He must be a fool indeed who cannot at times play the fool; and he who does not enjoy nonsense must be lacking in sense.
WILLIAM J. ROLFE.
A Nonsense Anthology
Collected by Carolyn Wells
A NONSENSE LOVER
INTRODUCTION JABBERWOCKY Lewis Carroll MORS IABROCHII Anonymous THE NYUM-NYUM Anonymous UFFIA Harriet R. White SPIRK TROLL-DERISIVE James Whitcomb Riley THE WHANGO TREE 1840 SING FOR THE GARISH EYE W.S. Gilbert THE CRUISE OF THE "P.C." Anonymous TO MARIE Anonymous LUNAR STANZAS Henry Coggswell Knight NONSENSE Anonymous, 1617 SONNET FOUND IN A DESERTED MAD HOUSE Anonymous THE OCEAN WANDERER Anonymous SHE'S ALL MY FANCY PAINTED HIM Lewis Carroll MY RECOLLECTEST THOUGHTS Charles E. Carryl FATHER WILLIAM Anonymous IN THE GLOAMING James C. Bayles BALLAD OF BEDLAM Punch 'TIS SWEET TO ROAM Anonymous HYMN TO THE SUNRISE Anonymous THE MOON IS UP Anonymous 'T IS MIDNIGHT Anonymous UPRISING SEE THE FITFUL LARK Anonymous LIKE TO THE THUNDERING TONE Bishop Corbet MY DREAM Anonymous MY HOME Anonymous IN IMMEMORIAM Cuthbert Bede THE HIGHER PANTHEISM IN A NUTSHELL A. C. Swinburne DARWINITY Herman Merivale SONG OF THE SCREW Anonymous MOORLANDS OF THE NOT Anonymous METAPHYSICS Oliver Herford ABSTROSOPHY Gelett Burgess ABSTEMIA Gelett Burgess PSYCHOLOPHON Gelett Burgess TIMON OF ARCHIMEDES Charles Battell Loomis ALONE Anonymous LINES BY A MEDIUM Anonymous TRANSCENDENTALISM From the Times of India INDIFFERENCE Anonymous QUATRAIN Anonymous COSSIMBAZAR Henry S. Leigh THE PERSONIFIED SENTIMENTAL Bret Harte A CLASSIC ODE Charles Battell Loomis WHERE AVALANCHES WAIL Anonymous BLUE MOONSHINE Francis G. Stokes NONSENSE Thomas Moore SUPERIOR NONSENSE VERSES Anonymous WHEN MOONLIKE ORE THE HAZURE SEAS W.M. Thackeray LINES BY A PERSON OF QUALITY Alexander Pope FRANGIPANNI Anonymous LINES BY A FOND LOVER Anonymous FORCING A WAY Anonymous THY HEART Anonymous A LOVE-SONG BY A LUNATIC Anonymous THE PARTERRE E.H. Palmer TO MOLLIDUSTA Planche JOHN JONES A.C. Swinburne THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT Edward Lear A BALLADE OF THE NURSERIE John Twig A BALLAD OF HIGH ENDEAVOR Anonymous THE LUGUBRIOUS WHINGWHANG James Whitcomb Riley OH! WEARY MOTHER Barry Pain SWISS AIR Bret Harte THE BULBUL Owen Seaman BALLAD Anonymous OH, MY GERALDINE F.C. Burnand BUZ, QUOTH THE BLUE FLY Ben Jonson A SONG ON KING WILLIAM III Anonymous THERE WAS A MONKEY Anonymous, 1626 THE GUINEA PIG Anonymous THREE CHILDREN London, 1662 IF Anonymous A RIDDLE Anonymous THREE JOVIAL HUNTSMEN Anonymous THREE ACRES OF LAND Anonymous MASTER AND MAN Anonymous HYDER IDDLE Anonymous KING ARTHUR Anonymous IN THE DUMPS Anonymous TWEEDLE-DUM AND TWEE-DLE-DEE Anonymous MARTIN TO HIS MAN From Deuteromelia THE YONGHY-BONGHY-BO Edward Lear THE POBBLE WHO HAS NO TOES Edward Lear THE JUMBLIES Edward Lear INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF MY UNCLE ARLY Edward Lear LINES TO A YOUNG LADY Edward Lear WAYS AND MEANS Lewis Carroll THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER Lewis Carroll THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK Lewis Carroll SYLVIE AND BRUNO Lewis Carroll GENTLE ALICE BROWN W.S. Gilbert THE STORY OF PRINCE AGIB W.S. Gilbert FERDINANDO AND ELVIRA, OR THE GENTLE PIEMAN W.S. Gilbert GENERAL JOHN W. S. Gilbert LITTLE BILLEE W. M. Thackeray THE WRECK OF THE "JULIE PLANTE" William H. Drummond THE SHIPWRECK E. H. Palmer A SAILOR'S YARN J. J. Roche THE WALLOPING WINDOW-BLIND Charles E. Carryl THE ROLLICKING MASTODON Arthur Macy THE SILVER QUESTION Oliver Herford THE SINGULAR SANGFROID OF BABY BUNTING Guy Wetmore Carryl FAITHLESS NELLY GRAY Thomas Hood THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN George Canning MALUM OPUS James Appleton Morgan AESTIVATION O. W. Holmes A HOLIDAY TASK Gilbert Abbott a Becket PUER EX JERSEY Anonymous THE LITTLE PEACH Anonymous MONSIEUR McGINTE Anonymous YE LAYE OF YE WOODPECKORE Henry A. Beers COLLUSION BETWEEN A ALEGAITER AND A WATER-SNAIK J. W. Morris ODD TO A KROKIS Anonymous SOME VERSES TO SNAIX Anonymous A GREAT MAN Oliver Goldsmith AN ELEGY Oliver Goldsmith PARSON GRAY Oliver Goldsmith AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF A MAD DOG Oliver Goldsmith THE WONDERFUL OLD MAN Anonymous A CHRONICLE Anonymous ON THE OXFORD CARRIER John Milton NEPHELIDIA A. C. Swinburne MARTIN LUTHER AT POTSDAM Barry Pain COMPANIONS C. S. Calverley THE COCK AND THE BULL C. S. Calverley LOVERS AND A REFLECTION C. S. Calverley AN IMITATION OF WORDSWORTH Catharine M. Fanshawe. THE FAMOUS BALLAD OF THE JUBILEE CUP Arthur T. Quiller-Couch A SONG OF IMPOSSIBILITIES W. M. Praed TRUST IN WOMEN Anonymous HERE IS THE TALE Anthony C. Deane THE AULD WIFE C. S. Calverley NOT I R. L. Stevenson MINNIE AND WINNIE Lord Tennyson THE MAYOR OF SCUTTLETON Mary Mapes Dodge THE PURPLE COW Gelett Burgess THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE Gelett Burgess THE LAZY ROOF Gelett Burgess MY FEET Gelett Burgess THE HEN Oliver Herford THE COW Oliver Herford THE CHIMPANZEE Oliver Herford THE HIPPOPOTAMUS Oliver Herford THE PLATYPUS Oliver Herford SOME GEESE Oliver Herford THE FLAMINGO Lewis Gaylord Clark KINDNESS TO ANIMALS J. Ashby-Sterry SAGE COUNSEL A. T. Quiller-Couch OF BAITING THE LION Owen Seaman THE FROG Hilaire Belloc THE YAK Hilaire Belloc THE PYTHON Hilaire Belloc THE BISON Hilaire Belloc THE PANTHER Anonymous THE MONKEY'S GLUE Goldwin Goldsmith THERE WAS A FROG Christ Church MS. THE BLOATED BIGGABOON H. Cholmondeley-Pennell WILD FLOWERS Peter Newell TIMID HORTENSE Peter Newell HER POLKA DOTS Peter Newell HER DAIRY Peter Newell TURVEY TOP Anonymous WHAT THE PRINCE OF I DREAMT H. Cholmondeley-Pennell THE DINKEY-BIRD Eugene Field THE MAN IN THE MOON James Whitcomb Riley THE STORY OF THE WILD HUNTSMAN Dr. Heinrich Hoffman THE STORY OF PYRAMID THOTHMES Anonymous THE STORY OF CRUEL PSAMTEK Anonymous THE CUMBERBUNCE Paul West THE AHKOND OF SWAT Edward Lear A THRENODY George Thomas Lanigan DIRGE OF THE MOOLLA OF KOTAL George Thomas Lanigan RUSSIAN AND TURK Anonymous LINES TO MISS FLORENCE HUNTINGDON Anonymous COBBE'S PROPHECIES 1614 AN UNSUSPECTED FACT Edward Cannon THE SORROWS OF WERTHER W. M. Thackeray NONSENSE VERSES Charles Lamb THE NOBLE TUCK-MAN Jean Ingelow THE PESSIMIST Ben King THE MODERN HIAWATHA Anonymous ON THE ROAD Tudor Jenks UNCLE SIMON AND UNCLE JIM Artemus Ward POOR DEAR GRANDPAPA D'Arcy W. Thompson THE SEA-SERPENT Planche MELANCHOLIA Anonymous THE MONKEY'S WEDDING Anonymous MR. FINNEY'S TURNIP Anonymous THE SUN J. Davis THE AUTUMN LEAVES Anonymous IN THE NIGHT Anonymous POOR BROTHER Anonymous THE BOY Eugene Field THE SEA Anonymous THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL H. W. Longfellow FIN DE SIECLE Newton Mackintosh MARY JANE Anonymous TENDER-HEARTEDNESS Col. D. Streamer IMPETUOUS SAMUEL Col. D. Streamer MISFORTUNES NEVER COME SINGLY Col. D. Streamer AUNT ELIZA Col. D. Streamer SUSAN Anonymous BABY AND MARY Anonymous THE SUNBEAM Anonymous LITTLE WILLIE Anonymous MARY AMES Anonymous MUDDLED METAPHORS Tom Hood, Jr. VILLON'S STRAIGHT TIP TO ALL CROSS COVES W. E. Henley ODE TO THE HUMAN HEART Laman Blanchard LIMERICKS Edward Lear Anonymous Cosmo Monkhouse Walter Parke George du Maurier Robert J. Burdette Gelett Burgess Bruce Porter Newton Mackintosh Anonymous Anonymous Anonymous
