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The Lesson of History

On the sunshiny African isles
Where the ladies were light on their feet,
And under the mangoes did shimmies and tangoes
That were far more risque than discreet,
Reformers would often arise,
Hold up their stern hands and proclaim:
“Profaning the Voodoo by dancing like you do
ls a blot on the Hottentot name.”
But as soon as the tom-tom resumed
Its rythmical, sensuous boom
The same undulations and twists and gyrations
Enlivened the tropical gloom!

In th land of the Bashi Baiouks
Where they dance in the mannerof snakes,
With many a quiver and shudder and shiver,
And a shocking assortment of shakes,
Whenever a prude happens by,
He cries, with a horrified glance:
“No modest young Bulgar would do thlngs so vulgar;
The law should prohibit this dance!”
But when he has gone on his way
And the music starts playing once more,
The shiver of sinews and muscles continues,
Exactly the same as before.

And so, when we listen today .
To the strenuous voice of reform,
The statement advancing that up to date dancing
Is getting a little too warm,
We know that the youth of the land
Will pause with a pitying smile,
And dance more sedately and less intimately,
But when they’ve reformed for a while,
From Zanzibar, Afghanistan,
Or Bankok, Belize or Brazil
Or Greenland or Lapland or China or Japland
They’ll get a more shocking dance still!

The Oklahoma City Times, September 12, 1919. By James J. Montague.

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