The limitations of youth

Eugene Field 1850 (St. Louis) – 1895 (Chicago)

I'd like to be a cowboy an' ride a fiery hoss
 Way out into the big an' boundless west;
I'd kill the bears an' catamounts an' wolves I come across,
 An' I'd pluck the bal' head eagle from his nest!
  With my pistols at my side,
  I would roam the prarers wide,
An' to scalp the savage Injun in his wigwam would I ride--
  If I darst; but I darsen't!

I'd like to go to Afriky an' hunt the lions there,
 An' the biggest ollyfunts you ever saw!
I would track the fierce gorilla to his equatorial lair,
 An' beard the cannybull that eats folks raw!
  I'd chase the pizen snakes
  An' the 'pottimus that makes
His nest down at the bottom of unfathomable lakes--
  If I darst; but I darsen't!

I would I were a pirut to sail the ocean blue,
 With a big black flag aflyin' overhead;
I would scour the billowy main with my gallant pirut crew
 An' dye the sea a gouty, gory red!
  With my cutlass in my hand
  On the quarterdeck I'd stand
And to deeds of heroism I'd incite my pirut band--
  If I darst; but I darsen't!

And, if I darst, I'd lick my pa for the times that he's licked me!
 I'd lick my brother an' my teacher, too!
I'd lick the fellers that call round on sister after tea,
 An' I'd keep on lickin' folks till I got through!
  You bet! I'd run away
  From my lessons to my play,
An' I'd shoo the hens, an' tease the cat, an' kiss the girls all day--
  If I darst; but I darsen't!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Eugene Field

Eugene Field, Sr. was an American writer, best known for his children's poetry and humorous essays. more…

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"The limitations of youth" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Aug. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/13080/the-limitations-of-youth>.

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