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Poem by Eugene Field

The Duel

THE gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
    The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate 
    Appeared to know as sure as fate 
There was going to be a terrible spat.

           (I wasn't there; I simply state 
           What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
    While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place 
    Up with its hands before its face, 
For it always dreaded a family row!

           (Never mind: I'm only telling you 
           What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
    Employing every tooth and claw 
    In the awfullest way you ever saw- 
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!

           (Don't fancy I exaggerate- 
           I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of the dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
    But the truth about the cat and pup 
    Is this: they ate each other up! 
Now what do you really think of that!

           (The old Dutch clock it told me so, 
           And that is how I came to know.) 

Eugene Field

Eugene Field's other poems:
  1. Mary Smith
  2. Star of the East
  3. Pan Liveth
  4. Old Spanish Song
  5. The Singing in God's Acre

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Thomas Hardy The Duel ("I am here to time, you see")
  • Ella Wilcox The Duel ("Oh many a duel the world has seen")

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