The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 5 out of 6

Because 'twas such a crooked path.

But still they followed - do not laugh -
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked,
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And this, before men were aware,
A city's crowded thoroughfare;
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed the zigzag calf about;
And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach,
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah! many things this tale might teach, -
But I am not ordained to preach.

Sam Walter Foss [1858-1911]


"O come and be my mate!" said the Eagle to the Hen;
"I love to soar, but then
I want my mate to rest
Forever in the nest!"
Said the Hen, I cannot fly,
I have no wish to try,
But I joy to see my mate careering through the sky!"
They wed, and cried, "Ah, this is Love, my own!"
And the Hen sat, and the Eagle soared, alone.

"O come and be my mate!" said the Lion to the Sheep;
"My love for you is deep!
I slay, - a Lion should, -
But you are mild and good!"
Said the Sheep, "I do no ill -
Could not, had I the will -
But I joy to see my mate pursue, devour and kill."
They wed, and cried, "Ah, this is Love, my own!"
And the Sheep browsed, the Lion prowled, alone.

"O come and be my mate!" said the Salmon to the Clam;
"You are not wise, but I am.
I know the sea and stream as well;
You know nothing but your shell."
Said the Clam, "I'm slow of motion,
But my love is all devotion,
And I joy to have my mate traverse lake and stream and ocean!"
They wed, and cried, "Ah, this is Love, my own!"
And the Clam sucked, the Salmon swam, alone.

Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman [1860-1935}


A Hindoo died; a happy thing to do,
When fifty years united to a shrew.
Released, he hopefully for entrance cries
Before the gates of Brahma's paradise.
"Hast been through purgatory?" Brahma said.
"I have been married!" and he hung his head.
"Come in! come in! and welcome, too, my son!
Marriage and purgatory are as one."
In bliss extreme he entered heaven's door,
And knew the peace he ne'er had known before.

He scarce had entered in the gardens fair,
Another Hindoo asked admission there.
The self-same question Brahma asked again:
"Hast been through purgatory?" "No; what then?"
"Thou canst not enter!" did the god reply.
"He who went in was there no more than I."
"All that is true, but he has married been,
And so on earth has suffered for all his sin."
"Married? Tis well, for I've been married twice."
"Begone! We'll have no fools, in paradise!"

George Birdseye [1844-1919]

(Fresh From Her Cambridge Examination)

Lady, very fair are you,
And your eyes are very blue,
And your hose;
And your brow is like the snow,
And the various things you know
Goodness knows.

And the rose-flush on your cheek,
And your algebra and Greek
Perfect are;
And that loving lustrous eye
Recognizes in the sky
Every star.

You have pouting piquant lips,
You can doubtless an eclipse
But for your cerulean hue,
I had certainly from you
Met my fate.

If by an arrangement dual
I were Adams mixed with Whewell,
Then some day
I, as wooer, perhaps might come
To so sweet an Artium

Mortimer Collins [1827-1876]


"As like the Woman as you can" -
(Thus the New Adam was beguiled) -
"So shall you touch the Perfect Man" -
(God in the Garden heard and smiled).
"Your father perished with his day:
A clot of passions fierce and blind,
He fought, he hacked, he crushed his way:
Your muscles, Child, must be of mind.

"The Brute that lurks and irks within,
How, till you have him gagged and bound,
Escape the foulest form of Sin?"
(God in the Garden laughed and frowned).
"So vile, so rank, the bestial mood
In which the race is bid to be,
It wrecks the Rarer Womanhood:
Live, therefore, you, for Purity!

"Take for your mate no gallant croup,
No girl all grace and natural will:
To work her mission were to stoop,
Maybe to lapse, from Well to Ill.
Choose one of whom your grosser make" -
(God in the Garden laughed outright) -
"The true refining touch may take,
Till both attain to Life's last height.

"There, equal, purged of soul and sense,
Beneficent, high-thinking, just,
Beyond the appeal of Violence,
Incapable of common Lust,
In mental Marriage still prevail" -
(God in the Garden hid His face) -
"Till you achieve that Female-Male
In which shall culminate the race."

William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]


No fault in women to refuse
The offer which they most would choose:
No fault in women to confess
How tedious they are in their dress:
No fault in women to lay on
The tincture of vermilion,
And there to give the cheek a dye
Of white, where Nature doth deny:
No fault in women to make show
Of largeness, when they're nothing so;
When, true it is, the outside swells
With inward buckram, little else:
No fault in women, though they be
But seldom from suspicion free:
No fault in womankind at all,
If they but slip, and never fall.

Robert Herrick [1591-1674]


"Are women fair?" Ay! wondrous fair to see too.
"Are women sweet?" Yea, passing sweet they be too;
Most fair and sweet to them that only love them;
Chaste and discreet to all save those that prove them.

"Are women wise?" Not wise, but they be witty.
"Are women witty?" Yea, the more the pity;
They are so witty, and in wit so wily,
That be you ne'er so wise, they will beguile ye.

"Are women fools?" Not fools, but fondlings many.
"Can women found be faithful unto any?"
When snow-white swans do turn to color sable,
Then women fond will be both firm and stable.

"Are women saints?" No saints, nor yet no devils.
"Are women good?" Not good, but needful evils;
So Angel-like, that devils I do not doubt them;
So needful evils, that few can live without them.

