The Ornamental Beasts

A grant of Rs. 700 was sanctioned towards the purchase
of two tiger cubs from Delhi for the Gardens.

—Proceedings of Lahore Municipality, April 23rd, 1884.

Our drains may reek—we do not care—
Our wells be full of crawly things,
What matters typhoid in the air?
We want those merry tigerlings.
And having these our hearts will steel
'Gainst death rates what you please per mille.

Their hides are yellow, striped with black,
They eat with joy their daily ration,
And this consoles us for the lack
Of what some fools call 'sanitation'.
A bas les drains! les morning tubs!
Give us those Delhi tiger cubs!

Shut up the water works—dispense
With culverts or conservancy,
Drive every useless bhisti hence,
And let the dust-cloud wander free.
But, in the name of all things thrifty
More tigers at rupees three-fifty.

We do not yearn for cleanliness,
Oh wise Municipality;
And, entre nous, let us confess
We'd very much prefer to die,
If, by our death, the local Zoo
Were dowered with a kangaroo.

Ho! burgesses of Donald Town,
Ho! householders of fair Mozung,
Weave, weave for them the laurel crown,
And loudly let their praise be sung,
Who, knowing all our wants, determine
To saddle us with high-priced vermin.
Dan Dindigul