature quite distinguished him—

He had a tail.

The danger past, he fell into

A reverie austere,

While with his tail he whisked a fly

From off his ear.

“Mankind deteriorates,” he said,

“Grows weak and incomplete;

And each new generation seems

Yet more effete.

“Nature abhors imperfect work,

And on it lays her ban;

And all creation must despise

A tailless man.

“But Fashion’s dictates rule supreme,

Ignoring common sense;

And Fashion says, to dock your tail

Is just immense.

“And children now come in the world

With half a tail or less;

Too stumpy to convey a thought,

And meaningless.

“It kills expression. How can one

Set forth, in words that drag,

The best emotions of the soul,

Without a wag?”

Sadly he mused upon the world,

Its follies and its woes;

Then wiped the moisture from his eyes

And blew his nose.

But clothed in earrings, Mrs. Smith

Came wandering down the dale;

And, smiling, Mr. Smith arose

And wagged his tail.