"Are women proud?" Ay! passing proud, and praise them.
"Are women kind?" Ay! wondrous kind and please them,
Or so imperious, no man can endure them,
Or so kind-hearted, any may procure them.

Francis Davison (?) [fl. 1602]


Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a lad of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains:

So it is with these fair creatures,
Use them kindly, they rebel;
But be rough as nutmeg graters,
And the rogues obey you well.

Aaron Hill [1685-1750]

From "Women Pleased"

Tell me what is that only thing
For which all women long;
Yet, having what they most desire,
To have it does them wrong?

'Tis not to be chaste, nor fair,
(Such gifts malice may impair),
Richly trimmed, to walk or ride,
Or to wanton unespied,
To preserve an honest name
And so to give it up to fame -
These are toys. In good or ill
They desire to have their will:
Yet, when they have it, they abuse it,
For they know not how to use it.

John Fletcher [1579-1625]


All women born are so perverse
No man need boast their love possessing.
If naught seem better, nothing's worse:
All women born are so perverse.
From Adam's wife, that proved a curse,
Though God had made her for a blessing,
All women born are so perverse
No man need boast their love possessing.

Robert Bridges [1844-1930]


Forty Viziers saw I go
Up to the Seraglio,
Burning, each and every man,
For the fair Circassian.

Ere the morn had disappeared,
Every Vizier wore a beard;
Ere the afternoon was born,
Every Vizier came back shorn.

"Let the man that woos to win
Woo with an unhairy chin;"
Thus she said, and as she bid
Each devoted Vizier did.

From the beards a cord she made,
Looped it to the balustrade,
Glided down and went away
To her own Circassia.

When the Sultan heard, waxed he
Somewhat wroth, and presently
In the noose themselves did lend
Every Vizier did suspend.

Sages all, this rhyme who read,
Guard your beards with prudent heed,
And beware the wily plans
Of the fair Circassians.

Richard Garnett [1835-1906]


Thus Kitty, beautiful and young,
And wild as colt untamed,
Bespoke the fair from whence she sprung,
With little rage inflamed:

Inflamed with rage at sad restraint,
Which wise mamma ordained;
And sorely vexed to play the saint,
Whilst wit and beauty reigned:

"Shall I thumb holy books, confined
With Abigails, forsaken?
Kitty's for other things designed,
Or I am much mistaken.

"Must Lady Jenny frisk about,
And visit with her cousins?
At balls must she make all the rout,
And bring home hearts by dozens?

"What has she better, pray, than I,
What hidden charms to boast,
That all mankind for her should die,
Whilst I am scarce a toast?

"Dearest mamma! for once let me,
Unchained, my fortune try;
I'll have my earl as well as she,
Or know the reason why.

"I'll soon with Jenny's pride quit score,
Make all her lovers fall:
They'll grieve I was not loosed before;
She, I was loosed at all."

Fondness prevailed, mamma gave way;
Kitty, at heart's desire,
Obtained the chariot for a day,
And set the world on fire.

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]


"What bait do you use," said a Saint to the Devil,
"When you fish where the souls of men abound?"
"Well, for special tastes," said the King of Evil,
"Gold and Fame are the best I've found."

"But for general use?" asked the Saint. "Ah, then,"
Said the Demon, "I angle for Man, not men,
And a thing I hate
Is to change my bait,
So I fish with a woman the whole year round."

John Boyle O'Reilly [1844-1890]


When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside;
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can;
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the other's tale -
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations - worm and savage otherwise, -
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger - Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue - to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions - not in these her honor dwells.
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions - in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies! -
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges - even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons - even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish - like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice - which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern - shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]


She is not old, she is not young,
The woman with the Serpent's Tongue,
The haggard cheek, the hungering eye,
The poisoned words that wildly fly,
The famished face, the fevered hand, -
Who slights the worthiest in the land,
Sneers at the just, contemns the brave,
And blackens goodness in its grave.

In truthful numbers be she sung,
The Woman with the Serpent's Tongue;
Concerning whom, Fame hints at things
Told but in shrugs and whisperings:
Ambitious from her natal hour,
And scheming all her life for power;
With little left of seemly pride;
With venomed fangs she cannot hide;
Who half makes love to you to-day,

To-morrow gives her guest away.
Burnt up within by that strange soul
She cannot slake, or yet control:
Malignant-lipped, unkind, unsweet;
Past all example indiscreet;
Hectic, and always overstrung, -
The Woman with the Serpent's Tongue.

To think that such as she can mar
Names that among the noblest are!
That hands like hers can touch the springs
That move who knows what men and things?
That on her will their fates have hung! -
The Woman with the Serpent's Tongue.

William Watson [1858-1935]


How sad if, by some strange new law,
All kisses scarred!
For she who is most beautiful
Would be most marred.

And we might be surprised to see
Some lovely wife
Smooth-visaged, while a seeming prude
Was marked for life.

Anne Reeve Aldrich [1866-1892]


As Tom and his wife were discoursing one day
Of their several faults in a bantering way,
Said she, "Though my wit you disparage,
I'm sure, my dear husband, our friends will attest
This much, at the least, that my judgment is best."
Quoth Tom, "So they said at our marriage."

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]


The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter "Little Prig;"
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.

I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on thy back,
Neither can you crack a nut.

Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803-1882]


That man's a fool who tries by art and skill
To stem the torrent of a woman's will:
For if she will, she will; you may depend on't -
And if she won't, she won't - and there's an end on't.



Men, dying, make their wills, but wives
Escape a task so sad;
Why should they make what all their lives
The gentle dames have had?

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]


Alas, how soon the hours are over
Counted us out to play the lover!
And how much narrower is the stage
Allotted us to play the sage!

But when we play the fool, how wide
The theatre expands! beside,
How long the audience sits before us!
How many prompters! what a chorus!

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]


I sent for Ratcliffe; was so ill,
That other doctors gave me over:
He felt my pulse, prescribed his pill,
And I was likely to recover.

But, when the wit began to wheeze,
And wine had warmed the politician,
Cured yesterday of my disease,
I died last night of my physician.

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]


The net of law is spread so wide,
No sinner from its sweep may hide.

Its meshes are so fine and strong,
They take in every child of wrong.

O wondrous web of mystery!
Big fish alone escape from thee!

James Jeffrey Roche [1847-1908]


In Koln, a town of monks and bones,
And pavements fanged with murderous stones,
And rags, and hags, and hideous wenches;
I counted two and seventy stenches,
All well defined, and several stinks!
Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks,
The river Rhine, it is well known,
Doth wash your city of Cologne;
But tell me, Nymphs! what power divine
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King,
Whose word no man relies on,
Who never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.

John Wilmot [1647-1680]


If It be pleasant to look on, stalled in the packed serai,
Does not the Young Man try Its temper and pace ere he buy?
If She be pleasant to look on, what does the Young Man say?
"Lo! She is pleasant to look on, give Her to me today!"

Yea, though a Kaffir die, to him is remitted Jehannum
If he borrowed in life from a native at sixty per cent per annum.

Blister we not for bursati? So when the heart is vexed,
The pain of one maiden's refusal is drowned in the pain of the next.

The temper of chums, the love of your wife, and a new piano's tune -
Which of the three will you trust at the end of an Indian June?

Who are the rulers of Ind - to whom shall we bow the knee?
Make your peace with the women, and men will make you L. G.

Does the woodpecker flit round the young ferash?
Does the grass clothe a new-built wall?
Is she under thirty, the woman who holds a boy in her thrall?

If She grow suddenly gracious - reflect. Is it all for thee?
The black-buck is stalked through the bullock, and Man through jealousy.

Seek not for favor of women. So shall you find it indeed.
Does not the boar break cover just when you're lighting a weed?

If He play, being young and unskilful, for shekels of silver and gold,
Take His money, my son, praising Allah. The kid was ordained to be sold.

With a "weed" among men or horses verily this is the best,
That you work him in office or dog-cart lightly - but give him no rest.

Pleasant the snaffle of Courtship, improving the manners and carriage;
But the colt who is wise will abstain from the terrible thornbit
of Marriage.

As the thriftless gold of the babul, so is the gold that we spend
On a Derby Sweep, or our neighbor's wife, or the horse that we buy
from a friend.

The ways of a man with a maid be strange, yet simple and tame
To the ways of a man with a horse, when selling or racing that same.

In public Her face turneth to thee, and pleasant Her smile when ye meet.
It is ill. The cold rocks of El-Gidar smile thus on the waves at
their feet.
In public Her face is averted, with anger She nameth thy name.
It is well. Was there ever a loser content with the loss of the game?

If She have spoken a word, remember thy lips are sealed,
And the Brand of the Dog is upon him by whom is the secret revealed.
If She have written a letter, delay not an instant, but burn it.
Tear it in pieces, O Fool, and the wind to her mate shall return it!
If there be trouble to Herward, and a lie of the blackest can clear,
Lie, while thy lips can move or a man is alive to hear.

My Son, if a maiden deny thee and scufflingly bid thee give o'er,
Yet lip meets with lip at the lastward - get out!
She has been there before.
They are pecked on the ear and the chin and the nose
who are lacking in lore.

If we fall in the race, though we win, the hoof-slide is scarred
on the course.
Though Allah and Earth pardon Sin, remaineth forever Remorse.

"By all I am misunderstood!" if the Matron shall say, or the Maid: -
"Alas! I do not understand," my son, be thou nowise afraid.
In vain in the sight of the Bird is the net of the Fowler displayed.

My Son, if I, Hafiz, thy father, take hold of thy knees in my pain,
Demanding thy name on stamped paper, one day or one hour - refrain.
Are the links of thy fetters so light that thou cravest
another man's chain?

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]


Them ez wants, must choose.
Them ez hez, must lose.
Them ez knows, won't blab.
Them ez guesses, will gab.
Them ez borrows, sorrows.
Them ez lends, spends.
Them ez gives, lives.
Them ez keeps dark, is deep.
Them ez kin earn; kin keep.
Them ez aims, hits.
Them ez hez, gits.
Them ez waits, win.
Them ez will, kin.

Edward Rowland Sill [1841-1887]


What is an epigram? a dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


As in smooth oil the razor best is whet,
So wit is by politeness sharpest set;
Their want of edge from their offence is seen,
Both pain the heart when exquisitely keen.



"I hardly ever ope my lips," one cries;
"Simonides, what think you of my rule?"
"If you're a fool, I think you're very wise;
If you are wise, I think you are a fool."

