The Harmonious Heedlessness of Little Boy Blue

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The Harmonious Heedlessness of Little Boy Blue
by Guy Wetmore Carryl
This poem was published in Carryl’s 1900 anthology Mother Goose for Grownups, of poems that are parodies of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

Composing scales beside the rails
      That flanked a field of corn,
A farmer’s boy with vicious joy
      Performed upon a horn:
The vagrant airs, the fragrant airs
      Around that field that strayed,
Took flight before the flagrant airs
      That noisome urchin played.

He played with care “The Maiden’s Prayer;”
      He played “God Save the Queen,”
“Die Wacht am Rhein,” and “Auld Lang Syne,”
      And “Wearing of the Green:”
With futile toots, and brutal toots,
      And shrill chromatic scales,
And utterly inutile toots,
      And agonizing wails.

The while he played, around him strayed,
      And calmly chewed the cud,
Some thirty-nine assorted kine,
      All ankle-deep in mud:
They stamped about and tramped about
      That mud, till all the troupe
Made noises, as they ramped about,
      Like school-boys eating soup.

Till, growing bored, with one accord
      They broke the fence forlorn:
The field was doomed. The cows consumed
      Two-thirds of all the corn,
And viciously, maliciously,
      Went prancing o’er the loam.
That landscape expeditiously
      Resembled harvest-home.

“Most idle ass of all your class,”
      The farmer said with scorn:
“Just see my son, what you have done!
      The cows are in the corn!”
“Oh, drat,” he said, “the brat!” he said.
      The cowherd seemed to rouse.
“My friend, it’s worse than that,” he said.
      “The corn is in the cows.”

The moral lies before our eyes.
      When tending kine and corn,
Don’t spend your noons in tooting tunes
      Upon a blatant horn:
Or scaling, and assailing, and
      With energy immense,
Your cows will take a railing, and
      The farmer take offense.