On a topographical map of Literature Nonsense would be represented by a small and sparsely settled country, neglected by the average tourist, but affording keen delight to the few enlightened travellers who sojourn within its borders. It is a field which has been neglected by anthologists and essayists; one of its few serious recognitions being in a certain "Treatise of Figurative Language," which says: "Nonsense; shall we dignify that with a place on our list? Assuredly will vote for doing so every one who hath at all duly noticed what admirable and wise uses it can be, and often is, put to, though never before in rhetoric has it been so highly honored. How deeply does clever or quaint nonsense abide in the memory, and for how many a decade—from earliest youth to age's most venerable years."
And yet Hazlitt's "Studies in Jocular Literature" mentions six divisions of the Jest, and omits Nonsense!
Perhaps, partly because of such neglect, the work of the best nonsense writers is less widely known than it might be.
But a more probable reason is that the majority of the reading world does not appreciate or enjoy real nonsense, and this, again, is consequent upon their inability to discriminate between nonsense of integral merit and simple chaff.
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it. Never in the tongue Of him that makes it,
and a sense of nonsense is as distinct a part of our mentality as a sense of humor, being by no means identical therewith.
It is a fad at present for a man to relate a nonsensical story, and then, if his hearer does not laugh, say gravely: "You have no sense of humor. That is a test story, and only a true humorist laughs at it." Now, the hearer may have an exquisite sense of humor, but he may be lacking in a sense of nonsense, and so the story gives him no pleasure. De Quincey said, "None but a man of extraordinary talent can write first-rate nonsense." Only a short study of the subject is required to convince us that De Quincey was right; and he might have added, none but a man of extraordinary taste can appreciate first-rate nonsense. As an instance of this, we may remember that Edward Lear, "the parent of modern nonsense-writers," was a talented author and artist, and a prime favorite of such men as Tennyson and the Earls of Derby; and John Ruskin placed Lear's name at the head of his list of the best hundred authors.
"Don't tell me," said William Pitt, "of a man's being able to talk sense; every one can talk sense. Can he talk nonsense?"
The sense of nonsense enables us not only to discern pure nonsense, but to consider intelligently nonsense of various degrees of purity. Absence of sense is not necessarily nonsense, any more than absence of justice is injustice.
Etymologically speaking, nonsense may be either words without meaning, or words conveying absurd or ridiculous ideas. It is the second definition which expresses the great mass of nonsense literature, but there is a small proportion of written nonsense which comes under the head of language without meaning.
Again, there are verses composed entirely of meaningless words, which are not nonsense literature, because they are written with some other intent.
The nursery rhyme, of which there are almost as many versions as there are nurseries,
Eena, meena, mona, mi, Bassalona, bona, stri, Hare, ware, frown, whack, Halico balico, we, wi, we, wack,
is not strictly a nonsense verse, because it was invented and used for "counting out," and the arbitrary words simply take the place of the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.
Also, the nonsense verses with which students of Latin composition are sometimes taught to begin their efforts, where words are used with no relative meaning, simply to familiarize the pupil with the mechanical values of quantity and metre, are not nonsense. It is only nonsense for nonsense' sake that is now under our consideration.
Doubtless the best and best-known example of versified words without meaning is "Jabberwocky." Although (notwithstanding Lewis Carroll's explanations) the coined words are absolutely without meaning, the rhythm is perfect and the poetic quality decidedly apparent, and the poem appeals to the nonsense lover as a work of pure genius. Bayard Taylor is said to have recited "Jabberwocky" aloud for his own delectation until he was forced to stop by uncontrollable laughter. To us who know our Alice it would seem unnecessary to quote this poem, but it is a fact that among the general reading community the appreciators of Lewis Carroll are surprisingly few. An editor of a leading literary review, when asked recently if he had read "Alice in Wonderland," replied, "No, but I mean to. It is by the author of 'As in a looking-Glass,' is it not?"
But of far greater interest and merit than nonsense of words, is nonsense of ideas. Here, again, we distinguish between nonsense and no sense. Ideas conveying no sense are often intensely funny, and this type is seen in some of the best of our nonsense literature.
A perfect specimen is the bit of evidence read by the White Rabbit at the Trial of the Knave of Hearts. One charm of these verses is the serious air of legal directness which pervades their ambiguity, and another is the precision with which the metrical accent coincides exactly with the natural emphasis. They are marked, too, by the liquid euphony that always distinguishes Lewis Carroll's poetry.
A different type is found in verses that refer to objects in terms the opposite of true, thereby suggesting ludicrous incongruity, and there is also the nonsense verse that uses word effects which have been confiscated by the poets and tacitly given over to them.
A refrain of nonsense words is a favorite diversion of many otherwise serious poets.
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
is one of Shakespeare's many musical nonsense refrains.
[Footnote 1: "She's all my Fancy painted him," page 20.]
Burns gives us:
Ken ye aught o' Captain Grose? Igo and ago, If he's 'mang his freens or foes? Iram, coram, dago. Is he slain by Highlan' bodies? Igo and ago; And eaten like a weather haggis? Iram, coram, dago.
Another very old refrain runs thus:
Forum, corum, sunt di-vorum, Harum, scarum, divo; Tag-rag, merry-derry, periwig and hat-band, Hic, hoc, horum, genitivo.