Richard Garnett [1835-1906]


Philosopher, whom dost thou most affect,
Stoics austere, or Epicurus' sect?
Friend, 'tis my grave infrangible design
With those to study, and with these to dine.

Richard Garnett [1835-1906]


Joy is the blossom, sorrow is the fruit,
Of human life; and worms are at the root.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]


No truer word, save God's, was ever spoken,
Than that the largest heart is soonest broken.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]


This house, where once a lawyer dwelt,
Is now a smith's. Alas!
How rapidly the iron age
Succeeds the age of brass!

William Erskine [1769-1822]


"I would," says Fox, "a tax devise
That shall not fall on me."
"Then tax receipts," Lord North replies,
"For those you never see."

Richard Brinsley Sheridan [1751-1816]


You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come.
Knock as you please, - there's nobody at home.

Alexander Pope [1688-1744]


If a man who turnips cries
Cry not when his father dies,
'Tis a proof that he would rather
Have a turnip than a father.

Samuel Johnson [1709-1784]


Life is a jest, and all things show it;
I said so once, and now I know it.

John Gay [1685-1732]


I am his Highness' dog at Kew.
Pray, sir, tell me, - whose dog are you?

Alexander Pope [1688-1744]


Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


Damis, an author cold and weak,
Thinks as a critic he's divine;
Likely enough; we often make
Good vinegar of sorry wine.



Swans sing before they die - 'twere no bad thing
Did certain persons die before they sing.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


He who in his pocket hath no money
Should, in his mouth, be never without honey.



Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
The son of Adam and of Eve;
Can Bourbon or Nassau claim higher?

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]


Here lie I, Martin Elginbrodde;
Hae mercy o' my soul, Lord God,
As I wad do were I Lord God,
And ye were Martin Elginbrodde.

George Macdonald [1824-1905]


Who killed Kildare? Who dared Kildare to kill?
Death killed Kildare - who dare kill whom he will.

Jonathan Swift [1667-1745]


With death doomed to grapple,
Beneath the cold slab he
Who lied in the chapel
Now lies in the abbey.

Byron's epitaph for Pitt


When doctrines meet with general approbation,
It is not heresy, but reformation.

David Garrick [1717-1779]


Treason doth never prosper; what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

John Harington [1561-1612]


God bless the King - I mean the faith's defender!
God bless (no harm in blessing!) the Pretender!
But who pretender is, or who is King -
God bless us all! - that's quite another thing.

John Byrom [1692-1763]


'Tis highly rational, we can't dispute,
The Love, being naked, should promote a suit:
But doth not oddity to him attach
Whose fire's so oft extinguished by a match?

Richard Garnett [1835-1906]


"Come, come," said Tom's father, "at your time of life,
There's no longer excuse for thus playing the rake. -
It is time you should think, boy, of taking a wife." -
Why, so it is, father, - whose wife shall I take?"

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


When Eve upon the first of men
The apple pressed with specious cant,
O, what a thousand pities then
That Adam was not Adam-ant!

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


Whilst Adam slept, Eve from his side arose:
Strange! his first sleep should be his last repose!



"What? rise again with all one's bones,"
Quoth Giles, "I hope you fib:
I trusted, when I went to Heaven,
To go without my rib.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


Here lies my wife: here let her lie!
Now she's at rest, and so am I.

John Dryden [1631-1700]


After such years of dissension and strife,
Some wonder that Peter should weep for his wife;
But his tears on her grave are nothing surprising, -
He's laying her dust, for fear of its rising.

Thomas Hood [1799-1845]


I change, and so do women too;
But I reflect, which women never do.



A lovely young lady I mourn in my rhymes:
She was pleasant, good-natured, and civil sometimes.
Her figure was good: she had very fine eyes,
And her talk was a mixture of foolish and wise.
Her adorers were many, and one of them said,
"She waltzed rather well! It's a pity she's dead!"

George John Cayley [ ? ]


And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells talk to the Cabots
And the Cabots talk only to God.

John Collins Bossidy [1860-1928]


Here's to the town of New Haven,
The home of the Truth and the Light,
Where God talks to Jones in the very same tones
That He uses with Hadley and Dwight!

Frederick Scheetz Jones [1862-


We are very slightly changed
From the semi-apes who ranged
India's prehistoric clay;
Whoso drew the longest bow,
Ran his brother down, you know,
As we run men down to-day.
"Dowb," the first of all his race,
Met the Mammoth face to face
On the lake or in the cave,
Stole the steadiest canoe,
Ate the quarry others slew,
Died - and took the finest grave.

When they scratched the reindeer-bone,
Someone made the sketch his own,
Filched it from the artist - then,
Even in those early days,
Won a simple Viceroy's praise
Through the toil of other men.
Ere they hewed the Sphinx's visage,
Favoritism governed kissage,
Even as it does in this age.

Who shall doubt "the secret hid
Under Cheops' pyramid"
Was that the contractor did
Cheops out of several millions?
Or that Joseph's sudden rise
To Comptroller of Supplies
Was a fraud of monstrous size
On King Pharaoh's swart Civilians?

Thus, the artless songs I sing
Do not deal with anything
New or never said before.
As it was in the beginning,
Is to-day official sinning,
And shall be for evermore!

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]



One for her Club and her own Latch-key fights,
Another wastes in Study her good Nights.
Ah, take the Clothes and let the Culture go,
Nor heed the grumble of the Women's Rights!

