A Nonsense Anthology
Collected by Carolyn Wells
Part 3 out of 5
A Bear without a Head.
"Poor thing," he said, "poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!"
He thought he saw a Kangaroo
That worked a coffee-mill:
He looked again, and found it was
"Were I to swallow this," he said,
"I should be very ill!"
He thought he saw a Rattlesnake
That questioned him in Greek:
He looked again, and found it was
The Middle of Next Week.
"The one thing I regret," he said,
"Is that it cannot speak!"
GENTLE ALICE BROWN
It was a robber's daughter, and her name was Alice Brown.
Her father was the terror of a small Italian town;
Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing;
But it isn't of her parents that I'm going for to sing.
As Alice was a-sitting at her window-sill one day,
A beautiful young gentleman he chanced to pass that way;
She cast her eyes upon him, and he looked so good and true,
That she thought, "I could be happy with a gentleman like you!"
And every morning passed her house that cream of gentlemen,
She knew she might expect him at a quarter unto ten,
A sorter in the Custom-house, it was his daily road
(The Custom-house was fifteen minutes' walk from her abode.)
But Alice was a pious girl, who knew it wasn't wise
To look at strange young sorters with expressive purple eyes;
So she sought the village priest to whom her family confessed,
The priest by whom their little sins were carefully assessed.
"Oh, holy father," Alice said, "'twould grieve you, would it not?
To discover that I was a most disreputable lot!
Of all unhappy sinners I'm the most unhappy one!"
The padre said, "Whatever have you been and gone and done?"
"I have helped mamma to steal a little kiddy from its dad,
I've assisted dear papa in cutting up a little lad.
I've planned a little burglary and forged a little check,
And slain a little baby for the coral on its neck!"
The worthy pastor heaved a sigh, and dropped a silent tear--
And said, "You mustn't judge yourself too heavily, my dear--
It's wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece;
But sins like these one expiates at half-a-crown apiece."
"Girls will be girls--you're very young, and flighty in your mind;
Old heads upon young shoulders we must not expect to find:
We mustn't be too hard upon these little girlish tricks--
Let's see--five crimes at half-a-crown--exactly twelve-and-six."
"Oh, father," little Alice cried, "your kindness makes me weep,
You do these little things for me so singularly cheap--
Your thoughtful liberality I never can forget;
But O there is another crime I haven't mentioned yet!"
"A pleasant-looking gentleman, with pretty purple eyes,
I've noticed at my window, as I've sat a-catching flies;
He passes by it every day as certain as can be--
I blush to say I've winked at him and he has winked at me!"
"For shame," said Father Paul, "my erring daughter! On my word
This is the most distressing news that I have ever heard.
Why, naughty girl, your excellent papa has pledged your hand
To a promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band!"
"This dreadful piece of news will pain your worthy parents so!
They are the most remunerative customers I know;
For many many years they've kept starvation from my doors,
I never knew so criminal a family as yours!"
"The common country folk in this insipid neighborhood
Have nothing to confess, they're so ridiculously good;
And if you marry any one respectable at all,
Why, you'll reform, and what will then become of Father Paul?"
The worthy priest, he up and drew his cowl upon his crown,
And started off in haste to tell the news to Robber Brown;
To tell him how his daughter, who now was for marriage fit,
Had winked upon a sorter, who reciprocated it.
Good Robber Brown, he muffled up his anger pretty well,
He said, "I have a notion, and that notion I will tell;
I will nab this gay young sorter, terrify him into fits,
And get my gentle wife to chop him into little bits."
"I've studied human nature, and I know a thing or two,
Though a girl may fondly love a living gent, as many do--
A feeling of disgust upon her senses there will fall
When she looks upon his body chopped particularly small."
He traced that gallant sorter to a still suburban square;
He watched his opportunity and seized him unaware;
He took a life-preserver and he hit him on the head,
And Mrs. Brown dissected him before she went to bed.
And pretty little Alice grew more settled in her mind,
She nevermore was guilty of a weakness of the kind,
Until at length good Robber Brown bestowed her pretty hand
On the promising young robber, the lieutenant of his band.
THE STORY OF PRINCE AGIB
Strike the concertina's melancholy string!
Blow the spirit-stirring harp like any thing!
Let the piano's martial blast
Rouse the Echoes of the Past,
For of Agib, Prince of Tartary, I sing!
Of Agib, who amid Tartaric scenes,
Wrote a lot of ballet-music in his teens:
His gentle spirit rolls
In the melody of souls--
Which is pretty, but I don't know what it means
Of Agib, who could readily, at sight,
Strum a march upon the loud Theodolite:
He would diligently play
On the Zoetrope all day,
And blow the gay Pantechnicon all night.
One winter--I am shaky in my dates--
Came two starving minstrels to his gates,
Oh, Allah be obeyed,
How infernally they played!
I remember that they called themselves the "Oiiaits."
Oh! that day of sorrow, misery, and rage,
I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age,
On the tablet of my mind,
When a yesterday has faded from its page!
Alas! Prince Agib went and asked them in!
Gave them beer, and eggs, and sweets, and scents, and tin.
And when (as snobs would say)
They "put it all away,"
He requested them to tune up and begin.
Though its icy horror chill you to the core,
I will tell you what I never told before,
The consequences true
Of that awful interview,
_For I listened at the key-hole in the door_!
They played him a sonata--let me see!
"_Medulla oblongata_"--key of G.
Then they began to sing
That extremely lovely thing,
"Scherzando! ma non troppo, ppp."
He gave them money, more than they could count,
Scent, from a most ingenious little fount,
More beer, in little kegs,
Many dozen hard-boiled eggs,
And goodies to a fabulous amount.
Now follows the dim horror of my tale,
And I feel I'm growing gradually pale,
For, even at this day,
Though its sting has passed away,
When I venture to remember it, I quail!
The elder of the brothers gave a squeal,
All-overish it made me for to feel!
"Oh Prince," he says, says he,
"_If a Prince indeed you be_,
I've a mystery I'm going to reveal!"
"Oh, listen, if you'd shun a horrid death,
To what the gent who's speaking to you, saith:
No 'Oiiaits' in truth are we,
As you fancy that we be,
For (ter-remble) I am Aleck--this is Beth!"
Said Agib, "Oh! accursed of your kind,
I have heard that you are men of evil mind!"