An old ballad written before the Reformation has for a refrain:
Sing go trix, Trim go trix, Under the greenwood tree.
While a celebrated political ballad is known by its nonsense chorus,
Lilliburlero bullin a-la.
Mother Goose rhymes abound in these nonsense refrains, and they are often fine examples of onomatopoeia.
By far the most meritorious and most interesting kind of nonsense is that which embodies an absurd or ridiculous idea, and treats it with elaborate seriousness. The greatest masters of this art are undoubtedly Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. These Englishmen were men of genius, deep thinkers, and hard workers.
Lear was an artist draughtsman, his subjects being mainly ornithological and zoological. Lewis Carroll (Charles L. Dodgson) was an expert in mathematics and a lecturer on that science in Christ Church, Oxford.
Both these men numbered among their friends many of the greatest Englishmen of the day. Tennyson was a warm friend and admirer of each, as was also John Ruskin.
Lear's first nonsense verses, published in 1846, are written in the form of the well-known stanza beginning:
There was an old man of Tobago.
This type of stanza, known as the "Limerick," is said by a gentleman who speaks with authority to have flourished in the reign of William IV. This is one of several he remembers as current at his public school in 1834:
There was a young man at St. Kitts Who was very much troubled with fits; The eclipse of the moon Threw him into a swoon, When he tumbled and broke into bits.
Lear distinctly asserts that this form of verse was not invented by him, but was suggested by a friend as a useful model for amusing rhymes. It proved so in his case, for he published no less than two hundred and twelve of these "Limericks."
In regard to his verses, Lear asserted that "nonsense, pure and absolute," was his aim throughout; and remarked, further, that to have been the means of administering innocent mirth to thousands was surely a just excuse for satisfaction. He pursued his aim with scrupulous consistency, and his absurd conceits are fantastic and ridiculous, but never cheaply or vulgarly funny.
Twenty-five years after his first book came out, Lear published other books of nonsense verse and prose, with pictures which are irresistibly mirth-provoking. Lear's nonsense songs, while retaining all the ludicrous merriment of his Limericks, have an added quality of poetic harmony. They are distinctly singable, and many of them have been set to music by talented composers. Perhaps the best-known songs are "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" and "The Daddy-Long-Legs and the Fly."
Lear himself composed airs for "The Pelican Chorus" and "The Yonghy-Bonghy Bo," which were arranged for the piano by Professor Pome, of San Remo, Italy.
Although like Lear's in some respects, Lewis Carroll's nonsense is perhaps of a more refined type. There is less of the grotesque and more poetic imagery. But though Carroll was more of a poet than Lear, both had the true sense of nonsense. Both assumed the most absurd conditions, and proceeded to detail their consequences with a simple seriousness that convulses appreciative readers, and we find ourselves uncertain whether it is the manner or the matter that is more amusing.
Lewis Carroll was a man of intellect and education; his funniest sayings are often based on profound knowledge or deep thought. Like Lear, he never spoiled his quaint fancies by over-exaggerating their quaintness or their fancifulness, and his ridiculous plots are as carefully conceived, constructed, and elaborated as though they embodied the soundest facts. No funny detail is ever allowed to become too funny; and it is in this judicious economy of extravagance that his genius is shown. As he remarks in one of his own poems:
Then, fourthly, there are epithets That suit with any word— As well as Harvey's Reading Sauce With fish, or flesh, or bird. Such epithets, like pepper, Give zest to what you write; And, if you strew them sparely, They whet the appetite; But if you lay them on too thick, You spoil the matter quite!
Both Lear and Carroll suffered from the undiscerning critics who persisted in seeing in their nonsense a hidden meaning, a cynical, political, or other intent, veiled under the apparent foolery. Lear takes occasion to deny this in the preface to one of his books, and asserts not only that his rhymes and pictures have no symbolical meaning, but that he "took more care than might be supposed to make the subjects incapable of such misinterpretation."
Likewise, "Jabberwocky" was declared by one critic to be a translation from the German, and by others its originality was doubted. The truth is, that it was written by Lewis Carroll at an evening party; it was quite impromptu, and no ulterior meaning was intended. "The Hunting of the Snark" was also regarded by some as an allegory, or, perhaps, a burlesque on a celebrated case, in which the Snark was used as a personification of popularity, but Lewis Carroll protested that the poem had no meaning at all.
A favorite trick of the Nonsensists is the coining of words to suit their needs, and Lear and Carroll are especially happy in their inventions of this kind.
Lear gives us such gems as scroobious, meloobious, ombliferous, borascible, slobaciously, himmeltanious, flumpetty, and mumbian; while the best of Lewis Carroll's coined words are those found in "Jabberwocky."
Another of the great Nonsensists is W. S. Gilbert. Unlike Lear or Carroll, his work is not characterized by absurd words or phrases; he prefers a still wider scope, and invents a ridiculous plot. The "Bab Ballads," as well as Mr. Gilbert's comic opera librettos, hinge upon schemes of ludicrous impossibility, which are treated as the most natural proceedings in the world. The best known of the "Bab Ballads" is no doubt "The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell,'" which was long since set to music and is still a popular song. In addition to his talent for nonsense, Mr. Gilbert possesses a wonderful rhyming facility, and juggles cleverly with difficult and unusual metres.
In regard to his "Bab Ballads," Mr. Gilbert gravely says that "they are not, as a rule, founded on fact," and, remembering their gory and often cannibalistic tendencies, we are grateful for this assurance. An instance of Gilbert's appreciation of other people's nonsense is his parody of Lear's verse:
There was an old man in a tree Who was horribly bored by a bee; When they said, "Does it buzz?" He replied, "Yes, it does! It's a regular brute of a bee!"
The parody attributed to Gilbert is called "A Nonsense Rhyme in Blank Verse":
There was an old man of St. Bees, Who was stung in the arm by a wasp; When they asked, "Does it hurt?" He replied, "No, it doesn't, But I thought all the while 'twas a Hornet!"
Thackeray wrote spirited nonsense, but much of it had an under-meaning, political or otherwise, which bars it from the field of sheer nonsense.
The sense of nonsense is no respecter of persons; even staid old Dr. Johnson possessed it, though his nonsense verses are marked by credible fact and irrefutable logic. Witness these two examples:
As with my hat upon my head I walked along the Strand, I there did meet another man With his hat in his hand.
The tender infant, meek and mild, Fell down upon the stone; The nurse took up the squealing child, But still the child squealed on.
The Doctor is also responsible for
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.
And indeed, among our best writers there are few who have not dropped into nonsense or semi-nonsense at one time or another.
A familiar bit of nonsense prose is by S. Foote, and it is said that Charles Macklin used to recite it with great gusto:
"She went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie, and at the same time a great she-bear coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. 'What, no soap?' so he died. She imprudently married the barber, and there were present the Pickaninnies, the Joblilies, the Gayrulies, and the Grand Panjandrum himself with the little round button on top, and they all fell to playing catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots."
[Transcriber's note: The above paragraph is not an excerpt from a longer work, but is complete as it stands.]
An old nonsense verse attributed to an Oxford student, is the well known:
A centipede was happy quite, Until a frog in fun Said, "Pray, which leg comes after which?" This raised her mind to such a pitch, She lay distracted in the ditch Considering how to run.
So far as we know, Kipling has never printed anything which can be called nonsense verse, but it is doubtless only a question of time when that branch shall be added to his versatility. His "Just So" stories are capital nonsense prose, and the following rhyme proves him guilty of at least one Limerick:
There was a small boy of Quebec, Who was buried in snow to his neck; When they said, "Are you friz?" He replied, "Yes, I is— But we don't call this cold in Quebec."
Among living authors, one who has written a great amount of good nonsense is Mr. Gelett Burgess, late editor of The Lark.
