The creator of Archy & Mehitabel, Freddy the Rat,
Warty Bliggens the Toad, The Old Soak
and other timeless American treasures

The Prude's Alphabet
by Don Marquis

A is for Tarsus. The current short skirts
Do not conceal it, which pleases the flirts.

B is the letter for Gentleman Cow --
Some persons throw them. I cannot see how.

C for a Cow's little child that drinks milk;
There's another kind, too, that is covered with silk.

D is for -- Dash! It is so like a curse
That nothing could make me employ it in verse!

E is for Embonpoint; -- much nicer word
Than some of the synonyms which I have heard.

F is for Falstaff, a naughty old man;
Avoid his example as much as you can.

G for a substance that's made into strings
For fiddles; 'tis taken from kitties and things.

H for a word that means...well, embrace.
The rhyme for it, "rug." It may lead to disgrace!

I is a painful dermal disease
That keeps people scratching. Don't mention it please!

J is for Jackal, a terrible beast
Whose dinner demeanor's not nice in the least.

K is the joint midway of the limb;
It moves when we walk, it moves when we swim.

L for the members producing the gait --
The iniquitous Octobus really has eight!

M is for Modest. Sincerely I trust
That you'll always be modest. Be Modest or . . . bust.

N for a kind of an orange; the kind
That is simple and sweet and has a thin rind.

O for obnoxious! It grieves me to find
So much that is so in my delicate mind.

P for a word that sounds very like dimple;
Cosmetics produce them on gentle or simple.

Q is for Questionable persons and things --
If people are married they ought to have rings.

R is for Roue'; for decency's sake
Avoid such grosser locutions as rake.

S is for Polecat, so pretty and cute;
Don't make him a pet, he's a treacherous brute.

T is for Tongue. O, pray, keep it clean,
And never say bluntly the things that you mean!

U for the garments worn next to the skin;
In winter they're thick and in summer they's thin.

V is for Vampire -- I don't mean the ladies
That movie films show sending persons to Hades.

W is for Weather, the safest of topics --
But even so, children, don't dwell in the tropics!

X, Y and Z are Equations Unknown,
So a prudent young person will let them alone.

LIFE Magazine, August 11, 1921

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Jim Ennes

Don Marquis