Beth gave a dreadful shriek--
But before he'd time to speak
I was mercilessly collared from behind.
In number ten or twelve or even more,
They fastened me, full length upon the floor.
On my face extended flat
I was walloped with a cat
For listening at the key-hole of the door.
Oh! the horror of that agonizing thrill!
(I can feel the place in frosty weather still).
For a week from ten to four
I was fastened to the floor,
While a mercenary wopped me with a will!
They branded me, and broke me on a wheel,
And they left me in an hospital to heal;
And, upon my solemn word,
I have never never heard
What those Tartars had determined to reveal.
But that day of sorrow, misery, and rage,
I shall carry to the Catacombs of Age,
On the tablet of my mind,
When a yesterday has faded from its page!
FERDINANDO AND ELVIRA, OR THE GENTLE PIEMAN
* * * * *
"Love you?" said I, then I sighed, and then I gazed upon her
For I think I do this sort of thing particularly neatly--
"Tell me whither I may his me, tell me, dear one, that I may know--
Is it up the highest Andes? down a horrible volcano?"
But she said, "It isn't polar bears, or hot volcanic grottoes,
Only find out who it is that writes those lovely cracker mottoes."
Seven weary years I wandered--Patagonia, China, Norway,
Till at last I sank exhausted, at a pastrycook his doorway.
And he chirped and sang and skipped about, and laughed with
He was wonderfully active for so very stout a party.
And I said, "Oh, gentle pieman, why so very, very merry?
Is it purity of conscience, or your one-and-seven sherry?"
* * * * *
"Then I polish all the silver which a supper-table lacquers;
Then I write the pretty mottoes which you find inside the crackers."
"Found at last!" I madly shouted. "Gentle pieman, you astound me!"
Then I waved the turtle soup enthusiastically round me.
And I shouted and I danced until he'd quite a crowd around him,
And I rushed away, exclaiming, "I have found him! I have found him!"
The bravest names for fire and flames,
And all that mortal durst,
Were General John and Private James,
Of the Sixty-seventy-first.
General John was a soldier tried,
A chief of warlike dons;
A haughty stride and a withering pride
Were Major-General John.
A sneer would play on his martial phiz,
Superior birth to show;
"Pish!" was a favorite word of his,
And he often said "Ho! Ho!"
Full-Private James described might be,
As a man of mournful mind;
No characteristic trait had he
Of any distinctive kind.
From the ranks, one day, cried Private James,
"Oh! Major-General John,
I've doubts of our respective names,
My mournful mind upon."
"A glimmering thought occurs to me,
(Its source I can't unearth),
But I've a kind of notion we
Were cruelly changed at birth."
"I've a strange idea, each other's names
That we have each got on.
Such things have been," said Private James.
"They have!" sneered General John.
"My General John, I swear upon
My oath I think it is so--"
"Pish!" proudly sneered his General John,
And he also said "Ho! ho!"
"My General John! my General John!
My General John!" quoth he,
"This aristocratical sneer upon
Your face I blush to see."
"No truly great or generous cove
Deserving of them names
Would sneer at a fixed idea that's drove
In the mind of a Private James!"
Said General John, "Upon your claims
No need your breath to waste;
If this is a joke, Full-Private James,
It's a joke of doubtful taste."
"But being a man of doubtless worth,
If you feel certain quite
That we were probably changed at birth,
I'll venture to say you're right."
So General John as Private James
Fell in, parade upon;
And Private James, by change of names,
Was Major-General John.
There were three sailors of Bristol City
Who took a boat and went to sea,
But first with beef and captain's biscuits,
And pickled pork they loaded she.
There was gorging Jack, and guzzling Jimmy,
And the youngest he was little Billee.
Now when they'd got as far as the Equator,
They'd nothing left but one split pea.
Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"I am extremely hungaree."
To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
"We've nothing left, us must eat we."
Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"With one another we shouldn't agree!
There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
We're old and tough, so let's eat he."
"O Billy! we're going to kill and eat you,
So undo the button of your chemie."
When Bill received this information,
He used his pocket-handkerchie,
"First let me say my catechism,
Which my poor mother taught to me."
"Make haste! make haste!" says guzzling Jimmy,
While Jack pulled out his snicker-snee.
Then Bill went up to the main-top-gallant-mast,
And down he fell on his bended knee,
He scarce had come to the Twelfth Commandment
When up he jumps--"There's land I see!"
"Jerusalem and Madagascar,
And North and South Amerikee,
There's the British flag a-riding at anchor,
With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."
So when they got aboard of the Admiral's,
He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee,
But as for little Bill, he made him
The captain of a Seventy-three.
_W. M. Thackeray_.
_THE WRECK OF THE "JULIE PLANTE_"
On wan dark night on Lac St. Pierre,
De win' she blow, blow, blow,
An' de crew of de wood scow "Julie Plante"
Got scar't an' run below--
For de win' she blow lak hurricane;
Bimeby she blow some more,
An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre
Wan arpent from de shore.
De captinne walk on de fronte deck,
An' walk de him' deck too--
He call de crew from up de hole,
He call de cook also.
De cook she's name was Rosie,
She come from Montreal,
Was chambre maid on lumber barge,
On de Grande Lachine Canal.
De win' she blow from nor'-eas'-wes',--
De sout' win' she blow too,
Wen Rosie cry, "Mon cher captinne,
Mon cher, w'at I shall do?"
Den de captinne t'row de big ankerre,
But still de scow she dreef,
De crew he can't pass on de shore,
Becos he los' hees skeef.
De night was dark lak wan black cat,
De wave run high an' fas',
Wen de captinne tak' de Rosie girl
An' tie her to de mas'.
Den he also tak' de life preserve,
An' jomp off on de lak',
An' say, "Good-by, ma Rosie dear,
I go down for your sak'."
Nex' morning very early
'Bout ha'f-pas' two--t'ree--four--
De captinne--scow--an' de poor Rosie
Was corpses on de shore.
For de win' she blow lak' hurricane,
Bimeby she blow some more,
An' de scow, bus' up on Lac St. Pierre,
Wan arpent from de shore.
Now all good wood scow sailor man
Tak' warning by dat storm
An' go an' marry some nice French girl
An' live on wan beeg farm.
De win' can blow lak' hurricane
An' s'pose she blow some more,
You can't get drown on Lac St. Pierre
So long you stay on shore.
_William H. Drummond_.
