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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

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THE DUEL

[18] "The Duel," by Eugene Field (1850-95), is almost the most popular humorous poem that has come under my notice. In making such a collection as this it is not easy to find poems at once delicate, witty, and graphic. I have taught "The Duel" hundreds of times, and children invariably love it.

The gingham dog and the calico cat

Side by side on the table sat;

'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)

Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!

The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate

Appeared to know as sure as fate

There was going to be a terrible spat.

(I wasn't there; I simply state

What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)


The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"

And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"

The air was littered, an hour or so,

With bits of gingham and calico,

While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place

Up with its hands before its face,

For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind: I'm only telling you

What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)


The Chinese plate looked very blue,

And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"

But the gingham dog and the calico cat

Wallowed this way and tumbled that,

Employing every tooth and claw

In the awfullest way you ever saw—

[19]

And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!

(Don't fancy I exaggerate!

I got my views from the Chinese plate!)


Next morning where the two had sat

They found no trace of the dog or cat;

And some folks think unto this day

That burglars stole the pair away!

But the truth about the cat and the pup

Is this: They ate each other up!

Now what do you really think of that!

(The old Dutch clock it told me so,

And that is how I came to know.)


EUGENE FIELD.


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