According to Mr. Burgess' own statement, the test of nonsense is its quotability, and his work stands this test admirably, for what absurd rhyme ever attained such popularity as his "Purple Cow"? This was first printed in The Lark, a paper published in San Francisco for two years, the only periodical of any merit that has ever made intelligent nonsense its special feature.
Another of the most talented nonsense writers of to-day is Mr. Oliver Herford. It is a pity, however, to reproduce his verse without his illustrations, for as nonsense these are as admirable as the text. But the greater part of Mr. Herford's work belongs to the realm of pure fancy, and though of a whimsical delicacy often equal to Lewis Carroll's, it is rarely sheer nonsense.
As a proof that good nonsense is by no means an easy achievement, attention is called to a recent competition inaugurated by the London Academy.
Nonsense rhymes similar to those quoted from The Lark were asked for, and though many were received, it is stated that no brilliant results were among them.
The prize was awarded to this weak and uninteresting specimen:
"If half the road was made of jam, The other half of bread, How very nice my walks would be," The greedy infant said.
These two were also offered by competitors:
I love to stand upon my head And think of things sublime Until my mother interrupts And says it's dinner-time.
A lobster wooed a lady crab, And kissed her lovely face. "Upon my sole," the crabbess cried, "I wish you'd mind your plaice!"
Let us, then, give Nonsense its place among the divisions of Humor, and though we cannot reduce it to an exact science, let us acknowledge it as a fine art.
A NONSENSE ANTHOLOGY
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought. So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through, and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! Oh, frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.
'T was brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves And the mome raths outgrabe.
Coesper erat: tunc lubriciles ultravia circum Urgebant gyros gimbiculosque tophi; Moestenui visae borogovides ire meatu; Et profugi gemitus exgrabuere rathae.
O fuge Iabrochium, sanguis meus! Ille recurvis Unguibus, estque avidis dentibus ille minax. Ububae fuge cautus avis vim, gnate! Neque unquam Faederpax contra te frumiosus eat!
Vorpali gladio juvenis succingitur: hostis Manxumus ad medium quaeritur usque diem: Jamque via fesso, sed plurima mente prementi, Tumtumiae frondis suaserat umbra moram.
Consilia interdum stetit egnia mene revolvens; At gravis in densa fronde susuffrus erat, Spiculaque ex oculis jacientis flammea, tulseam Per silvam venit burbur labrochii!
Vorpali, semel atque iterum collectus in ictum, Persnicuit gladis persnacuitque puer: Deinde galumphatus, spernens informe Cadaver, Horrendum monstri rettulit ipse caput.
Victor Iabrochii, spoliis insignis opimis, Rursus in amplexus, o radiose, meos! O frabiose dies! CALLO clamateque CALLA! Vix potuit lastus chorticulare pater.
Coesper erat: tune lubriciles ultravia circum Urgebant gyros gimbiculosque tophi; Moestenui visae borogovides ire meatu; Et profugi gemitus exgrabuere rathae.
[Footnote 1: Coesper from Coena and vesper.]
[Footnote 2: lubriciles from lubricus and graciles. See the Commentary in Humpty Dumpty's square, which will also explain ultravia, and—if it requires explanation—moestenui.]
[Footnote 3: Sanguis meus: cf. Verg. Aen. 6. 836, "Projice tela manu, sanguis meus!"]
[Footnote 4: egnia: "muffish" = segnis; ... "uffish" = egnis. This is a conjectural analogy, but I can suggest no better solution.]
[Footnote 5: susuffrus : "whiffling" :: susurrus : "whistling."]
[Footnote 6: spicula: see the picture.]
[Footnote 7: burbur: apparently a labial variation of murmur, stronger but more dissonant.]
The Nyum-Nyum chortled by the sea, And sipped the wavelets green: He wondered how the sky could be So very nice and clean;
He wondered if the chambermaid Had swept the dust away, And if the scrumptious Jabberwock Had mopped it up that day.
And then in sadness to his love The Nyum-Nyum weeping said, I know no reason why the sea Should not be white or red.
I know no reason why the sea Should not be red, I say; And why the slithy Bandersnatch Has not been round to-day.
He swore he'd call at two o'clock, And now it's half-past four. "Stay," said the Nyum-Nyum's love, "I think I hear him at the door."
In twenty minutes in there came A creature black as ink, Which put its feet upon a chair And called for beer to drink.
They gave him porter in a tub, But, "Give me more!" he cried; And then he drew a heavy sigh, And laid him down, and died.
He died, and in the Nyum-Nyum's cave A cry of mourning rose; The Nyum-Nyum sobbed a gentle sob, And slily blew his nose.
The Nyum-Nyum's love, we need not state, Was overwhelmed and sad; She said, "Oh, take the corpse away, Or you will drive me mad!"
The Nyum-Nyum in his supple arms Took up the gruesome weight, And, with a cry of bitter fear, He threw it at his mate.
And then he wept, and tore his hair, And threw it in the sea, And loudly sobbed with streaming eyes That such a thing could be.
The ox, that mumbled in his stall, Perspired and gently sighed, And then, in sympathy, it fell Upon its back and died.
The hen that sat upon her eggs, With high ambition fired, Arose in simple majesty, And, with a cluck, expired.
The jubejube bird, that carolled there, Sat down upon a post, And with a reverential caw, Gave up its little ghost.
And ere its kind and loving life Eternally had ceased, The donkey, in the ancient barn, In agony deceased.
The raven, perched upon the elm, Gave forth a scraping note, And ere the sound had died away, Had cut its tuneful throat.
The Nyum-Nyum's love was sorrowful; And, after she had cried, She, with a brand-new carving-knife, Committed suicide.
"Alas!" the Nyum-Nyum said, "alas! With thee I will not part," And straightway seized a rolling-pin And drove it through his heart.
The mourners came and gathered up The bits that lay about; But why the massacre had been, They could not quite make out.
One said there was a mystery Connected with the deaths; But others thought the silent ones Perhaps had lost their breaths.
The doctor soon arrived, and viewed The corpses as they lay; He could not give them life again, So he was heard to say.
But, oh! it was a horrid sight; It made the blood run cold, To see the bodies carried off And covered up with mould.
The Toves across the briny sea Wept buckets-full of tears; They were relations of the dead, And had been friends for years.
The Jabberwock upon the hill Gave forth a gloomy wail, When in his airy seat he sat, And told the awful tale.
And who can wonder that it made That loving creature cry? For he had done the dreadful work And caused the things to die.
That Jabberwock was passing bad— That Jabberwock was wrong, And with this verdict I conclude One portion of my song.
When sporgles spanned the floreate mead And cogwogs gleet upon the lea, Uffia gopped to meet her love Who smeeged upon the equat sea.
Dately she walked aglost the sand; The boreal wind seet in her face; The moggling waves yalped at her feet; Pangwangling was her pace.
Harriet R. White.
The Crankadox leaned o'er the edge of the moon, And wistfully gazed on the sea Where the Gryxabodill madly whistled a tune To the air of "Ti-fol-de-ding-dee."
The quavering shriek of the Fliupthecreek Was fitfully wafted afar To the Queen of the Wunks as she powdered her cheek With the pulverized rays of a star.
The Gool closed his ear on the voice of the Grig, And his heart it grew heavy as lead As he marked the Baldekin adjusting his wig On the opposite side of his head;
And the air it grew chill as the Gryxabodill Raised his dank, dripping fins to the skies To plead with the Plunk for the use of her bill To pick the tears out of his eyes.
The ghost of the Zhack flitted by in a trance; And the Squidjum hid under a tub As he heard the loud hooves of the Hooken advance With a rub-a-dub-dub-a-dub dub!
And the Crankadox cried as he laid down and died, "My fate there is none to bewail!" While the Queen of the Wunks drifted over the tide With a long piece of crape to her tail.
James Whitcomb Riley.