Upon the poop the captain stands,
As starboard as may be;
And pipes on deck the topsail hands
To reef the topsail-gallant strands
Across the briny sea.
"Ho! splice the anchor under-weigh!"
The captain loudly cried;
"Ho! lubbers brave, belay! belay!
For we must luff for Falmouth Bay
Before to-morrow's tide."
The good ship was a racing yawl,
A spare-rigged schooner sloop,
Athwart the bows the taffrails all
In grummets gay appeared to fall,
To deck the mainsail poop.
But ere they made the Foreland Light,
And Deal was left behind,
The wind it blew great gales that night,
And blew the doughty captain tight,
Full three sheets in the wind.
And right across the tiller head
The horse it ran apace,
Whereon a traveller hitched and sped
Along the jib and vanished
To heave the trysail brace.
What ship could live in such a sea?
What vessel bear the shock?
"Ho! starboard port your helm-a-lee!
Ho! reef the maintop-gallant-tree,
With many a running block!"
And right upon the Scilly Isles
The ship had run aground;
When lo! the stalwart Captain Giles
Mounts up upon the gaff and smiles,
And slews the compass round.
"Saved! saved!" with joy the sailors cry,
And scandalize the skiff;
As taut and hoisted high and dry
They see the ship unstoppered lie
Upon the sea-girt cliff.
And since that day in Falmouth Bay,
As herring-fishers trawl,
The younkers hear the boatswains say
How Captain Giles that awful day
Preserved the sinking yawl.
_A SAILOR'S YARN_
_As narrated by the second mate to one of the marines_.
This is the tale that was told to me,
By a battered and shattered son of the sea:
To me and my messmate, Silas Green,
When I was a guileless young marine.
"'T was the good ship 'Gyacutus,'
All in the China seas;
With the wind a lee, and the capstan free,
To catch the summer breeze."
"'T was Captain Porgie on the deck
To the mate in the mizzen hatch,
While the boatswain bold, in the for'ard hold,
Was winding his larboard watch."
"'Oh, how does our good ship head to-night?
How heads our gallant craft?'
'Oh, she heads to the E. S. W. by N.
And the binnacle lies abaft.'"
"'Oh, what does the quadrant indicate?
And how does the sextant stand?'
'Oh, the sextant's down to the freezing point
And the quadrant's lost a hand.'"
"'Oh, if the quadrant's lost a hand,
And the sextant falls so low,
It's our body and bones to Davy Jones
This night are bound to go."
"'Oh, fly aloft to the garboard-strake,
And reef the spanker boom,
Bend a stubbing sail on the martingale
To give her weather room."
"'Oh, boatswain, down in the for'ard hold
What water do you find?'
'Four foot and a half by the royal gaff
And rather more behind.'"
"'Oh, sailors, collar your marline spikes
And each belaying pin;
Come, stir your stumps to spike the pumps,
Or more will be coming in.'"
"'They stirred their stumps, they spiked the pumps
They spliced the mizzen brace;
Aloft and alow they worked, but, oh!
The water gained apace."
"They bored a hole below her line
To let the water out,
But more and more with awful roar
The water in did spout."
"Then up spoke the cook of our gallant ship--
And he was a lubber brave--
'I've several wives in various ports,
And my life I'd like to save.'"
"Then up spoke the captain of marines,
Who dearly loved his prog:
'It's awful to die, and it's worse to be dry,
And I move we pipes to grog.'"
"Oh, then 'twas the gallant second-mate
As stopped them sailors' jaw,
'Twas the second-mate whose hand had weight
In laying down the law."
"He took the anchor on his back,
And leapt into the main;
Through foam and spray he clove his way,
And sunk, and rose again."
"Through foam and spray a league away
The anchor stout he bore,
Till, safe at last, I made it fast,
And warped the ship ashore."
This is the tale that was told to me,
By that modest and truthful son of the sea.
And I envy the life of a second mate,
Though captains curse him and sailors hate;
For he ain't like some of the swabs I've seen,
As would go and lie to a poor marine.
THE WALLOPING WINDOW-BLIND
A capital ship for an ocean trip
Was the "Walloping Window-blind"--
No gale that blew dismayed her crew
Or troubled the captain's mind.
The man at the wheel was taught to feel
Contempt for the wildest blow,
And it often appeared, when the weather had cleared,
That he'd been in his bunk below.
The boatswain's mate was very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement, too;
And he played hop-scotch with the starboard watch,
While the captain tickled the crew.
And the gunner we had was apparently mad,
For he sat on the after rail,
And fired salutes with the captain's boots,
In the teeth of the booming gale.
The captain sat in a commodore's hat
And dined in a royal way
On toasted pigs and pickles and figs
And gummery bread each day.
But the cook was Dutch and behaved as such:
For the food that he gave the crew
Was a number of tons of hot-cross buns
Chopped up with sugar and glue.
And we all felt ill as mariners will,
On a diet that's cheap and rude;
And we shivered and shook as we dipped the cook
In a tub of his gluesome food.
Then nautical pride we laid aside,
And we cast the vessel ashore
On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles,
And the Anagazanders roar.
Composed of sand was that favored land,
And trimmed with cinnamon straws;
And pink and blue was the pleasing hue
Of the Tickletoeteaser's claws.
And we sat on the edge of a sandy ledge
And shot at the whistling bee;
And the Binnacle-bats wore water-proof hats
As they danced in the sounding sea.
On rubagub bark, from dawn to dark,
We fed, till we all had grown
Uncommonly shrunk,--when a Chinese junk
Came by from the torriby zone.
She was stubby and square, but we didn't much care,
And we cheerily put to sea;
And we left the crew of the junk to chew
The bark of the rubagub tree.
_Charles E. Carryl_.
THE ROLLICKING MASTODON
A rollicking Mastodon lived in Spain,
In the trunk of a Tranquil Tree.
His face was plain, but his jocular vein
Was a burst of the wildest glee.
His voice was strong and his laugh so long
That people came many a mile,
And offered to pay a guinea a day
For the fractional part of a smile.
The Rollicking Mastodon's laugh was wide--
Indeed, 't was a matter of family pride;
And oh! so proud of his jocular vein
Was the Rollicking Mastodon over in Spain.
The Rollicking Mastodon said one day,
"I feel that I need some air,
For a little ozone's a tonic for bones,
As well as a gloss for the hair."
