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SONG OF THE ICHTHYOSAURUS.
[This curious specimen of German scientific humor refers to the close of the Jurassic (or Liassic) period and the beginning of the Cretaceous, and describes the sad forebodings of a venerable Saurian, who sees in the degeneracy of the times a sign of the coming cataclysm.
The translator says. "Among the many extraordinary liberties which we have felt obliged to take with the letter of the original, in order to preserve as far as possible its spirit and its flowing move. ment, the most violent is the substitution in the last stanza but one, of an entirely new (and poor) joke for the very neat, but untranslatable jeu of the German. The last two lines of the stanza are: Sie kamen zu tief in die Kreide; Da war es natürlich vorbei.'
The literal meaning is, They got too deep in the chalk, and it
was, of course, all up with them." The allusion is to the score chalked up by a landlord against some bibulous but impecunious
customer; and the notion that the Saurians ran up so large an ac
count for drinks that the chalk required to mark their indebtedness
smothered the whole race, and brought on the Cretaceous or chalk period, is so absurdly funny that it is a pity to sacrifice it."]
THERE's a rustling in the rushes,
There's a flashing in the sea, There's a tearful Ichthyosaurus Swims hither mournfully!
["A human skull has been found in California, in the pliocene for. mation. This skull is the remnant, not only of the earliest pioneer of this State, but the oldest known human being. . . . . The skull was found in a shaft one hundred and fifty feet deep, two miles from Angel's, in Calaveras County, by a miner named James Matson, who gave it to Mr. Scribner, a merchant, and he gave it to Dr. Jones, who sent it to the State Geological Survey. . . . . The published volume of the State Survey on the Geology of California states that man existed contemporaneously with the mastodon, but this fossil proves that he was here before the mastodon was known to exist." Daily Paper.]
"SPEAK, Oman, less recent! Fragmentary fossil! Primal pioneer of pliocene formation,
Hid in lowest drifts below the earliest stratum Of Volcanic tufa!
Older than the beasts, the oldest Palæotherium;
The tail of the steed pointed south on the dale, 'Twas the friar's road home, straight and level;
But, when spurred, a horse follows his nose, not his tail,
So he scampered due north, like a devil : "This new mode of docking," the friar then said, “I perceive does n't make a horse trot ill; And't is cheap, for he never can eat off his head While I am engaged at the bottle,
Which goes gluggity, gluggity - glug - glug― glug."
THE YARN OF THE "NANCY BELL." Then our appetite with the midshipmite
FROM "THE BAB BALLADS."
"T WAS on the shores that round our coast From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone, on a piece of stone,
His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
"O, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig, And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."
And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
For I could n't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:
"O elderly man, it 's little I know
"At once a cook and a captain bold, And the mate of the Nancy brig,
We seven survivors stayed.
"And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed In the other chap's hold, you see.
"I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom.
I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I;