day, through the primeval wood,
calf walked home, as good calves should;
made a trail all bent askew,
crooked trail as all calves do.
then two hundred years have fled,
I infer, the calf is dead.
still he left behind his trail,
thereby hangs my moral tale.
trail was taken up next day
a lone dog that passed that way;
then a wise bell-wether sheep
the trail o'er vale and steep,
drew the flock behind him, too,
good bell-wethers always do.
from that day, o'er hill and glade,
those old woods a path was made.
many men wound in and out,
dodged, and turned, and bent about;
uttered words of righteous wrath,
'twas such a crooked path.
still they followed - do not laugh -
first migration of that calf.
through this winding wood-way stalked,
he wobbled when he walked.
forest path became a lane,
bent, and turned, and turned again.
crooked lane became a road,
many a poor horse with his load,
on beneath the burning sun,
traveled some three miles in one.
thus a century and a half,
trod the footsteps of that calf.
years passed on in swiftness fleet,
road became a village street;
this, before men were aware,
city's crowded thoroughfare;
soon the central street was this,
a renowned metropolis;
men two centuries and a half,
the footsteps of that calf.
day a hundred thousand rout,
the zigzag calf about;
o'er his crooked journey went,
traffic of a continent.
hundred thousand men were led,
one calf near three centuries dead.
followed still his crooked way,
lost one hundred years a day;
thus such reverence is lent,
moral lesson this might teach,
I ordained and called to preach;
men are prone to go it blind,
the calf-paths of the mind;
work away from sun to sun,
do what other men have done.
follow in the beaten track,
out and in, and forth and back,
still their devious course pursue,
keep the path that others do.
how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
saw the first primeval calf !
! many things this tale might teach -
I am not ordained to preach.