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Poem by Eugene Field

The Limitations of Youth

I'd like to be a cowboy an' ride a fiery hoss
  Way out into the big an' boundless west;
I'd kill the bears an' catamounts an' wolves I come across,
  An' I'd pluck the bal' head eagle from his nest!
      With my pistols at my side,
      I would roam the prarers wide,
An' to scalp the savage Injun in his wigwam would I ride
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

I'd like to go to Afriky an' hunt the lions there,
  An' the biggest ollyfunts you ever saw!
I would track the fierce gorilla to his equatorial lair,
  An' beard the cannybull that eats folks raw!
      I'd chase the pizen snakes
      An' the 'pottimus that makes
His nest down at the bottom of unfathomable lakes
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

I would I were a pirut to sail the ocean blue,
  With a big black flag aflyin' overhead;
I would scour the billowy main with my gallant pirut crew
  An' dye the sea a gouty, gory red!
      With my cutlass in my hand
      On the quarterdeck I'd stand
And to deeds of heroism I'd incite my pirut band
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

And, if I darst, I'd lick my pa for the times that he's licked me!
  I'd lick my brother an' my teacher, too!
I'd lick the fellers that call round on sister after tea,
  An' I'd keep on lickin' folks till I got through!
      You bet! I'd run away
      From my lessons to my play,
An' I'd shoo the hens, an' tease the cat, an' kiss the girls all day
      If I darst; but I darsen't!

Eugene Field

Eugene Field's other poems:
  1. Abu Midjan
  2. Ballad of Women I Love
  3. Guess
  4. The Broken Ring
  5. The Wind

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