I never understood, I own,
What anybody (with a soul)
Could mean by offering a Stone
This needless warning not to Roll;
And what inducement there can be
To gather Moss I fail to see.
I’d sooner gather anything,
Like primroses, or news perhaps,
Or even wool (when suffering
A momentary mental lapse);
But could forego my share of moss,
Nor ever realize the loss.
‘Tis a botanical disease,
And worthy of remark as such;
Lending a dignity to trees,
To ruins a romantic touch.
A timely adjunct, I’ve no doubt,
But not worth writing home about.
Of all the Stones I ever met,
In calm repose upon the ground,
I really never found one yet
With a desire to roll around;
Theirs is a stationary role, —
(A joke,– and feeble on the whole).
But, if I were a stone, I swear
I’d sooner move and view the World
Than sit and grow the greenest hair
That ever nature combed and curled.
I see no single saving grace
In being known as “Mossyface!”
Instead, I might prove useful for
A weapon in the hand of Crime,
A paperweight, a milestone, or
A missile at Election time;
In each capacity I could
Do quite incalculable good.
When well directed from the Pit,
I might promote a welcome death,
If fortunate enough to hit
Some budding Hamlet or Macbeth.
Who twice each day by the playhouse fills, —
(For further Notice See Small Bills).
At concerts, too, if you prefer,
I could prevent your growing deaf,
By silencing the amateur
Before she reached that upper F.;
Or else, in lieu of half-a-brick,
Restrain some local Kubelik.
Then, human stones, take my advice,
(As you should always do, indeed);
This proverb may be very nice,
But don’t you pay it any heed,
And, tho’ you make the critics cross,
Roll on, and never mind the moss.
Streamer, Col. D. [Harry Graham]. Perverted Proverbs. NY: R. H. Russell, 1903