He had tramped the wilds of Africa and seen the wild giraffe
And had gazed on lions fierce with greatest brashness.
He had listened with tranquillity to the striped hyena's laugh
And faced tigers with a courage that was rashness.
He had scrapped with big prizefighters in the zenith of their fame
And had fought a dozen duels with the greatest of temerity.
He had entered burning buildings and saved women from the flame
And had swum Niagara's rapids with celerity.
He'd played quarter back at football and had come out safe and sound
And had waded through gunpowder with a candle that was lighted.
He had rescued prisoned miners in the caverns underground,
And in scenes of slaughter he was much delighted.
When no one knew just how the cloth that's bullet proof would work,
He had worn it while the maker experimented.
There was scarcely a known danger his courageous heart would shirk,
And the more the risk the more he was contented.
But one bargain day, while sauntering past a mammoth dry goods store,
When the weather was a-sweltering and a-simmering,
And his friends dared him to try to pass the women round the door,
He refused, for all his courage went a-glimmering.
—Charles J. Colton, in New York Sun.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008