THE WHANGO TREE
The woggly bird sat on the whango tree, Nooping the rinkum corn, And graper and graper, alas! grew he, And cursed the day he was born. His crute was clum and his voice was rum, As curiously thus sang he, "Oh, would I'd been rammed and eternally clammed Ere I perched on this whango tree."
Now the whango tree had a bubbly thorn, As sharp as a nootie's bill, And it stuck in the woggly bird's umptum lorn And weepadge, the smart did thrill. He fumbled and cursed, but that wasn't the worst, For he couldn't at all get free, And he cried, "I am gammed, and injustibly nammed On the luggardly whango tree."
And there he sits still, with no worm in his bill, Nor no guggledom in his nest; He is hungry and bare, and gobliddered with care, And his grabbles give him no rest; He is weary and sore and his tugmut is soar, And nothing to nob has he, As he chirps, "I am blammed and corruptibly jammed, In this cuggerdom whango tree."
SING FOR THE GARISH EYE
Sing for the garish eye, When moonless brandlings cling! Let the froddering crooner cry, And the braddled sapster sing, For never and never again, Will the tottering beechlings play, For bratticed wrackers are singing aloud, And the throngers croon in May!
THE CRUISE OF THE "P.C."
Across the swiffling waves they went, The gumly bark yoked to and fro: The jupple crew on pleasure bent, Galored, "This is a go!"
Beside the poo's'l stood the Gom, He chirked and murgled in his glee; While near him, in a grue jipon, The Bard was quite at sea.
"Gollop! Golloy! Thou scrumjous Bard! Take pen (thy stylo) and endite A pome, my brain needs kurgling hard, And I will feast tonight."
That wansome Bard he took his pen, A flirgly look around he guv; He squoffled once, he squirled, and then He wrote what's writ above.
When the breeze from the bluebottle's blustering blim Twirls the toads in a tooroomaloo, And the whiskery whine of the wheedlesome whim Drowns the roll of the rattatattoo, Then I dream in the shade of the shally-go-shee, And the voice of the bally-molay Brings the smell of stale poppy-cods blummered in blee From the willy-wad over the way.
Ah, the shuddering shoo and the blinketty-blanks When the yungalung falls from the bough In the blast of a hurricane's hicketty-hanks On the hills of the hocketty-how! Give the rigamarole to the clangery-whang, If they care for such fiddlededee; But the thingumbob kiss of the whangery-bang Keeps the higgledy-piggle for me.
It is pilly-po-doddle and aligobung When the lollypop covers the ground, Yet the poldiddle perishes punketty-pung When the heart jimmy-coggles around. If the soul cannot snoop at the giggle-some cart, Seeking surcease in gluggety-glug, It is useless to say to the pulsating heart, "Panky-doodle ker-chuggetty-chug!"
Night saw the crew like pedlers with their packs Altho' it were too dear to pay for eggs; Walk crank along with coffin on their backs While in their arms they bow their weary legs.
And yet 't was strange, and scarce can one suppose That a brown buzzard-fly should steal and wear His white jean breeches and black woollen hose, But thence that flies have souls is very clear.
But, Holy Father! what shall save the soul, When cobblers ask three dollars for their shoes? When cooks their biscuits with a shot-tower roll, And farmers rake their hay-cocks with their hoes.
Yet, 'twere profuse to see for pendant light, A tea-pot dangle in a lady's ear; And 'twere indelicate, although she might Swallow two whales and yet the moon shine clear.
But what to me are woven clouds, or what, If dames from spiders learn to warp their looms? If coal-black ghosts turn soldiers for the State, With wooden eyes, and lightning-rods for plumes?
Oh! too, too shocking! barbarous, savage taste! To eat one's mother ere itself was born! To gripe the tall town-steeple by the waste, And scoop it out to be his drinking-horn.
No more: no more! I'm sick and dead and gone; Boxed in a coffin, stifled six feet deep; Thorns, fat and fearless, prick my skin and bone, And revel o'er me, like a soulless sheep.
Henry Coggswell Knight, 1815.
Oh that my Lungs could bleat like butter'd Pease; But bleating of my lungs hath Caught the itch, And are as mangy as the Irish Seas That offer wary windmills to the Rich.
I grant that Rainbowes being lull'd asleep, Snort like a woodknife in a Lady's eyes; Which makes her grieve to see a pudding creep, For Creeping puddings only please the wise.
Not that a hard-row'd herring should presume To swing a tyth pig in a Cateskin purse; For fear the hailstons which did fall at Rome, By lesning of the fault should make it worse.
For 'tis most certain Winter woolsacks grow From geese to swans if men could keep them so, Till that the sheep shorn Planets gave the hint To pickle pancakes in Geneva print.
Some men there were that did suppose the skie Was made of Carbonado'd Antidotes; But my opinion is, a Whale's left eye, Need not be coyned all King Harry groates.
The reason's plain, for Charon's Westerne barge Running a tilt at the Subjunctive mood, Beckoned to Bednal Green, and gave him charge To fasten padlockes with Antartic food.
The End will be the Mill ponds must be laded, To fish for white pots in a Country dance; So they that suffered wrong and were upbraded Shall be made friends in a left-handed trance.
SONNET FOUND IN A DESERTED MAD HOUSE
Oh that my soul a marrow-bone might seize! For the old egg of my desire is broken, Spilled is the pearly white and spilled the yolk, and As the mild melancholy contents grease My path the shorn lamb baas like bumblebees. Time's trashy purse is as a taken token Or like a thrilling recitation, spoken By mournful mouths filled full of mirth and cheese.
And yet, why should I clasp the earthful urn? Or find the frittered fig that felt the fast? Or choose to chase the cheese around the churn? Or swallow any pill from out the past? Ah, no Love, not while your hot kisses burn Like a potato riding on the blast.
THE OCEAN WANDERER
Bright breaks the warrior o'er the ocean wave Through realms that rove not, clouds that cannot save, Sinks in the sunshine; dazzles o'er the tomb And mocks the mutiny of Memory's gloom. Oh! who can feel the crimson ecstasy That soothes with bickering jar the Glorious Tree? O'er the high rock the foam of gladness throws, While star-beams lull Vesuvius to repose: Girds the white spray, and in the blue lagoon, Weeps like a walrus o'er the waning moon? Who can declare?—not thou, pervading boy Whom pibrochs pierce not, crystals cannot cloy;— Not thou soft Architect of silvery gleams, Whose soul would simmer in Hesperian streams, Th' exhaustless fire—the bosom's azure bliss, That hurtles, life-like, o'er a scene like this;— Defies the distant agony of Day— And sweeps o'er hetacombs—away! away! Say shall Destruction's lava load the gale, The furnace quiver and the mountain quail? Say shall the son of Sympathy pretend His cedar fragrance with our Chiefs to blend? There, where the gnarled monuments of sand Howl their dark whirlwinds to the levin brand; Conclusive tenderness; fraternal grog, Tidy conjunction; adamantine bog, Impetuous arrant toadstool; Thundering quince, Repentant dog-star, inessential Prince, Expound. Pre-Adamite eventful gun, Crush retribution, currant-jelly, pun, Oh! eligible Darkness, fender, sting, Heav'n-born Insanity, courageous thing. Intending, bending, scouring, piercing all, Death like pomatum, tea, and crabs must fall.
SHE'S ALL MY FANCY PAINTED HIM
She's all my fancy painted him, (I make no idle boast); If he or you had lost a limb, Which would have suffered most?
He said that you had been to her, And seen me here before: But, in another character She was the same of yore.
There was not one that spoke to us, Of all that thronged the street; So he sadly got into a 'bus, And pattered with his feet.
They told me you had been to her, And mentioned me to him; She gave me a good character, But said I could not swim.
He sent them word I had not gone (We know it to be true); If she should push the matter on, What would become of you?
