The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, July 1904


(The School Board of New Brunswick, New Jersey, has excluded the teaching of botany in schools ‘on account of the polygamous habits of flowers.’)

I  USED to love each flower that grows,
Collect each kind of blossom:
I plucked the buttercup and rose
Whene’er I came across ’em:
I gathered nosegays left and right,
Wherever I could spot any:
Putting it briefly, I was quite
A perfect whale at botany.

If ever Chloë seemed to shun
My manifest devotion,
I’d send her flowers by the ton,
As proof of my emotion:
I gave her bouquets every day.
I meant no impropriety.
It really never struck me they
Weren’t fit for her society.

But now I scorn their scents and hues:
My confidence it shatters
To learn how shaky are their views
On matrimonial matters:
However much they please the eye
With superficial prettiness,
To me their charm is cancelled by
Their shameless Salt-Lake-City-ness.

Henceforward our curriculums
We ought to start revising:
Our babes must take to dates and sums
In lieu of botanising.
A flower’s ways, as I have shown,
All thinkers, who examine, hate:
The subject must be let alone,
It cannot but contaminate.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.