The Bath





Hang garlands on the bathroom door;

Let all the passages be spruce;

For, lo, the victim comes once more,

And, ah, he struggles like the deuce!



Bring soaps of many scented sorts;

Let girls in pinafores attend,

With John, their brother, in his shorts,

To wash their dusky little friend,



Their little friend, the dusky dog,

Short-legged and very obstinate,

Faced like a much-offended frog,

And fighting hard against his fate.



No Briton he! From palace-born

Chinese patricians he descends;

He keeps their high ancestral scorn;

His spirit breaks, but never bends.



Our water-ways he fain would 'scape;

He hates the customary bath

That thins his tail and spoils his shape,

And turns him to a fur-clad lath;



And, seeing that the Pekinese

Have lustrous eyes that bulge like buds,

He fain would save such eyes as these,

Their owner's pride, from British suds.



Vain are his protests--in he goes.

His young barbarians crowd around;

They soap his paws, they soap his nose;

They soap wherever fur is found.



And soon, still laughing, they extract

His limpness from the darkling tide;

They make the towel's roughness act

On back and head and dripping side.



They shout and rub and rub and shout--

He deprecates their odious glee--

Until at last they turn him out,

A damp gigantic bumble-bee.



Released, he barks and rolls, and speeds

From lawn to lawn, from path to path,

And in one glorious minute needs

More soapsuds and another bath.





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