Look at the Shop-girl all about us - "Lo,
The Wages of a month," she says, "I blow
Into a Hat, and when my hair is waved,
Doubtless my Friend will take me to the Show."

And she who saved her coin for Flannels red,
And she who caught Pneumonia instead,
Will both be Underground in Fifty Years,
And Prudence pays no Premium to the dead.

Th' exclusive Style you set your heart upon
Gets to the Bargain counters - and anon,
Like monograms on a Saleslady's tie,
Cheers but a moment - soon for you 'tis gone.

Think, in the sad Four Hundred's gilded halls,
Whose endless Leisure ev'n themselves appalls,
How Ping-pong raged so high - then faded out
To those far Suburbs that still chase its Balls.

They say Sixth Avenue and the Bowery keep
The dernier cri that once was far from cheap;
Green veils, one season chic - Department stores
Mark down in vain - no profit shall they reap.

I sometimes think that never lasts so long
The Style as when it starts a bit too strong;
That all the Pompadours the parterre boasts
Some Chorus-girl began, with Dance and Song.

And this Revival of the Chignon low
That fills the most of us with helpless Woe,
Ah, criticise it Softly! for who knows
What long-necked Peeress had to wear it so!

Ah, my beloved, try each Style you meet;
To-day brooks no loose ends, you must be neat.
Tomorrow! why tomorrow you may be
Wearing it down your back like Marguerite!

For some we once admired, the Very Best
That ever a French hand-boned Corset prest,
Wore what they used to call Prunella Boots,
And put on Nightcaps ere they went to rest.

And we that now make fun of Waterfalls
They wore, and whom their Crinoline appalls,
Ourselves shall from old dusty Fashion plates
Assist our Children in their Costume balls.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may wear,
Before we grow so old that we don't care!
Before we have our Hats made all alike,
Sans Plumes, sans Wings, sans Chiffon, and - sans Hair!

Alike to her who Dines both Loud and Long,
Or her who Banting shuns the Dinner-gong,
Some Doctor from his Office chair will shout,
"It makes no Difference - both of you are Wrong!"

Why, all the Health-Reformers who discussed
High Heels and Corsets learnedly are thrust
Square-toed and Waistless forth; their Duds are scorned,
And Venus might as well have been a Bust.

Myself when slim did eagerly frequent
Delsarte and Ling, and heard great Argument
Of muscles trained to Hold me up, but still
Spent on my Modiste what I'd always spent!

With walking Clubs I did the best I could;
With my own Feet I tramped my Ten Miles, good;
And this was All that I got out of it -
I ate much more for Dinner than I should.

. . . . . .

And fear not lest your Rheumatism seize
The Joy of Life from other people's Sprees;
The Art will not have Perished - au contraire,
Posterity will practise it with Ease!

When you and I have ceased Champagne to Sup,
Be sure there will be More to Keep it Up;
And while we pat Old Tabby by the fire,
Full many a Girl will lead her Brindled Pup.

Josephine Daskam Bacon [1876-

After Goldsmith

When lovely woman wants a favor,
And finds, too late, that man won't bend,
What earthly circumstance can save her
From disappointment in the end?

The only way to bring him over,
The last experiment to try,
Whether a husband or a lover,
If he have feeling is - to cry.

Phoebe Cary [1824-1871]


There is a river clear and fair,
'Tis neither broad nor narrow;
It winds a little here and there -
It winds about like any hare;
And then it holds as straight a course
As, on the turnpike road, a horse,
Or, through the air, an arrow.

The trees that grow upon the shore
Have grown a hundred years or more;
So long there is no knowing:
Old Daniel Dobson does not know
When first those trees began to grow;
But still they grew, and grew, and grew,
As if they'd nothing else to do,
But ever must be growing.

The impulses of air and sky
Have reared their stately heads so high,
And clothed their boughs with green;
Their leaves the dews of evening quaff, -
And when the wind blows loud and keen,
I've seen the jolly timbers laugh,
And shake their sides with merry glee -
Wagging their heads in mockery.

Fixed are their feet in solid earth
Where winds can never blow;
But visitings of deeper birth
Have reached their roots below.
For they have gained the river's brink
And of the living waters drink.

There's little Will, a five years' child -
He is my youngest boy;
To look on eyes so fair and wild,
It is a very joy.
He hath conversed with sun and shower,
And dwelt with every idle flower,
As fresh and gay as them.
He loiters with the briar-rose, -
The blue-bells are his playfellows,
That dance upon their slender stem.

And I have said, my little Will,
Why should he not continue still
A thing of Nature's rearing?
A thing beyond the world's control -
A living vegetable soul, -
No human sorrow fearing.

It were a blessed sight to see
That child become a willow-tree,
His brother trees among.
He'd be four times as tall as me,
And live three times as long.

Catherine M. Fanshawe [1765-1834]

After Wordsworth

I marvelled why a simple child,
That lightly draws its breath,
Should utter groans so very wild,
And look as pale as death.

Adopting a parental tone,
I asked her why she cried;
The damsel answered with a groan,
"I've got a pain inside!

"I thought it would have sent me mad
Last night about eleven."
Said I, "What is it makes you bad?
How many apples have you had?"
She answered, "Only seven!"

"And are you sure you took no more,
My little maid?" quoth I;
"Oh, please, sir, mother gave me four,
But they were in a pie!"

