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Stans Puer ad Mensam

by
 Attend my words, my gentle knave, 
And you shall learn from me 
How boys at dinner may behave 
With due propriety.
Guard well your hands: two things have been Unfitly used by some; The trencher for a tambourine, The table for a drum.
We could not lead a pleasant life, And 'twould be finished soon, If peas were eaten with the knife, And gravy with the spoon.
Eat slowly: only men in rags And gluttons old in sin Mistake themselves for carpet bags And tumble victuals in.
The privy pinch, the whispered tease, The wild, unseemly yell -- When children do such things as these, We say, "It is not well.
" Endure your mother's timely stare, Your father's righteous ire, And do not wriggle on your chair Like flannel in the fire.
Be silent: you may chatter loud When you are fully grown, Surrounded by a silent crowd Of children of your own.
If you should suddenly feel bored And much inclined to yawning, Your little hand will best afford A modest useful awning.
Think highly of the Cat: and yet You need not therefore think That portly strangers like your pet To share their meat and drink.
The end of dinner comes ere long When, once more full and free, You cheerfully may bide the gong That calls you to your tea.

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