I gave her one, they gave him two, You gave us three or more; They all returned from him to you, Though they were mine before.
If I or she should chance to be Involved in this affair, He trusts to you to set them free, Exactly as we were.
My notion was that you had been (Before she had this fit) An obstacle that came between Him, and ourselves, and it.
Don't let him know she liked them best, For this must ever be A secret, kept from all the rest, Between yourself and me.
MY RECOLLECTEST THOUGHTS
My recollectest thoughts are those Which I remember yet; And bearing on, as you'd suppose, The things I don't forget.
But my resemblest thoughts are less Alike than they should be; A state of things, as you'll confess, You very seldom see.
And yet the mostest thought I love Is what no one believes— That I'm the sole survivor of The famous Forty Thieves!
Charles E. Carry.
"You are old, Father William," the young man said, "And your nose has a look of surprise; Your eyes have turned round to the back of your head, And you live upon cucumber pies."
"I know it, I know it," the old man replied, "And it comes from employing a quack, Who said if I laughed when the crocodile died I should never have pains in my back."
"You are old, Father William," the young man said, "And your legs always get in your way; You use too much mortar in mixing your bread, And you try to drink timothy hay."
"Very true, very true," said the wretched old man, "Every word that you tell me is true; And it's caused by my having my kerosene can Painted red where it ought to be blue."
"You are old, Father William," the young man said, "And your teeth are beginning to freeze, Your favorite daughter has wheels in her head, And the chickens are eating your knees."
"You are right," said the old man, "I cannot deny, That my troubles are many and great, But I'll butter my ears on the Fourth of July, And then I'll be able to skate."
IN THE GLOAMING
The twilight twiles in the vernal vale, In adumbration of azure awe, And I listlessly list in my swallow-tail To the limpet licking his limber jaw. And it's O for the sound of the daffodil, For the dry distillings of prawn and prout, When hope hops high and a heather hill Is a dear delight and a darksome doubt. The snagwap sits in the bosky brae And sings to the gumplet in accents sweet; The gibwink hasn't a word to say, But pensively smiles at the fair keeweet.
And it's O for the jungles of Boorabul. For the jingling jungles to jangle in, With a moony maze of mellado mull, And a protoplasm for next of kin. O, sweet is the note of the shagreen shard And mellow the mew of the mastodon, When the soboliferous Somminard Is scenting the shadows at set of sun. And it's O for the timorous tamarind In the murky meadows of Mariboo, For the suave sirocco of Sazerkind, And the pimpernell pellets of Pangipoo.
James C. Bayles.
BALLAD OF BEDLAM
Oh, lady, wake! the azure moon Is rippling in the verdant skies, The owl is warbling his soft tune, Awaiting but thy snowy eyes.
The joys of future years are past, To-morrow's hopes have fled away; Still let us love, and e'en at last We shall be happy yesterday.
The early beam of rosy night Drives off the ebon morn afar, While through the murmur of the light The huntsman winds his mad guitar.
Then, lady, wake! my brigantine Pants, neighs, and prances to be free; Till the creation I am thine, To some rich desert fly with me.
'TIS SWEET TO ROAM
'Tis sweet to roam when morning's light Resounds across the deep; And the crystal song of the woodbine bright Hushes the rocks to sleep, And the blood-red moon in the blaze of noon Is bathed in a crumbling dew, And the wolf rings out with a glittering shout, To-whit, to-whit, to-whoo!
HYMN TO THE SUNRISE
The dreamy crags with raucous voices croon Across the zephyr's heliotrope career; I sit contentedly upon the moon And watch the sunlight trickle round the sphere.
The shiny trill of jagged, feathered rocks I hear with glee as swift I fly away; And over waves of subtle, woolly flocks Crashes the breaking day!
THE MOON IS UP
The moon is up, the moon is up! The larks begin to fly, And, like a drowsy buttercup, Dark Phoebus skims the sky, The elephant, with cheerful voice, Sings blithely on the spray; The bats and beetles all rejoice, Then let me, too, be gay.
I would I were a porcupine, And wore a peacock's tail; To-morrow, if the moon but shine, Perchance I'll be a whale. Then let me, like the cauliflower, Be merry while I may, And, ere there comes a sunny hour To cloud my heart, be gay!
'Tis midnight, and the setting sun Is slowly rising in the west; The rapid rivers slowly run, The frog is on his downy nest. The pensive goat and sportive cow, Hilarious, leap from bough to bough.
UPRISING SEE THE FITFUL LARK
Uprising see the fitful lark Unfold his pinion to the stream; The pensive watch-dog's mellow bark O'ershades yon cottage like a dream: The playful duck and warbling bee Hop gayly on, from tree to tree!
How calmly could my spirit rest Beneath yon primrose bell so blue, And watch those airy oxen drest In every tint of pearling hue! As on they hurl the gladsome plough, While fairy zephyrs deck each brow!
LIKE TO THE THUNDERING TONE
Like to the thundering tone of unspoke speeches, Or like a lobster clad in logic breeches, Or like the gray fur of a crimson cat, Or like the mooncalf in a slipshod hat; E'en such is he who never was begotten Until his children were both dead and rotten.
Like to the fiery tombstone of a cabbage, Or like a crab-louse with its bag and baggage, Or like the four square circle of a ring, Or like to hey ding, ding-a, ding-a, ding; E'en such is he who spake, and yet, no doubt, Spake to small purpose, when his tongue was out.
Like to a fair, fresh, fading, wither'd rose, Or like to rhyming verse that runs in prose, Or like the stumbles of a tinder-box, Or like a man that's sound yet sickness mocks; E'en such is he who died and yet did laugh To see these lines writ for his epitaph.
Bishop Corbet in 17th century.
I dreamed a dream next Tuesday week, Beneath the apple-trees; I thought my eyes were big pork-pies, And my nose was Stilton cheese. The clock struck twenty minutes to six, When a frog sat on my knee; I asked him to lend me eighteenpence, But he borrowed a shilling of me.
My home is on the rolling deep, I spend my time a-feeding sheep; And when the waves on high are running, I take my gun and go a-gunning. I shoot wild ducks down deep snake-holes, And drink gin-sling from two-quart bowls.
We seek to know, and knowing seek; We seek, we know, and every sense Is trembling with the great intense, And vibrating to what we speak.
We ask too much, we seek too oft; We know enough and should no more; And yet we skim through Fancy's lore, And look to earth and not aloft.
* * * * *
O Sea! whose ancient ripples lie On red-ribbed sands where seaweeds shone; O moon! whose golden sickle's gone, O voices all! like you I die!
THE HIGHER PANTHEISM IN A NUTSHELL
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.
One and two are not one; but one and nothing is two; Truth can hardly be false, if falsehood cannot be true.
Parallels all things are; yet many of these are askew; You are certainly I; but certainly I am not you.
One, whom we see not, is; and one, who is not, we see; Fiddle, we know, is diddle; and diddle, we take it, is dee.
Power to thine elbow, thou newest of sciences, All the old landmarks are ripe for decay; Wars are but shadows, and so are alliances, Darwin the great is the man of the day.
All other 'ologies want an apology; Bread's a mistake—Science offers a stone; Nothing is true but Anthropobiology— Darwin the great understands it alone.
Mighty the great evolutionist teacher is, Licking Morphology clean into shape; Lord! what an ape the Professor or Preacher is, Ever to doubt his descent from an ape.
Man's an Anthropoid—he cannot help that, you know— First evoluted from Pongos of old; He's but a branch of the catarrhine cat, you know— Monkey I mean—that's an ape with a cold.
Fast dying out are man's later Appearances, Cataclysmitic Geologies gone; Now of Creation completed the clearance is, Darwin alone you must anchor upon.
Primitive Life—Organisms were chemical, Busting spontaneous under the sea; Purely subaqueous, panaquademical, Was the original Crystal of Me.
