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The Peacock

From The Times Dispatch, March 16, 1914. By Thomas Lomax Hunter.

The peacock makes the grandest show
And shine of all the birds I know.
The sunlight glints upon his breast
In iridescent loveliness.
His great tail coverts, purple-eyed,
Are just the livery of pride.
He is the dandy and the dude
Of the entire barnyard brood.
He hasn’t got a single duty
Except to be a thing of beauty,
And this, because of gorgeous dress,
He does with wonderful success.
But it is better to be plain
Than idle, insolent and vain,
And if to this bright bird we turn
A useful lesson we may learn.
The overdressed too oft possess
But very little more than dress,
And only sit around and brood
On their supernal pulchritude,
And are in all the winds and weathers
Forever preening up their feathers.
’Tis not to them that we would go
For wit or wisdom—oh, dear no!
Nor yet for help to right our wrong,
Nor yet for poetry or song.
Their minds have mastered one device:
The art of always looking nice,
Curled, scented, tinted, creased and pressed,
And dressed—yes, super-ultra dressed.
It is not to these “joys forever”
That we must look for high endeavor.
They have no idea worth our while;
Just dumb idolatry of style.
And this reminds us it is time
To point the moral of this rhyme:
You’d think the peacock should be king
Of birds until you hear him sing.

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