Read THE KING OF THE BEASTS of Punch‚ Volume 101‚ September 19‚ 1891, free online book, by Francis Burnand, on


[CHARLES JAMRACH, the celebrated naturalist and menagerie-keeper, of St. George’s-in-the-East, died on September 6, at the age of 76.]

The news on the town like a thunderbolt burst,
The loss of the Season ’tis reckoned;
We mourned long ago for King JAMRACH THE FIRST,
Now we weep for King JAMRACH THE SECOND.
There’s grief at the Zoo, all the Lions bohoo,
And the Elephants dolefully trumpet;
The Tiger’s in tears, and the lonely Koodoo
With sorrow’s as cold as a crumpet.
He was seventy-six; but to cross o’er the Styx
At that age for a JAMRACH was premature;
There are lots of young cubs who feel quite in a fix
At the thought that he will not see them mature.
They howl with wide gorges to think that St. George’s
Will see him no more ah! no, never!
He will not preside at their shin-of-beef orgies,
Or nurse them through phthisis or fever.
The travelling menagerie must wait an age ’ere he
JAMRACH will find any fellow.
BARNUM, ’tis well you are gone we can tell you!
Bison, old boy, do not bellow
There quite so tremendously! Sad? Oh, stupendously!
So is the Ornithorhynchus.
But don’t howl the roof off, your anguish in proof of,
Or Regent’s Park swells mad may think us.
Yes, Marsupial Mole, we are “left in the hole,”
But still we must think of our dignity.
Animal sorrow from bardlings must borrow
The true elegiac benignity.
That Japanese pug I could willingly hug,
He yaps out his grief so discreetly,
And dear Armadillo knows how to sing “Willow,”
Like poor Desdemona, most sweetly.
My dear Felis Leo, I do feel that we owe
A debt to the urban proprieties.
Don’t shame yourself, Ursa, but quite vice versa,
You know how impressive caste’s quiet is!
But, JAMRACH! O JAMRACH! Woe’s stretched on no sham rack
Of metre that mourns you sincerely;
E’en that hard nut o’ natur, the great Alligator,
Has eyes that look red, and blink queerly.
Mere “crocodile’s tears,” some may snigger; but jeers
Must disgust at a moment so doleful.
For JAMRACH the brave, who has gone to his grave,
All our sorrow’s sincere as ’tis soulful!



Cynics, and ye critics cold,
When the wasps return with Spring,
Tell them that THERSITES old
Perished in his fault-hunting,
Perished on an Autumn night.
Now no more he ’ll ban and blight
In the “weeklies,” as of yore;
But the valley and the height
Miss a biter and a bore!