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The Professor

From the Rock Island Argus, February 9, 1914. By Henry Howland.

He trained a goose to multiply and add up and subtract;
He taught a spotted pig to waltz—it was a funny act;
He coaxed a billy goat to jump through hoops which were aflame,
He taught a chipmunk how to choose the letters of its name.
But he could never learn to cease to use his toothpick where
And when such action gave offense—or else he did not care.

He trained a dog to walk a rope and taught a cat to pray,
He said himself this took hard work which lasted many a day;
He hitched an alligator up and made it pull a cart.
His perseverance was immense, his teaching was an art.
But he could never train himself, somehow, to save his life,
To quit endeavoring to scoop his food up with his knife.

He trained a mouse to dance a jig, he educated fleas;
He had a carriage which was drawn by harnessed bumble bees;
He taught a turkey gobbler how to balance on his head,
And trained a duck to flatten out pretending to be dead.
But he could never train himself—or else he never tried—
To speak good English and to put vulgarity aside.

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