So he skipped along and warbled a song
In his own triumphulant way.
His smile was bright and his skip was light
As he chirruped his roundelay.
The Rollicking Mastodon tripped along,
And sang what Mastodons call a song;
But every note of it seemed to pain
The Rollicking Mastodon over in Spain.
A Little Peetookle came over the hill,
Dressed up in a bollitant coat;
And he said, "You need some harroway seed,
And a little advice for your throat."
The Mastodon smiled and said, "My child,
There's a chance for your taste to grow.
If you polish your mind, you'll certainly find
How little, how little you know."
The Little Peetookle, his teeth he ground
At the Mastodon's singular sense of sound;
For he felt it a sort of a musical stain
On the Rollicking Mastodon over in Spain.
"Alas! and alas! has it come to this pass?"
Said the Little Peetookle. "Dear me!
It certainly seems your horrible screams
Intended for music must be!"
The Mastodon stopped, his ditty he dropped,
And murmured, "Good morning, my dear!
I never will sing to a sensitive thing
That shatters a song with a sneer!"
The Rollicking Mastodon bade him "adieu."
Of course 't was a sensible thing to do;
For Little Peetookle is spared the strain
Of the Rollicking Mastodon over in Spain.
THE SILVER QUESTION
The Sun appeared so smug and bright,
One day, that I made bold
To ask him what he did each night
With all his surplus gold.
He flushed uncomfortably red,
And would not meet my eye.
"I travel round the world," he said,
"And travelling rates are high."
With frigid glance I pierced him through.
He squirmed and changed his tune.
Said he: "I will be frank with you:
I lend it to the Moon."
"Poor thing! You know she's growing old
And hasn't any folk.
She suffers terribly from cold,
And half the time she's broke."
* * * * *
That evening on the beach I lay
Behind a lonely dune,
And as she rose above the bay
I buttonholed the Moon.
"Tell me about that gold," said I.
I saw her features fall.
"You see, it's useless to deny;
The Sun has told me all."
"Sir!" she exclaimed, "how _can_ you try
An honest Moon this way?
As for the gold, I put it by
Against a rainy day."
I smiled and shook my head. "All right,
If you _must_ know," said she,
"I change it into silver bright
Wherewith to tip the Sea."
"He is so faithful and so good,
A most deserving case;
If he should leave, I fear it would
Be hard to fill his place."
* * * * *
When asked if they accepted tips,
The waves became so rough;
I thought of those at sea in ships,
And felt I'd said enough.
For if one virtue I have learned,
'Tis _tact_; so I forbore
To press the matter, though I burned
To ask one question more.
I hate a scene, and do not wish
To be mixed up in gales,
But, oh, I longed to ask the Fish
Whence came their silver scales!
THE SINGULAR SANGFROID OF BABY BUNTING
Bartholomew Benjamin Bunting
Had only three passions in life,
And one of the trio was hunting,
The others his babe and his wife.
And always, so rigid his habits,
He frolicked at home until two,
And then started hunting for rabbits,
And hunted till fall of the dew.
Belinda Bellonia Bunting,
Thus widowed for half of the day,
Her duty maternal confronting,
With baby would patiently play.
When thus was her energy wasted,
A patented food she'd dispense.
(She had bought it the day that they pasted
The posters all over her fence.)
But Bonaparte Buckingham Bunting,
The infant thus blindly adored,
Replied to her worship by grunting,
Which showed he was brutally bored.
'Twas little he cared for the troubles
Of life. Like a crab on the sands,
From his sweet little mouth he blew bubbles,
And threatened the air with his hands.
Bartholomew Benjamin Bunting
One night, as his wife let him in,
Produced as the fruit of his hunting
A cottontail's velvety skin,
Which, seeing young Bonaparte wriggle,
He gave him without a demur,
And the babe with an aqueous giggle
He swallowed the whole of the fur!
Belinda Bellonia Bunting
Behaved like a consummate loon:
Her offspring in frenzy confronting
She screamed herself mottled maroon:
She felt of his vertebrae spinal,
Expecting he'd surely succumb,
And gave him one vigorous, final,
Hard prod in the pit of his tum.
But Bonaparte Buckingham Bunting,
At first but a trifle perplexed,
By a change in his manner of grunting
Soon showed he was horribly vexed.
He displayed not a sign of repentance
But spoke, in a dignified tone,
The only consecutive sentence
He uttered. 'Twas: "Lemme alone."
The Moral: The parent that uses
Precaution his folly regrets:
An infant gets all that he chooses,
An infant chews all that he gets.
And colics? He constantly has 'em
So long as his food is the best,
But he'll swallow with never a spasm
What ostriches couldn't digest.
_Guy Wetmore Carryl_.
FAITHLESS NELLY GRAY
Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war's alarms:
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
So he laid down his arms!
Now, as they bore him off the field,
Said he, "Let others shoot,
For here I leave my second leg,
And the Forty-second Foot!"
The army surgeons made him limbs:
Said he, "They're only pegs;
But there's as wooden members quite,
As represent my legs!"
Now Ben he loved a pretty maid,
Her name was Nelly Gray;
So he went to pay her his devours
When he'd devoured his pay!
But when he called on Nelly Gray,
She made him quite a scoff;
And when she saw his wooden legs,
Began to take them off!
"O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!
Is this your love so warm?
The love that loves a scarlet coat,
Should be more uniform!"
Said she, "I loved a soldier once,
For he was blithe and brave;
But I will never have a man
With both legs in the grave!"
"Before you had those timber toes,
Your love I did allow,
But then you know, you stand upon
Another footing now!"
"O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!
For all your jeering speeches,
At duty's call I left my legs
In Badajos's breaches!"
"Why, then," said she, "you've lost the feet
Of legs in war's alarms,
And now you cannot wear your shoes
Upon your feats of arms!"
"Oh, false and fickle Nelly Gray;
I know why you refuse:
Though I've no feet--some other man
Is standing in my shoes!"
"I wish I ne'er had seen your face;
But now a long farewell!
For you will be my death--alas!
You will not be my Nell!"
Now, when he went from Nelly Gray,
His heart so heavy got--
And life was such a burden grown,
It made him take a knot!
So round his melancholy neck
A rope he did entwine,
And, for his second time in life
Enlisted in the Line!
One end he tied around a beam,
And then removed his pegs,
And as his legs were off,--of course,
He soon was off his legs!