"If that's the case," I stammered out,
"Of course you've had eleven."
The maiden answered with a pout,
"I ain't had more nor seven!"

I wondered hugely what she meant,
And said, "I'm bad at riddles;
But I know where little girls are sent
For telling taradiddles.

"Now, if you don't reform," said I,
"You'll never go to heaven."
But all in vain; each time I try,
That little idiot makes reply,
"I ain't had more nor seven!"

To borrow Wordsworth's name was wrong,
Or slightly misapplied;
And so I'd better call my song
"Lines after Ache-inside."

Henry Sambrooke Leigh [1837-1883]

After Wordsworth

Poor Lucy Lake was overgrown,
But somewhat underbrained.
She did not know enough, I own,
To go in when it rained.

Yet Lucy was constrained to go;
Green bedding, - you infer.
Few people knew she died, but oh,
The difference to her!

Newton Mackintosh [1858-

After Wordsworth

I journeyed, on a winter's day,
Across the lonely wold;
No bird did sing upon the spray,
And it was very cold.

I had a coach with horses four,
Three white (though one was black),
And on they went the common o'er,
Nor swiftness did they lack.

A little girl ran by my side,
And she was pinched and thin.
"Oh, please, sir, do give me a ride!
I'm fetching mother's gin."

"Enter my coach, sweet child," said I,
"For you shall ride with me;
And I will get you your supply
Of mother's eau-de-vie."

The publican was stern and cold,
And said: "Her mother's score
Is writ, as you shall soon behold,
Behind the bar-room door!"

I blotted out the score with tears,
And paid the money down;
And took the maid of thirteen years
Back to her mother's town.

And though the past with surges wild
Fond memories may sever,
The vision of that happy child
Will leave my spirits never!

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]

From "Alice in Wonderland"
After Southey

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head -
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door -
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his gray locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose -
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!"

Lewis Carroll [1832-1898]

After Campbell

There came to port last Sunday night
The queerest little craft,
Without an inch of rigging on;
I looked and looked - and laughed!
It seemed so curious that she
Should cross the Unknown water,
And moor herself within my room -
My daughter! O, my daughter!

Yet by these presents witness all
She's welcome fifty times,
And comes consigned in hope and love -
And common-metre rhymes.
She has no manifest but this;
No flag floats o'er the water;
She's too new for the British Lloyds -
My daughter! O, my daughter!

Ring out, wild bells - and tame ones too;
Ring out the lover's moon.
Ring in the little worsted socks,
Ring in the bib and spoon.
Ring out the muse, ring in the nurse,
Ring in the milk and water.
Away with paper, pen, and ink -
My daughter! O, my daughter!

George Washington Cable [1844-1925]

After Moore

'Twas ever thus from childhood's hour
My fondest hopes would not decay:
I never loved a tree or flower
Which was the first to fade away!
The garden, where I used to delve
Short-frocked, still yields me pinks in plenty;
The pear-tree that I climbed at twelve,
I see still blossoming, at twenty.

I never nursed a dear gazelle.
But I was given a paroquet -
How I did nurse him if unwell!
He's imbecile, but lingers yet.
He's green, with an enchanting tuft;
He melts me with his small black eye:
He'd look inimitable stuffed,
And knows it - but he will not die!

I had a kitten - I was rich
In pets - but all too soon my kitten
Became a full-sized cat, by which
I've more than once been scratched and bitten;
And when for sleep her limbs she curled
One day beside her untouched plateful,
And glided calmly from the world,
I freely own that I was grateful.

And then I bought a dog - a queen!
Ah, Tiny, dear departing pug!
She lives, but she is past sixteen,
And scarce can crawl across the rug.
I loved her beautiful and kind;
Delighted in her pert Bow-wow:
But now she snaps if you don't mind;
'Twere lunacy to love her now.

I used to think, should e'er mishap
Betide my crumple-visaged Ti,
In shape of prowling thief, or trap,
Or coarse bull-terrier - I should die.
But ah! disasters have their use;
And life might e'en be too sunshiny:
Nor would I make myself a goose,
If some big dog should swallow Tiny.

Charles Stuart Calverley [1831-1884]

After Moore

I never reared a young gazelle,
(Because, you see, I never tried);
But had it known and loved me well,
No doubt the creature would have died.
My rich and aged Uncle John
Has known me long and loves me well
But still persists in living on -
I would he were a young gazelle.

I never loved a tree or flower;
But, if I had, I beg to say
The blight, the wind, the sun, or shower
Would soon have withered it away.
I've dearly loved my Uncle John,
From childhood to the present hour,
And yet he will go living on -
I would he were a tree or flower!

Henry Sambrooke Leigh [1837-1883]

After Byron

Dear Mr. Editor: I wish to say -
If you will not be angry at my, writing it -
But I've been used, since childhood's happy day,
When I have thought of something, to inditing it;
I seldom think of things; and, by the way,
Although this meter may not be exciting, it
Enables one to be extremely terse,
Which is not what one always is in verse.

I used to know a man, - such things befall
The observant wayfarer through Fate's domain -
He was a man, take him for all in all,
We shall not look upon his like again;
I know that statement's not original;
What statement is, since Shakespeare? or, since Cain,
What murder? I believe 'twas Shakespeare said it, or
Perhaps it may have been your Fighting Editor.

