If you study the history of John Philip Sousa, you may be surprised to learn that he wrote more than music. He wrote great satirical poetry, too.

The Feast of the Monkeys
by John Philip Sousa

In days of old,
So I’ve been told,
The monkeys gave a feast.
They sent out cards,
With kind regards,
To every bird and beast.
The guests came dressed
In fashion’s best,
Unmindful of expense;
Except the whale,
Whose swallowtail,
Was “soaked” for fifty cents.

The guests checked wraps,
Canes, hats and caps;
And when the task was done,
The footman, he
With dignitee,
Announced them one by one.
In Monkey Hall,
The host met all,
And hoped they’d feel at ease,
“I scarcely can,”
Said the Black and Tan,
“I’m busy hunting fleas.”

“While waiting for
A score or more
Of guests,” the hostess said,
“We’ll have the Poodle
Sing Yankee Doodle,
A-standing on his head.
And when he’s through,
Good Parrot, you,
Please show them how you swear.”
“Oh, dear; don’t cuss”
Cried the Octopus,
And he walked off on his ear.

The Orang-Outang
A sea-song sang,
About a Chimpanzee
Who went abroad
In a drinking gourd,
To the coast of Barberee.
Where he heard one night
When the moon shone bright,
A school of mermaids pick
Chromatic scales
From off their tails,
And did it mighty slick.

“All guests are here,
To eat the cheer,
And dinner’s served, me Lord.”
The butler bowed;
And then the crowd
Rushed in with one accord.
The fiddler-crab
Came in a cab,
And played a piece in C’
While on his horn,
The unicorn
Blew, You’ll Remember Me.

“To give a touch
Of early dutch
To this great feast of feasts,
I’ll drink ten drops
Of Holland’s schnapps,”
Spoke out the King of Beasts.
“That must taste fine,”
Said the Porcupine,
“Did you see him smack his lips?”
“I’d smack mine, too,”
Cried the Kangaroo,
“If I didn’t have the pip.”

The Lion stood,
And said, “Be good
Enough to look this way;
Court Etiquette
Do not forget,
And mark well what I say:
My royal wish is ev’ry dish
Be tasted first by me.”
“Here’s where I smile,”
Said the Crocodile,
And he climbed an axle-tree.

The soup was brought,
And quick as thought,
The Lion ate it all.
“You can’t beat that,”
Said Pussy Cat,
“For monumental gall.”
“The soup,” all cried.
“Gone,” Leo replied.
“ ‘Twas just a bit too thick.”
“When we get through,”
Remarked the Gnu,
“I’ll hit him with a brick.”

The Tiger stepped,
Or, rather, crept,
Up where the Lion sat.
“O, mighty boss
I’m at a loss
To know where I am at.
I came to-night
With appetite
To drink and also eat;
As a Tiger grand,
I now demand
I get there with both feet.”

The Lion got
All-fired hot
And in a passion flew.
“Get out,” he cried,
“And save your hide,
You most offensive You.”
“I’m not afraid,”
The Tiger said,
“I know what I’m about,”
But the Lion’s paw
Reached the Tiger’s jaw,
And he was good and out.

The salt-sea smell
Of Mackerel,
Upon the air arose;
Each hungry guest
Great joy expressed,
And “sniff”! went every nose.
With glutton look
The Lion took
The spiced and sav’ry dish.
Without a pause
He worked his jaws,
And gobbled all the fish.

Then ate the roast,
The quail on toast,
The pork, both fat and lean;
The jam and lamb,
The potted ham,
And drank the Kerosene.
He raised his voice:
“Come, all rejoice,
You’ve seen your monarch dine.”
“Never again,”
Clucked the hen
And all sang Old Lang Syne.

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