And there he hung till he was dead
As any nail in town,--
For though distress had cut him up,
It could not cut him down!
A dozen men sat on his corpse,
To find out why he died--
And they buried Ben in four cross-roads,
With a stake in his inside!
THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN
By the side of a murmuring stream an elderly gentleman sat.
On the top of his head was a wig, and a-top of his wig was his hat.
The wind it blew high and blew strong, as the elderly gentleman sat;
And bore from his head in a trice, and plunged in the river his hat.
The gentleman then took his cane which lay by his side as he sat;
And he dropped in the river his wig, in attempting to get out his
His breast it grew cold with despair, and full in his eye madness
So he flung in the river his cane to swim with his wig, and his hat.
Cool reflection at last came across while this elderly gentleman
So he thought he would follow the stream and look for his cane, wig,
His head being thicker than common, o'er-balanced the rest of his
And in plumped this son of a woman to follow his wig, cane, and hat.
Prope ripam fluvii solus
A senex silently sat;
Super capitum ecce his wig,
Et wig super, ecce his hat.
Blew Zephyrus alte, acerbus,
Dum elderly gentleman sat;
Et a capite took up quite torve
Et in rivum projecit his hat.
Tunc soft maledixit the old man,
Tunc stooped from the bank where he sat
Et cum scipio poked in the water,
Conatus servare his hat.
Blew Zephyrus alte, acerbus,
The moment it saw him at that;
Et whisked his novum scratch wig
In flumen, along with his hat.
Ab imo pectore damnavit
In coeruleus eye dolor sat;
Tunc despairingly threw in his cane
Nare cum his wig and his hat.
Contra bonos mores, don't swear
It 'est wicked you know (verbum sat),
Si this tale habet no other moral
Mehercle! You're gratus to that!
_James Appleton Morgan_.
In candent ire the solar splendor flames;
The foles, languescent, pend from arid rames;
His humid front the cive, anheling, wipes,
And dreams of erring on ventiferous ripes.
How dulce to vive occult to mortal eyes,
Dorm on the herb with none to supervise,
Carp the suave berries from the crescent vine,
And bibe the flow from longicaudate kine.
To me also, no verdurous visions come
Save you exiguous pool's confervascum,--
No concave vast repeats the tender hue
That laves my milk-jug with celestial blue.
Me wretched! Let me curr to quercine shades!
Effund your albid hausts, lactiferous maids!
Oh, might I vole to some umbrageous chump,--
_O. W. Holmes_.
A HOLIDAY TASK
Qui nunc dancere vult modo
Wants to dance in the fashion, oh!
Discere debet--ought to know,
Kickere floor cum heel et toe
One, two three,
Hop with me,
Whirligig, twirligig, rapide.
Polkam jungere, Virgo, vis,
Will you join the Polka, Miss?
Sic agimus--then let us try:
Skip with me,
Whirlabout, roundabout, celere.
Tum laeva cito, tum dextra
First to the left, and then t' other way;
Aspice retro in vultu,
You look at her, and she looks at you.
Change hands ma'am
Celere--run away, just in sham.
_Gilbert Abbott a Becket_.
PUER EX JERSEY
Puer ex Jersey
Iens ad school;
Vidit in meadow,
O magnus sorrow!
Puer it skyward.
Funus ad morrow.
Qui vidit a thing
Non ei well-known,
Est bene for him
Relinqui id alone.
THE LITTLE PEACH
Une petite peche dans un orchard fleurit,
Attendez a mon narration triste!
Une petite peche verdante fleurit.
Grace a chaleur de soleil, et moisture de miste.
Il fleurit, il fleurit,
Attendez a mon narration triste!
Signes dures pour les deux,
Petit Jean et sa soeur Sue,
Et la peche d'une verdante hue,
Qui fleurit, qui fleurit,
Attendez a mon narration triste!
Monsieur McGinte allait en has jusqu'an fond du mer,
Ils ne l'ont pas encore trouve
Je crois qu'il est certainement mouille.
Monsieur McGinte, je le repete, allait jusqu'au fond du mer,
Habille dans sa meilleure costume.
_YE LAYE OF YE WOODPECKORE_
O whither goest thou, pale student
Within the wood so fur?
Art on the chokesome cherry bent?
Dost seek the chestnut burr?
O it is not for the mellow chestnut
That I so far am come,
Nor yet for puckery cherries, but
A blossom hangs the choke-cherry
And eke the chestnut burr,
And thou a silly fowl must be,
Thou red-head wood-peckere.
Turn back, turn back, thou pale student,
Nor in the forest go;
There lurks beneath his bosky tent
The deadly mosquito,
And there the wooden-chuck doth tread,
And from the oak-tree's top
The red, red squirrels on thy head
The frequent acorn drop.
The wooden-chuck is next of kin
Unto the wood-peckere:
I fear not thine ill-boding din,
And why should I fear her?
What though a score of acorns drop
And squirrels' fur be red!
'Tis not so ruddy as thy top--
So scarlet as thy head.
O rarely blooms the Cypripe-
dium upon its stalk;
And like a torch it shines to me
Adown the dark wood-walk.
O joy to pluck it from the ground,
To view the purple sac,
To touch the sessile stigma's round--
And shall I then turn back?
O black and shining is the log
That feeds the sumptuous weed,
Nor stone is found nor bedded log
Where foot may well proceed.
Midmost it glimmers in the mire
Like Jack o' Lanthorn's spark,
Lighting, with phosphorescent fire,
The green umbrageous dark.
There while thy thirsty glances drink
The fair and baneful plant,
Thy shoon within the ooze shall sink
And eke thine either pant.
Give o'er, give o'er, thou wood-peckore;
The bark upon the tree,
Thou, at thy will, mayst peck and bore
But peck and bore not me.
Full two long hours I've searched about
And 't would in sooth be rum,
If I should now go back without
Farewell! Farewell! But this I tell
To thee, thou pale student,
Ere dews have fell, thou'lt rue it well
That woodward thou didst went:
Then whilst thou blows the drooping nose
And wip'st the pensive eye--
There where the sad _symplocarpus foetidus_ grows,
Then think--O think of I!
Loud flouted there that student wight
Solche warnynge for to hear;
"I scorn, old hen, thy threats of might,
And eke thine ill grammere."