Though why an Editor should fight, or why
A Fighter should abase himself to edit,
Are problems far too difficult and high
For me to solve with any sort of credit.
Some greatly more accomplished man than I
Must tackle them: let's say then Shakespeare said it;
And, if he did not, Lewis Morris may
(Or even if he did). Some other day,

When I have nothing pressing to impart,
I should not mind dilating on this matter.
I feel its import both in head and heart,
And always did, - especially the latter.
I could discuss it in the busy mart
Or on the lonely housetop; hold! this chatter
Diverts me from my purpose. To the point:
The time, as Hamlet said, is out of joint,

And perhaps I was born to set it right, -
A fact I greet with perfect equanimity.
I do not put it down to "cursed spite,"
I don't see any cause for cursing in it. I
Have always taken very great delight
In such pursuits since first I read divinity.
Whoever will may write a nation's songs
As long as I'm allowed to right its wrongs.

What's Eton but a nursery of wrong-righters,
A mighty mother of effective men;
A training ground for amateur reciters,
A sharpener of the sword as of the pen;
A factory of orators and fighters,
A forcing-house of genius? Now and then
The world at large shrinks back, abashed and beaten,
Unable to endure the glare of Eton.

I think I said I knew a man: what then?
I don't suppose such knowledge is forbid.
We nearly all do, more or less, know men, -
Or think we do; nor will a man get rid
Of that delusion while he wields a pen.
But who this man was, what, if aught, he did,
Nor why I mentioned him, I do not know,
Nor what I "wished to say" a while ago.

James Kenneth Stephen [1859-1892]

After Charles Wolfe

Not a sou had he got - not a guinea or note -
And he looked confoundedly flurried,
As he bolted away without paying his shot,
And the landlady after him hurried.

We saw him again at dead of night,
When home from the club returning;
We twigged the doctor beneath the light
Of the gas-lamp brilliantly burning.

All bare and exposed to the midnight dews,
Reclined in a gutter we found him;
And he looked like a gentleman taking a snooze
With his Marshall cloak around him.

"The doctor's as drunk as the devil," we said,
And we managed a shutter to borrow;
We raised him; and sighed at the thought that his head
Would consumedly ache on the morrow.

We bore him home, and we put him to bed,
And we told his wife and his daughter
To give him next morning a couple of red-
Herrings, with soda-water.

Loudly they talked of his money that's gone,
And his lady began to upbraid him;
But little he recked, so they let him snore on
'Neath the counterpane, just as we laid him.

We tucked him in, and had hardly done,
When, beneath the window calling,
We heard the rough voice of a son of a gun
Of a watchman "One o'clock!" bawling.

Slowly and sadly we all walked down
From his room on the uppermost story;
A rushlight we placed on the cold hearth-stone,
And we left him alone in his glory.

Richard Harris Barham [1788-1845]

From "Alice in Wonderland"
After Mary Howitt

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail,
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail,
See bow eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle - will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?

"You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!"
But the snail replied, "Too far, too far!" and gave a look askance -
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied.
"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France -
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"

Lewis Carroll [1832-1898]

After Tennyson

Home they brought her sailor son,
Grown a man across the sea,
Tall and broad and black of beard,
And hoarse of voice as man may be.

Hand to shake and mouth to kiss,
Both he offered ere he spoke;
But she said, "What man is this
Comes to play a sorry joke?"

Then they praised him - called him "smart,"
"Tightest lad that ever stept;"
But her son she did not know,
And she neither smiled nor wept.

Rose, a nurse of ninety years,
Set a pigeon-pie in sight;
She saw him eat: - "'Tis he! 'tis he!"
She knew him - by his appetite!

Frederick William Sawyer [1810-1875]

After Tennyson

One, who is not, we see: but one, whom we see not, is;
Surely this is not that: but that is assuredly this.

What, and wherefore, and whence? for under is over and under;
If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder.

Doubt is faith in the main: but faith, on the whole, is doubt;
We cannot believe by proof: but could we believe without?

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover;
Neither are straight lines curves: yet over is under and over.

Two and two may be four: but four and four are not eight;
Fate and God may be twain: but God is the same thing as fate.

Ask a man what he thinks, and get from a man what he feels;
God, once caught in the fact, shows you a fair pair of heels.

Body and spirit are twins: God only knows which is which;
The soul squats down in the flesh, like a tinker drunk in a ditch.

One and two are not one: but one and nothing is two;
Truth can hardly be false, if falsehood cannot be true.

Once the mastodon was: pterodactyls were common as cocks;
Then the mammoth was God; now is He a prize ox.

Parallels all things are: yet many of these are askew.
You are certainly I: but certainly I am not you.

Springs the rock from the plain, shoots the stream from the rock;
Cocks exist for the hen: but hens exist for the cock.

God, whom we see not, is: and God, who is not, we see;
Fiddle, we know, is diddle; and diddle, we take it, is dee.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]

After Hood

Long by the willow-trees
Vainly they sought her,
Wild rang the mother's screams
O'er the gray water:
"Where is my lovely one?
Where is my daughter?

"Rouse thee, Sir Constable -
Rouse thee and look;
Fisherman, bring your net,
Boatman, your hook.
Beat in the lily-beds,
Dive in the brook!"

