David Law Proudfit

Prehistoric Smith, Quaternary Epoch, Post-Pliocene Period

David Law Proudfit was an American poet and lithographer, who also wrote under the pseudonym Peleg Arkwright. Son of a clergyman, Proudfit was educated at the common schools until the onset of the Civil War. Enlisting as a private in the 1st Regiment New York Mounted Rifles aged nineteen, he spent …

A man sat on a rock and sought
Refreshment from his thumb;
A dinotherium wandered by
And scared him some.
His name was Smith. The kind of rock
He sat upon was shale.
One feature quite distinguished him,
He had a tail.
The danger past, he fell into
A revery austere;
While with his tail he whisked a fly
From off his ear.
"Mankind deteriorates," he said,
"Grows weak and incomplete;
And each new generation seems
Yet more effete.
"Nature abhors imperfect work,
And on it lays her ban;
And all creation must despise
A tailless man.
"But fashion's dictates rule supreme,
Ignoring common sense;
And fashion says, to dock your tail
Is just immense.
"And children now come in the world
With half a tail or less;
Too stumpy to convey a thought,
And meaningless.
"It kills expression. How can one
Set forth, in words that drag,
The best emotions of the soul,
Without a wag?"
Sadly he mused upon the world,
Its follies and its woes;
Then wiped the moisture from his eyes,
And blew his nose.
But clothed in earrings, Mrs. Smith
Came wandering down the dale;
And, smiling, Mr. Smith arose,
And wagged his tail.

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