The Brum and the Oologist
Were walking hand in hand;
They grinned to see so many birds
On cliff, and rock, and sand.
“If we could only get their eggs,”
Said they, “it would be grand.”
“Oh Seabirds,” said the Midland man,
“Let’s take a pleasant walk!
Perhaps among you we may find
The Great – or lesser- Auk;
And you might possibly enjoy
A scientific talk.”
The skuas and the cormarants,
And all the puffin clan,
The stormy petrels, gulls and terns,
They hopped and skipped and ran
With very injudicious speed
To join that oily man.
“The time has come,” remarked the Brum,
“For ‘talking without tears’
Of birds unhappily extinct,
Yet known in former years;
And how much cash an egg will fetch
In Naturalistic spheres.”
“But not our eggs!” replied the birds,
Feeling a little hot.
“You surely would not rob our nests
After this pleasant trot?”
The Midland man said nothing but,
“I guess he’s cleared the lot!”
“Well!” said that bland Oologist.
“We’ve had a lot of fun.
Next year, perhaps, these Shetland birds
We’ll visit – with a gun;
When – as we’ve taken all their eggs –
There’ll probably be none!”
This poem was sent to us by LCSNA member Mary DeYoung, who found it in a “little book” called Bird Brain-Teasers by Patrick Merrell. Ms. DeYoung writes:
The compiler of this little book, Mr. Merrell, says that this poem, abridged, was written in 1891, appearing in Punch. Brum is slang for Birmingham England, he says. I am certain there were and are many takes on The Walrus and the Carpenter; this is a gem.
And I found you can see the original page from Punch using Google Books here.