The parents of Reg, from his earliest age,
Had tried in a manner more kindly than sage,
To see he was stayed by no curb or taboo
From doing those things that he wanted to do.
“Far be it from us to forbid or deny
One whim to this apple,” they said, “of our eye.”
Encouraged by “Yes,” and untrammeled by “No,”
His dear little ego shall flourish and grow,
And, free as the breezes that blow where they list,
Remain unacquainted with “Don’t” and “Desist.”
Pursuing this plan they avoided with skill
Such things as ran counter to Reginald’s will.
And blended with manners caressing and mild
The shortage of rod that corrupteth a child.
So Reginald did for the whole of each day
What Reginald wanted, in Reginald’s way.
He even, however he were begged or cajoled,
Did opposite things to the ones he was told.
And more and more marked in his conduct became
Contempt for commands and dislike of the same.
If strangers were reckless enough to suggest,
“I think, Reggie dear, perhaps this would be best,”
Such howls would arise, such an outburst of noise,
Such stamping of feet and such smashing of toys,
That lashings of sweets would be proffered for peace
Lest neighbors grew nervous and summoned the police.
How sad that his parents so failed to descry
The paramount need at such times to apply
A heavy tattoo with a muscular hand,
On parts for such chastisement specially planned!
Instead, uncorrected, young Reginald grew
Till relatives talking as relatives do,
Were drawing it mild when they said, as they did,
They never had met such a horrible kid.
One day Reggie’s mother determined to slip
With Reggie to town on a purchasing trip.
And after some deep disputation and fuss
(For Reggie said “train” when his mother said “bus”)
They made their approach to the shop where report
Had said the best bargains were commonly bought.
At spots in that town, near its busiest sites,
Were crossings controlled by mechanical lights,
And reaching the shop where they purposed to call
Meant crossing the busiest crossing of all.
The lights, which were green, went to ...
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