"Go peck the lice (or green or red)
That swarm the bass-wood tree,
But wag no more thine addled head
Nor clack thy tongue at me."
The wood-peck turned to whet her beak,
The student heard her drum,
As through the wood he went to seek
Alas! and for that pale student:
The evening bell did ring,
And down the walk the Freshmen went
Unto the prayer-meeting;
Upon the fence loud rose the song,
The weak, weak tea was o'er--
Ha! who is he that sneaks along
Into South Middle's door?
The mud was on his shoon, and O!
The briar was in his thumb,
His staff was in his hand but no--
_Henry A. Beers_.
_COLLUSION BETWEEN A ALEGAITER AND A WATER-SNAIK_
There is a niland on a river lying,
Which runs into Gautimaly, a warm country,
Lying near the Tropicks, covered with sand;
Hear and their a symptum of a Wilow,
Hanging of its umberagious limbs & branches
Over the clear streme meandering far below.
This was the home of the now silent Alegaiter,
When not in his other element confine'd:
Here he wood set upon his eggs asleep
With 1 ey observant of flis and other passing
Objects: a while it kept a going on so:
Fereles of danger was the happy Alegaiter!
But a las! in a nevil our he was fourced to
Wake! that dreme of Blis was two sweet for him.
1 morning the sun arose with unusool splender
Whitch allso did our Alegaiter, coming from the water,
His scails a flinging of the rais of the son back,
To the fountain-head which tha originly sprung from,
But having not had nothing to eat for some time, he
Was slepy and gap'd, in a short time, widely.
Unfoalding soon a welth of perl-white teth,
The rais of the son soon shet his sinister ey
Because of their mutool splendor and warmth.
The evil Our (which I sed) was now come;
Evidently a good chans for a water-snaik
Of the large specie, which soon appeared
Into the horison, near the bank where reposed
Calmly in slepe the Alegaiter before spoken of.
About 60 feet was his Length (not the 'gaiter)
And he was aperiently a well-proportioned snaik.
When he was all ashore he glared upon
The iland with approval, but was soon
"Astonished with the view and lost to wonder" (from Wats)
(For jest then he began to see the Alegaiter)
Being a nateral enemy of his'n, he worked hisself
Into a fury, also a ni position.
Before the Alegaiter well could ope
His eye (in other words perceive his danger)
The Snaik had enveloped his body just 19
Times with "foalds voluminous and vast" (from Milton)
And had tore off several scails in the confusion,
Besides squeazing him awfully into his stomoc.
Just then, by a fortinate turn in his affairs,
He ceazed into his mouth the careless tale
Of the unreflecting water-snaik! Grown desperate
He, finding that his tale was fast squesed
Terrible while they roaled all over the iland.
It was a well-conduckted Affair; no noise
Disturbed the harmony of the seen, ecsept
Onct when a Willow was snaped into by the roaling.
Eeach of the combatence hadn't a minit for holering.
So the conflick was naterally tremenjous!
But soon by grate force the tail was bit complete-
Ly of; but the eggzeration was too much
For his delicate Constitootion; he felt a compression
Onto his chest and generally over his body;
When he ecspressed his breathing, it was with
Grate difficulty that he felt inspired again onct more.
Of course this state must suffer a revolootion.
So the alegaiter give but one yel, and egspired.
The water-snaik realed hisself off, & survay'd
For say 10 minits, the condition of
His fo: then wondering what made his tail hurt,
He slowly went off for to cool.
_J. W. Morris_.
_ODD TO A KROKIS_
Selestial apoley which Didest inspire.
the souls of burns and pop with sackred fir.
Kast thy Mantil over me When i shal sing,
the praiz Of A sweat flower who grows in spring
Which has of late kome under the Fokis.
of My eyes. It is called a krokis.
Sweat lovly prety littil sweat Thing,
you bloometh before The lairicks on High sing,
thy lefs are neithir Red Nor yelly.
but Just betwixt the two you hardy felly.
i fear youl yet be Nippit with the frost.
As Maney a one has known to there kost.
you should have not kome out in such a hurrey.
As this is only the Month of Febrywurrey.
and you may expick yet Much bad wethir.
when all your blads will krunkil up like Burnt leather.
alas. alas. theres Men which tries to rime,
who have like you kome out befor there time.
The Moril of My peese depend upon it.
is good so here i End my odd or sonit.
_SOME VERSES TO SNAIX_
Prodiggus reptile! long and skaly kuss!
You are the dadrattedest biggest thing I ever
Seed that cud ty itself into a double bo-
Not, and cum all strate again in a
Minnit or so, without winkin or seemin
To experience any particular pane
In the diafram.
Stoopenjus inseck! marvelous annimile!
You are no doubt seven thousand yeres
Old, and hav a considerable of a
Family sneekin round thru the tall
Gras in Africa, a eetin up little greezy
Niggers, and wishin they was biggir.
I wonder how big yu was when yu
Was a inphant about 2 fete long. I
Expec yu was a purty good size, and
Lived on phrogs, and lizzerds, and polly-
Wogs and sutch things.
You are havin' a nice time now, ennyhow--
Don't have nothing to do but lay oph.
And etc kats and rabbits, and stic
Out yure tung and twist yur tale.
I wunder if yu ever swollered a man
Without takin oph his butes. If there was
Brass buttins on his kote, I spose
Yu had ter swaller a lot of buttin-
Wholes, and a shu--hamer to nock
The soals oph of the boots and drive in
The tax, so that they wouldn't kut yure
Inside. I wunder if vittles taste
Good all the way down. I expec so--
At leest, fur 6 or 7 fete.
You are so mighty long, I shud thynk
If your tale was kold, yure hed
Woodent no it till the next day,
But it's hard tu tell: snaix is snaix.
_A GREAT MAN_
Ye muses, pour the pitying tear
For Pollio snatch'd away:
For had he liv'd another year!
--He had not dy'd to-day.
O, were he born to bless mankind,
In virtuous times of yore,
Heroes themselves had fallen behind!
--Whene'er he went before.
How sad the groves and plains appear,
And sympathetic sheep:
Even pitying hills would drop a tear!
--If hills could learn to weep.
His bounty in exalted strain
Each bard might well display:
Since none implor'd relief in vain!
--That went reliev'd away.
And hark! I hear the tuneful throng;
His obsequies forbid.
He still shall live, shall live as long
--As ever dead man did.
