The population problem’s solved! the judges all assured,
For you could have a child or two, but never have a third.
To celebrate their “Third Decree” they went to see a play.
Romeo and Juliet would be in town that day.
They found the theatre boarded shut, for it was plain to see
That Shakespeare wasn’t ever born, for he’d been number three.
When Easter rolled around that year, they dearly missed Messiah
For Handel was born eighth of ten, a veritable pariah!
And how the Frenchmen fumed to find there was no Joan of Arc,
’Cause she was third of five, and so, her memory just a lark.
The eloquence of Webster will ne’er be heard again;
Such a crying shame, my friends, old Dan was ninth of ten.
No more Ancient Mariner to sail that voyage wild:
Samuel Coleridge, his creator, was alas a fourteenth child.
Don’t look for Franklin’s kite to fly, for it will not be seen;
Poor Ben’s abolished like the rest, for he was child fifteen.
Christian Science Reading Rooms have vanished in the mix,
And Mary Baker Eddy too, for she was number six.
The history books must all be changed; some names will not be heard.
So long to Thomas Jefferson, for he too was a third.
Good Garfield: you never were. And you will be no more.
Your parents were so thoughtless, and you were number four.
But you were not alone, James, as you will shortly see:
President Hayes was also fourth. Zach Taylor: number three.
The list seems never-ending; it’s really something fierce.
Another sixth child president, who wasn’t, Franklin Pierce.
And music lovers will lament, and some will suffer shock,
To find there never was third son Johann Sebastian Bach.
Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” was never, ever heard;
Alas, alack, we’ll miss him so, for he too was a third.
The population explosion has even reached to heaven;
St. Thomas Aquinas will have to go, for he was number seven.
St. Dominic, we’ll miss you too; you were not meant to be;
In searching through the registers, we found you number three.
And since this law goes back in time, I find I too am nix:
This poem was never written, friends, for I was number six.