I'm the Apostle of mighty Darwinity, Stands for Divinity—sounds much the same— Apo-theistico-Pan-Asininity Only can doubt whence the lot of us came.
Down on your knees, Superstition and Flunkeydom! Won't you accept such plain doctrines instead? What is so simple as primitive Monkeydom Born in the sea with a cold in its head?
SONG OF THE SCREW
A moving form or rigid mass, Under whate'er conditions Along successive screws must pass Between each two positions. It turns around and slides along— This is the burden of my song.
The pitch of screw, if multiplied By angle of rotation, Will give the distance it must glide In motion of translation. Infinite pitch means pure translation, And zero pitch means pure rotation.
Two motions on two given screws, With amplitudes at pleasure, Into a third screw-motion fuse; Whose amplitude we measure By parallelogram construction (A very obvious deduction.)
Its axis cuts the nodal line Which to both screws is normal, And generates a form divine, Whose name, in language formal, Is "surface-ruled of third degree." Cylindroid is the name for me.
Rotation round a given line Is like a force along. If to say couple you incline, You're clearly in the wrong;— 'Tis obvious, upon reflection, A line is not a mere direction.
So couples with translations too In all respects agree; And thus there centres in the screw A wondrous harmony Of Kinematics and of Statics,— The sweetest thing in mathematics.
The forces on one given screw, With motion on a second, In general some work will do, Whose magnitude is reckoned By angle, force, and what we call The coefficient virtual.
Rotation now to force convert, And force into rotation; Unchanged the work, we can assert, In spite of transformation. And if two screws no work can claim, Reciprocal will be their name.
Five numbers will a screw define, A screwing motion, six; For four will give the axial line, One more the pitch will fix; And hence we always can contrive One screw reciprocal to five.
Screws—two, three, four or five, combined (No question here of six), Yield other screws which are confined Within one screw complex. Thus we obtain the clearest notion Of freedom and constraint of motion.
In complex III., three several screws At every point you find, Or if you one direction choose, One screw is to your mind; And complexes of order III. Their own reciprocals may be.
In IV., wherever you arrive, You find of screws a cone, On every line in complex V. There is precisely one; At each point of this complex rich, A plane of screws have given pitch.
But time would fail me to discourse Of Order and Degree; Of Impulse, Energy and Force, And Reciprocity. All these and more, for motions small, Have been discussed by Dr. Ball.
MOORLANDS OF THE NOT
Across the moorlands of the Not We chase the gruesome When; And hunt the Itness of the What Through forests of the Then. Into the Inner Consciousness We track the crafty Where; We spear the Ego tough, and beard The Selfhood in his lair.
With lassos of the brain we catch The Isness of the Was; And in the copses of the Whence We hear the think bees buzz. We climb the slippery Whichbark tree To watch the Thusness roll And pause betimes in gnostic rimes To woo the Over Soul.
Why and Wherefore set out one day To hunt for a wild Negation. They agreed to meet at a cool retreat On the Point of Interrogation.
But the night was dark and they missed their mark, And, driven well-nigh to distraction, They lost their ways in a murky maze Of utter abstruse abstraction.
Then they took a boat and were soon afloat On a sea of Speculation, But the sea grew rough, and their boat, though tough, Was split into an Equation.
As they floundered about in the waves of doubt Rose a fearful Hypothesis, Who gibbered with glee as they sank in the sea, And the last they saw was this:
On a rock-bound reef of Unbelief There sat the wild Negation; Then they sank once more and were washed ashore At the Point of Interrogation.
If echoes from the fitful past Could rise to mental view, Would all their fancied radiance last Or would some odors from the blast, Untouched by Time, accrue?
Is present pain a future bliss, Or is it something worse? For instance, take a case like this: Is fancied kick a real kiss, Or rather the reverse?
Is plenitude of passion palled By poverty of scorn? Does Fiction mend where Fact has mauled? Has Death its wisest victims called When idiots are born?
In Mystic Argot often Confounded with Farrago
If aught that stumbles in my speech Or stutters in my pen, Or, claiming tribute, each to each, Rise, not to fall again, Let something lowlier far, for me, Through evanescent shades— Than which my spirit might not be Nourished in fitful ecstasy Not less to know but more to see Where that great Bliss pervades.
Supposed to be Translated from the Old Parsee
Twine then the rays Round her soft Theban tissues! All will be as She says, When that dead past reissues. Matters not what nor where, Hark, to the moon's dim cluster! How was her heavy hair Lithe as a feather duster! Matters not when nor whence; Flittertigibbet! Sounds make the song, not sense, Thus I inhibit!
TIMON OF ARCHIMEDES
As one who cleaves the circumambient air Seeking in azure what it lacks in space, And sees a young and finely chiselled face Filled with foretastes of wisdom yet more rare; Touching and yet untouched—unmeasured grace! A breathing credo and a living prayer— Yet of the earth, still earthy; debonair The while in heaven it seeketh for a place.
So thy dear eyes and thy kind lips but say— Ere from his cerements Timon seems to flit: "What of the reaper grim with sickle keen?" And then the sunlight ushers in new day And for our tasks our bodies seem more fit— "Might of the night, unfleeing, sight unseen."
Charles Battell Loomis.
Alone! Alone! I sit in the solitudes of the moonshades, Soul-hungering in the moonshade solitudes sit I— My heart-lifts beaten down in the wild wind-path. Oppressed, and scourged and beaten down are my heart-lifts. I fix my gaze on the eye-star, and the eye-star flings its dart upon me. I wonder why my soul is lost in wonder why I am, And why the eye-star mocks me, Why the wild wind beats down my heart-lifts; Why I am stricken here in the moonshade solitudes. Oh! why am I what I am, And why am I anything? Am I not as wild as the wind and more crazy? Why do I sit in the moonshade, while the eye-star mocks me while I ask what I am?
LINES BY A MEDIUM
I might not, if I could; I should not, if I might; Yet if I should I would, And, shoulding, I should quite!
I must not, yet I may; I can, and still I must; But ah! I cannot—nay, To must I may not, just!
I shall, although I will, But be it understood, If I may, can, shall—still I might, could, would, or should!
It is told, in Buddhi-theosophic schools, There are rules, By observing which, when mundane labor irks One can simulate quiescence By a timely evanescence From his Active Mortal Essence, (Or his Works.)
The particular procedure leaves research In the lurch, But, apparently, this matter-moulded form Is a kind of outer plaster, Which a well-instructed Master Can remove without disaster When he's warm.
And to such as mourn an Indian Solar Clime At its prime 'Twere a thesis most immeasurably fit, So expansively elastic, And so plausibly fantastic, That one gets enthusiastic For a bit.
From the Times of India.
In loopy links the canker crawls, Tads twiddle in their 'polian glee, Yet sinks my heart as water falls. The loon that laughs, the babe that bawls, The wedding wear, the funeral palls, Are neither here nor there to me. Of life the mingled wine and brine I sit and sip pipslipsily.
Oh! to be wafted away From this black Aceldama of sorrow, Where the dust of an earthy to-day Makes the earth of a dusty to-morrow.
Come fleetly, come fleetly, my hookabadar, For the sound of the tam-tam is heard from afar. "Banoolah! Banoolah!" The Brahmins are nigh, And the depths of the jungle re-echo their cry. Pestonjee Bomanjee! Smite the guitar; Join in the chorus, my hookabadar.
Heed not the blast of the deadly monsoon, Nor the blue Brahmaputra that gleams in the moon. Stick to thy music, and oh, let the sound Be heard with distinctness a mile or two round. Famsetjee, Feejeebhoy! Sweep the guitar. Join in the chorus, my hookabadar.
