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Francis O’Flaherty Swinburn Fitzroy
Was an awfully timid and hesitant boy.
When courage was called for in some situation,
He deferred to the option of self-preservation.
His sports’ master told him he’d have to get tough
When his tackling was deemed not aggressive enough.
But push came to shove, it just raised all his hackles
When asked to engage in some bone-crunching tackles.
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His father disowned him, his mother just wept
And tousled his hair as he fitfully slept,
And prayed to the saints to bestow the capacity
For courage and ruthlessness, strength and tenacity.
But all her cantations and prayers went unheard,
As the holy departed ignored every word.
And Francis O’Flaherty Swinburn Fitzroy
Remained a most timid and hesitant boy.
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And thus it transpired, with a match underway,
Young Francis was called on to break up the play.
“Tackle!” the sports’ master yelled out, dismayed,
But Francis just went in, half-hearted, afraid.
His opponent powered in like a bulldog on heat
And swept the unfortunate lad off his feet,
And, as he was thrown in a sideways trajection,
His leg was despatched in the other direction.
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The match was abandoned, an ambulance called,
As all of his schoolmates assembled, enthralled.
The leg, still attired in a boot and a sock,
Was stared at with equal parts humour and shock.
And, as leg and boy lay apart on the ground,
The master addressed those who’d gathered around.
“Look well!” he announced, “Always be on your guard!
See what may befall if you don’t go in hard!”