_On the Glory of her Sex, Mrs. Mary Blaize_
Good people all, with one accord,
Lament for Madam Blaize,
Who never wanted a good word--
From those who spoke her praise.
The needy seldom pass'd her door,
And always found her kind;
She freely lent to all the poor--
Who left a pledge behind.
She strove the neighborhood to please
With manners wondrous winning;
And never follow'd wicked ways--
Unless when she was sinning.
At church, in silks and satins new,
With hoop of monstrous size,
She never slumber'd in her pew--
But when she shut her eyes.
Her love was sought, I do aver,
By twenty beaux and more;
The King himself has follow'd her--
When she has walk'd before.
But now, her wealth and finery fled,
Her hangers-on cut short all;
The doctors found, when she was dead--
Her last disorder mortal.
Let us lament, in sorrow sore,
For Kent Street well may say,
That had she lived a twelvemonth more--
She had not died to-day.
A quiet home had Parson Gray,
Secluded in a vale;
His daughters all were feminine,
And all his sons were male.
How faithfully did Parson Gray
The bread of life dispense--
Well "posted" in theology,
And post and rail his fence.
'Gainst all the vices of the age
He manfully did battle;
His chickens were a biped breed,
And quadruped his cattle.
No clock more punctually went,
He ne'er delayed a minute--
Nor ever empty was his purse,
When he had money in it.
His piety was ne'er denied;
His truths hit saint and sinner;
At morn he always breakfasted;
He always dined at dinner.
He ne'er by any luck was grieved,
By any care perplexed--
No filcher he, though when he preached,
He always "took" a text.
As faithful characters he drew
As mortal ever saw;
But ah! poor parson! when he died,
His breath he could not draw!
_AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG_
Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wondrous short,--
It cannot hold you long.
In Islington there was a man,
Of whom the world might say
That still a godly race he ran,--
Whene'er he went to pray.
A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,--
When he put on his clothes.
And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.
The dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad, and bit the man.
Around from all the neighboring streets,
The wondering neighbors ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits
To bite so good a man.
The wound it seemed both sore and sad
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad
They swore the man would die.
But soon a wonder came to light,
That showed the rogues they lied;
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that died.
_THE WONDERFUL OLD MAN_
There was an old man
Who lived on a common
And, if fame speaks true,
He was born of a woman.
Perhaps you will laugh,
But for truth I've been told
He once was an infant
Tho' age made him old.
Whene'er he was hungry
He longed for some meat;
And if he could get it
'T was said he would eat.
When thirsty he'd drink
If you gave him a pot,
And what he drank mostly
Ran down his throat.
He seldom or never
Could see without light,
And yet I've been told he
Could hear in the night.
He has oft been awake
In the daytime, 't is said,
And has fallen asleep
As he lay in his bed.
'T is reported his tongue
Always moved when he talk'd,
And he stirred both his arms
And his legs when he walk'd;
And his gait was so odd
Had you seen him you 'd burst,
For one leg or t' other
Would always be first.
His face was the drollest
That ever was seen,
For if 't was not washed
It seldom was clean;
His teeth he expos'd when
He happened to grin,
And his mouth stood across
'Twixt his nose and his chin.
When this whimsical chap
Had a river to pass,
If he couldn't get over
He stayed where he was.
'T is said he ne'er ventured
To quit the dry ground,
Yet so great was his luck
He never was drowned.
At last he fell sick,
As old chronicles tell,
And then, as folks say,
He was not very well.
But what was as strange
In so weak a condition,
As he could not give fees
He could get no physician.
What wonder he died!
Yet 't is said that his death
Was occasioned at last
By the loss of his breath.
But peace to his bones
Which in ashes now moulder.
Had he lived a day longer
He'd have been a day older.
Once--but no matter when--
There lived--no matter where--
A man, whose name--but then
I need not that declare.
He--well, he had been born,
And so he was alive;
His age--I details scorn--
Was somethingty and five.
He lived--how many years
I truly can't decide;
But this one fact appears
He lived--until he died.
"He died," I have averred,
But cannot prove 't was so,
But that he was interred,
At any rate, I know.
I fancy he'd a son,
I hear he had a wife:
Perhaps he'd more than one,
I know not, on my life!
But whether he was rich,
Or whether he was poor,
Or neither--both--or which,
I cannot say, I'm sure.
I can't recall his name,
Or what he used to do:
But then--well, such is fame!
'T will so serve me and you.
And that is why I thus,
About this unknown man
Would fain create a fuss,
To rescue, if I can.
From dark oblivion's blow,
Some record of his lot:
But, ah! I do not know
In this brief pedigree
A moral we should find--
But what it ought to be
Has quite escaped my mind!
_ON THE OXFORD CARRIER_
Here lieth one, who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny never to rot
While he might still jog on and keep his trot;
Made of sphere metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time,
And like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest, that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm,
Too long vacation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
"Nay," quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch'd,
"If I mayn't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetch'd,
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers."
Ease was his chief disease; and to judge right,
He died for heaviness that his cart went light:
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome.
That even to his last breath (there be that say't),
As he were press'd to death, he cried, "More weight;"
But, had his doings lasted as they were,
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Link'd to the mutual flowing of the seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wane was his increase:
His letters are deliver'd all, and gone,
Only remains the superscription.
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn
through a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine,
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower
that flickers with fear of the flies as they float,
Are they looks of our lovers that lustrously lean from a marvel
of mystic miraculous moonshine,
These that we feel in the blood of our blushes that thicken and
threaten with sobs from the throat?
Thicken and thrill as a theatre thronged at appeal of an actor's
Fainter with fear of the fires of the future than pale with the
promise of pride in the past;
Flushed with the famishing fulness of fever that reddens with
radiance of rathe recreation,
Gaunt as the ghastliest of glimpses that gleam through the gloom
of the gloaming when ghosts go aghast?
Nay, for the nick of the tick of the time is a tremulous touch
on the temples of terror,
Strained as the sinews yet strenuous with strife of the dead who
is dumb as the dust-heaps of death:
Surely no soul is it, sweet as the spasm of erotic emotional
Bathed in the balms of beatified bliss, beatific itself by
Surely no spirit or sense of a soul that was soft to the spirit
and soul of our senses
Sweetens the stress of suspiring suspicion that sobs in the
semblance and sound of a sigh;
Only this oracle opens Olympian, in mystical moods and
Life is the lust of a lamp for the light that is dark till the
dawn of the day when we die.
