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The Ballad of the Emeu


Oh, say, have you seen at the Willows so green--
So charming and rurally true--
A singular bird, with a manner absurd,
Which they call the Australian Emeu?
Have you
Ever seen this Australian Emeu?

It trots all around with its head on the ground,
Or erects it quite out of your view;
And the ladies all cry, when its figure they spy,
"Oh! what a sweet pretty Emeu!
Oh! do
Just look at that lovely Emeu!"

One day to this spot, when the weather was hot,
Came Matilda Hortense Fortescue;
And beside her there came a youth of high name,--
Augustus Florell Montague:
The two
Both loved that wild, foreign Emeu.

With two loaves of bread then they fed it, instead
Of the flesh of the white Cockatoo,
Which once was its food in that wild neighborhood
Where ranges the sweet Kangaroo,
That too
Is game for the famous Emeu!

Old saws and gimlets but its appetite whets,
Like the world-famous bark of Peru;
There's nothing so hard that the bird will discard,
And nothing its taste will eschew
That you
Can give that long-legged Emeu!

The time slipped away in this innocent play,
When up jumped the bold Montague:
"Where's that specimen pin that I gayly did win
In raffle, and gave unto you,
Fortescue?"
No word spoke the guilty Emeu!

"Quick! tell me his name whom thou gavest that same,
Ere these hands in thy blood I imbrue!"
"Nay, dearest," she cried, as she clung to his side,
"I'm innocent as that Emeu!"
"Adieu!"
He replied, "Miss M. H. Fortescue!"

Down she dropped at his feet, all as white as a sheet,
As wildly he fled from her view;
He thought 'twas her sin,--for he knew not the pin
Had been gobbled up by the Emeu;
All through
The voracity of that Emeu!


Bret Harte

I: National

II: Spanish Idyls and Legends

III: In Dialect

IV: Miscellaneous

V: Parodies

VI: Songs Without Sense

VII: Little Posterity

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