Don’t tell Papa his nose is red
As any rosebud or geranum,
Forbear to eye his hairless head
Or criticise his cootlike cranium;
‘Tis years of sorrow and of care
Have made his head come through his hair.
Don’t give your endless guinea-pig
(Wherein that animal may build a
Sufficient nest) the Sunday wig
Of poor, dear, dull, deaf Aunt Matilda.
Oh, don’t tie strings across her path,
Or empty beetles in her bath!
Don’t ask your uncle why he’s fat;
Avoid upon his toe-joints treading;
Don’t hide a hedgehog in this hat,
Or bury bushes in his bedding,
He will not see the slightest sport
In pepper put into his port!
Don’t pull away the cherished chair
On which Mamma intended sitting,
Not yet prepare her session there
By setting on the seat her knitting;
Pause ere you hurt her spine, I pray —
That is a game that two can play.
Graham, Harry (as “Col. D. Streamer”). Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes. New York: R. H. Russell 1901