Mild is the mirk and monotonous music of memory melodiously mute
as it may be,
While the hope in the heart of a hero is bruised by the breach of
men's rapiers resigned to the rod;
Made meek as a mother whose bosom--beats bound with the bliss--
bringing bulk of a balm--breathing baby,
As they grope through the grave-yards of creeds, under skies
growing green'at a groan for the grimness of God.
Blank is the book of his bounty beholden of old and its binding
is blacker than bluer:
Out of blue into black is the scheme of the skies, and their
dews are the wine of the bloodshed of things;
Till the darkling desire of delight shall be free as a fawn that
is freed from the fangs that pursue her,
Till the heart-beats of hell shall be hushed by a hymn from the
hunt that has harried the kernel of kings.
_A. C. Swinburne,
in "The Heptalogia_."
_MARTIN LUTHER AT POTSDAM_
What lightning shall light it? What thunder shall tell it?
In the height of the height, in the depth of the deep?
Shall the sea--storm declare it, or paint it, or smell it?
Shall the price of a slave be its treasure to keep?
When the night has grown near with the gems on her bosom,
When the white of mine eyes is the whiteness of snow,
When the cabman--in liquor--drives a blue roan, a kicker,
Into the land of the dear long ago.
Ah!--Ah, again!--You will come to me, fall on me--
You are _so_ heavy, and I am _so_ flat.
And I? I shall not be at home when you call on me,
But stray down the wind like a gentleman's hat:
I shall list to the stars when the music is purple,
Be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled into rings;
Turn to sparks, and then straightway get stuck in the gateway
That stands between speech and unspeakable things.
As I mentioned before, by what light is it lighted?
Oh! Is it fourpence, or piebald, or gray?
Is it a mayor that a mother has knighted,
Or is it a horse of the sun and the day?
Is it a pony? If so, who will change it?
O golfer, be quiet, and mark where it scuds,
And think of its paces--of owners and races--
Relinquish the links for the study of studs.
Not understood? Take me hence! Take me yonder!
Take me away to the land of my rest--
There where the Ganges and other gees wander,
And uncles and antelopes act for the best,
And all things are mixed and run into each other
In a violet twilight of virtues and sins,
With the church-spires below you and no one to show you
Where the curate leaves off and the pew-rent begins!
In the black night through the rank grass the snakes peer--
The cobs and the cobras are partial to grass--
And a boy wanders out with a knowledge of Shakespeare
That's not often found in a boy of his class,
And a girl wanders out without any knowledge,
And a bird wanders out, and a cow wanders out,
Likewise one wether, and they wander together--
There's a good deal of wandering lying about.
But it's all for the best; I've been told by my friends, Sir,
That in verses I'd written the meaning was slight;
I've tried with no meaning--to make 'em amends, Sir--
And find that this kind's still more easy to write.
The title has nothing to do with the verses,
But think of the millions--the laborers who
In busy employment find deepest enjoyment,
And yet, like my title, have nothing to do!
I know not of what we ponder'd
Or made pretence to talk,
As, her hand within mine, we wander'd
Tow'rd the pool by the limetree walk,
While the dew fell in showers from the passion flowers
And the blush-rose bent on her stalk.
I cannot recall her figure:
Was it regal as Juno's own?
Or only a trifle bigger
Than the elves who surround the throne
Of the Faery Queen, and are seen, I ween,
By mortals in dreams alone?
What her eyes were like, I know not:
Perhaps they were blurred with tears;
And perhaps in your skies there glow not
(On the contrary) clearer spheres.
No as to her eyes I am just as wise
As you or the cat, my dears.
Her teeth, I presume, were "pearly":
But which was she, brunette or blonde?
Her hair, was it quaintly curly,
Or as straight as a beadle's wand?
That I failed to remark;--it was rather dark
And shadowy round the pond.
Then the hand that reposed so snugly
In mine--was it plump or spare?
Was the countenance fair or ugly?
Nay, children, you have me there!
My eyes were p'raps blurr'd; and besides, I'd heard
That it's horribly rude to stare.
And I--was I brusque and surly?
Or oppressively bland and fond?
Was I partial to rising early?
Or why did we twain abscond,
All breakfastless too, from the public view
To prowl by a misty pond?
What passed, what was felt or spoken--
Whether anything passed at all--
And whether the heart was broken
That beat under that sheltering shawl--
(If shawl she had on, which I doubt)--has gone.
Yes, gone from me past recall.
Was I haply the lady's suitor?
Or her uncle? I can't make out--
Ask your governess, dears, or tutor.
For myself, I'm in hopeless doubt
As to why we were there, and who on earth we were,
And what this is all about.
_C. S. Calverley_.
_THE COCK AND THE BULL_
You see this pebble-stone? It's a thing I bought
Of a bit of a chit of a boy i' the mid o' the day--
I like to dock the smaller parts-o-speech,
As we curtail the already cur-tailed cur
(You catch the paronomasia, play 'po' words?)
Did, rather, i' the pre-Landseerian days.
Well, to my muttons. I purchased the concern,
And clapt it i' my poke, having given for same
By way o' chop, swop, barter or exchange--
"Chop" was my snickering dandiprat's own term--
One shilling and fourpence, current coin o' the realm.
O-n-e one and f-o-u-r four
Pence, one and fourpence--you are with me, sir?--
What hour it skills not: ten or eleven o' the clock,
One day (and what a roaring day it was
Go shop or sight-see--bar a spit o' rain!)
In February, eighteen sixty nine,
Alexandrina Victoria, Fidei,
Hm--hm--how runs the jargon? being on the throne.
Such, sir, are all the facts, succinctly put,
The basis or substratum--what you will--
Of the impending eighty thousand lines.
"Not much in 'em either," quoth perhaps simple Hodge.
But there's a superstructure. Wait a bit.
Mark first the rationale of the thing:
Hear logic rivel and levigate the deed.
That shilling--and for matter o' that, the pence--
I had o' course upo' me--wi' me say--
(_Mecum's_ the Latin, make a note o' that)
When I popp'd pen i' stand, scratched ear, wiped snout,
(Let everybody wipe his own himself)
Sniff'd--tch!--at snuffbox; tumbled up, he-heed,
Haw-haw'd (not he-haw'd, that's another guess thing):
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