Vainly the constable
Shouted and called her;
Vainly the fisherman
Beat the green alder;
Vainly he flung the net,
Never it hauled her!

Mother beside the fire
Sat, her nightcap in;
Father, in easy chair,
Gloomily napping,
When at the window-sill
Came a light tapping!

And a pale countenance
Looked through the casement.
Loud beat the mother's heart,
Sick with amazement,
And at the vision which
Came to surprise her,
Shrieked in an agony -
"Lor'! it's Elizar!"

Yes, 'twas Elizabeth -
Yes, 'twas their girl;
Pale was her cheek, and her
Hair out of curl.
"Mother," the loving one,
Blushing exclaimed,
"Let not your innocent
Lizzy be blamed.

"Yesterday, going to Aunt
Jones's to tea,
Mother, dear mother, I
Forgot the door-key!
And as the night was cold
And the way steep,
Mrs. Jones kept me to
Breakfast and sleep."

Whether her Pa and Ma
Fully believed her,
That we shall never know,
Stern they received her;
And for the work of that
Cruel, though short, night
Sent her to bed without
Tea for a fortnight.

Hey diddle diddlety,
Cat and the fiddlety,
Maidens of England, take caution by she!
Let love and suicide
Never tempt you aside,
And always remember to take the door-key.

William Makepeace Thackeray [1811-1863]

After Robert Browning

Where'er there's a thistle to feed a linnet
And linnets are plenty, thistles rife -
Or an acorn-cup to catch dew-drops in it
There's ample promise of further life.
Now, mark how we begin it.

For linnets will follow, if linnets are minded,
As blows the white-feather parachute;
And ships will reel by the tempest blinded -
Aye, ships and shiploads of men to boot!
How deep whole fleets you'll find hid.

And we blow the thistle-down hither and thither
Forgetful of linnets, and men, and God.
The dew! for its want an oak will wither -
By the dull hoof into the dust is trod,
And then who strikes the cither?

But thistles were only for donkeys intended,
And that donkeys are common enough is clear,
And that drop! what a vessel it might have befriended,
Does it add any flavor to Glugabib's beer?
Well, there's my musing ended.

Tom Hood [1835-1874]


The Jam-pot - tender thought!
I grabbed it - so did you.
"What wonder while we fought
Together that it flew
In shivers?" you retort.

You should have loosed your hold
One moment - checked your fist.
But, as it was, too bold
You grappled and you missed.
More plainly - you were sold.

"Well, neither of us shared
The dainty." That your plea?
"Well, neither of us cared,"
I answer. . . . "Let me see.
How have your trousers fared?"

Rudyard Kipling [1865-1936]

After William Morris

Part I
The auld wife sat at her ivied door,
(Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese)
A thing she had frequently done before;
And her spectacles lay on her aproned knees.

The piper he piped on the hill-top high,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
Till the cow said "I die," and the goose asked "Why?"
And the dog said nothing, but searched for fleas.

The farmer he strode through the square farmyard;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
His last brew of ale was a trifle hard -
The connection of which with the plot one sees.

The farmer's daughter hath frank blue eyes;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She hears the rooks caw in the windy skies,
As she sits at her lattice and shells her peas.

The farmer's daughter hath ripe red lips;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
If you try to approach her, away she skips
Over tables and chairs with apparent ease.

The farmer's daughter hath soft brown hair;
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And I met with a ballad, I can't say where,
Which wholly consisted of lines like these.

Part II
She sat, with her hands 'neath her dimpled cheeks,
(Butler and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And spake not a word. While a lady speaks
There is hope, but she didn't even sneeze.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her crimson cheeks,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
She gave up mending her father's breeks,
And let the cat roll in her new chemise.

She sat, with her hands 'neath her burning cheeks,
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And gazed at the piper for thirteen weeks;
Then she followed him out o'er the misty leas.

Her sheep followed her, as their tails did them.
(Butter and eggs and a pound of cheese)
And this song is considered a perfect gem,
And as to the meaning, it's what you please.

Charles Stuart Calverley [1831-1884]

After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The blessed Poster-girl leaned out
From a pinky-purple heaven;
One eye was red and one was green;
Her bang was cut uneven;
She had three fingers on her hand,
And the hairs on her head were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No sunflowers did adorn,
But a heavy Turkish portiere
Was very neatly worn;
And the hat that lay along her back
Was yellow like canned corn.

It was a kind of wobbly wave
That she was standing on,
And high aloft she flung a scarf
That must have weighed a ton;
And she was rather tall - at least
She reached up to the sun.

She curved and writhed, and then she said,
Less green of speech than blue:
"Perhaps I am absurd - perhaps
I don't appeal to you;
But my artistic worth depends
Upon the point of view."

I saw her smile, although her eyes
Were only smudgy smears;
And then she swished her swirling arms,
And wagged her gorgeous ears,
She sobbed a blue-and-green-checked sob,
And wept some purple tears.

Carolyn Wells [186? -

After Dante Gabriel Rossetti

"Why do you wear your hair like a man,
Sister Helen?
This week is the third since you began."
"I'm writing a ballad; be still if you can,
Little brother.
(O Mother Carey, mother!
What chickens are these between sea and heaven?)"

"But why does your figure appear so lean,
Sister Helen?
And why do you dress in sage, sage green?"
"Children should never be heard, if seen,
Little brother!
(O Mother Carey, mother!


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