Art thou a Buddhist, or dost thou indeed Put faith in the monstrous Mohammedan creed? Art thou a Ghebir—a blinded Parsee? Not that it matters an atom to me. Cursetjee Bomanjee! Twang the guitar Join in the chorus, my hookabadar.
Henry S. Leigh.
THE PERSONIFIED SENTIMENTAL
Affection's charm no longer gilds The idol of the shrine; But cold Oblivion seeks to fill Regret's ambrosial wine. Though Friendship's offering buried lies 'Neath cold Aversion's snow, Regard and Faith will ever bloom Perpetually below.
I see thee whirl in marble halls, In Pleasure's giddy train, Remorse is never on that brow, Nor Sorrow's mark of pain. Deceit has marked thee for her own; Inconstancy the same; And Ruin wildly sheds its gleam Athwart thy path of shame.
A CLASSIC ODE
Oh, limpid stream of Tyrus, now I hear The pulsing wings of Armageddon's host, Clear as a colcothar and yet more clear— (Twin orbs, like those of which the Parsees boast;)
Down in thy pebbled deeps in early spring The dimpled naiads sport, as in the time When Ocidelus with untiring wing Drave teams of prancing tigers, 'mid the chime
Of all the bells of Phicol. Scarcely one Peristome veils its beauties now, but then— Like nascent diamonds, sparkling in the sun, Or sainfoin, circinate, or moss in marshy fen.
Loud as the blasts of Tubal, loud and strong, Sweet as the songs of Sappho, aye more sweet; Long as the spear of Arnon, twice as long, What time he hurled it at King Pharaoh's feet.
Charles Battell Loomis.
WHERE AVALANCHES WAIL
Where avalanches wail, and green Distress Sweeps o'er the pallid beak of loveliness: Where melancholy Sulphur holds her sway: And cliffs of conscience tremble and obey;
And where Tartarean rattle snakes expire; Twisting like tendrils of a hero's pyre? No! dancing in the meteor's hall of power, See, Genius ponders o'er Affection's tower! A form of thund'ring import soars on high, Hark! 'tis the gore of infant melody: No more shall verdant Innocence amuse The lips that death-fraught Indignation glues;— Tempests shall teach the trackless tide of thought. That undiminish'd senselessness is naught; Freedom shall glare; and oh! ye links divine, The Poet's heart shall quiver in the brine.
Mingled aye with fragrant yearnings, Throbbing in the mellow glow, Glint the silvery spirit-burnings, Pearly blandishments of woe.
Aye! forever and forever, Whilst the love-lorn censers sweep, Whilst the jasper winds dissever Amber-like the crystal deep,
Shall the soul's delirious slumber, Sea-green vengeance of a kiss, Teach despairing crags to number Blue infinities of bliss.
Francis G. Stokes.
Good reader, if you e'er have seen, When Phoebus hastens to his pillow, The mermaids with their tresses green Dancing upon the western billow; If you have seen at twilight dim, When the lone spirit's vesper hymn Floats wild along the winding shore, The fairy train their ringlets weave Glancing along the spangled green;— If you have seen all this, and more, God bless me! what a deal you've seen!
SUPERIOR NONSENSE VERSES
He comes with herald clouds of dust; Ecstatic frenzies rend his breast; A moment, and he graced the earth— Now, seek him at the eagle's nest.
Hark! see'st thou not the torrent's flash Far shooting o'er the mountain height? Hear'st not the billow's solemn roar, That echoes through the vaults of night?
Anon the murky cloud is riven, The lightnings leap in sportive play, And through the clanging doors of heaven, In calm effulgence bursts the day.
Hope, peering from her fleecy car, Smiles welcome to the coming spring, And birds with blithesome songs of praise Make every grove and valley ring.
What though on pinions of the blast The sea-gulls sweep with leaden flight? What though the watery caverns deep Gleam ghostly on the wandering sight?
Is there no music in the trees To charm thee with its frolic mirth? Must Care's wan phantom still beguile And chain thee to the stubborn earth?
Lo! Fancy from her magic realm Pours Boreal gleams adown the pole. The tidal currents lift and swell— Dead currents of the ocean's soul.
Yet never may their mystic streams Breathe whispers of the mournful past, Or Pallas wake her sounding lyre Mid Ether's columned temples vast.
Grave History walks again the earth As erst it did in days of eld, When seated on the golden throne Her hand a jewelled sceptre held.
The Delphian oracle is dumb, Dread Cumae wafts no words of fate, To fright the eager souls that press Through sullen Lethe's iron gate.
But deeper shadows gather o'er The vales that sever night and morn; And darkness folds with brooding wing The rustling fields of waving corn.
Then issuing from his bosky lair The crafty tiger crouches low, Or thunders from the frozen north The white bear lapped in Arctic snow.
Thus shift the scenes till high aloft The young moon sets her crescent horn, And in gray evening's emerald sea The beauteous Star of Love is born.
WHEN MOONLIKE ORE THE HAZURE SEAS
When moonlike ore the hazure seas In soft effulgence swells, When silver jews and balmy breaze Bend down the Lily's bells;
When calm and deap, the rosy sleap Has lapt your soal in dreems, R Hangeline! R lady mine! Dost thou remember Jeames?
I mark thee in the Marble all, Where England's loveliest shine— I say the fairest of them hall Is Lady Hangeline.
My soul, in desolate eclipse, With recollection teems— And then I hask, with weeping lips, Dost thou remember Jeames?
Away! I may not tell thee hall This soughring heart endures— There is a lonely sperrit-call That Sorrow never cures;
There is a little, little Star, That still above me beams; It is the Star of Hope—but ar! Dost thou remember Jeames?
LINES BY A PERSON OF QUALITY
Fluttering spread thy purple pinions, Gentle Cupid, o'er my heart, I a slave in thy dominions, Nature must give way to art.
Mild Arcadians, ever blooming, Nightly nodding o'er your flocks, See my weary days consuming, All beneath yon flowery rocks.
Thus the Cyprian goddess weeping, Mourned Adonis, darling youth: Him the boar, in silence creeping, Gored with unrelenting tooth.
Cynthia, tune harmonious numbers; Fair Discretion, tune the lyre; Soothe my ever-waking slumbers; Bright Apollo, lend thy choir.
Gloomy Pluto, king of terrors, Armed in adamantine chains, Lead me to the crystal mirrors, Watering soft Elysian plains.
Mournful Cypress, verdant willow, Gilding my Aurelia's brows, Morpheus, hovering o'er my pillow, Hear me pay my dying vows.
Melancholy, smooth Maeander, Swiftly purling in a round, On thy margin lovers wander With thy flowery chaplets crowned.
Thus when Philomela, drooping, Softly seeks her silent mate, So the bird of Juno stooping; Melody resigns to fate.
Untwine those ringlets! Ev'ry dainty clasp That shines like twisted sunlight in my eye Is but the coiling of the jewelled asp That smiles to see men die.
Oh, cobra-curled! Fierce-fanged fair one! Draw Night's curtain o'er the landscape of thy hair! I yield! I kneel! I own, I bless thy law That dooms me to despair.
I mark the crimson ruby of thy lips, I feel the witching weirdness of thy breath! I droop! I sink into my soul's eclipse,— I fall in love with death!
And yet, vouchsafe a moment! I would gaze Once more into those sweetly-murderous eyes, Soft glimmering athwart the pearly haze That smites to dusk the skies.
Hast thou no pity? Must I darkly tread The unknown paths that lead me wide from thee? Hast thou no garland for this aching head That soon so low must be?
No sound? No sigh? No smile? Is all forgot? Then spin my shroud out of that golden skein Thou callst thy tresses! I shall stay thee not— My struggles were but vain!
But shall I see thee far beyond the sun, When the new dawn lights Empyrean scenes? What matters now? I know the poem's done, And wonder what the dickens it all means!
LINES BY A FOND LOVER
Lovely maid, with rapture swelling, Should these pages meet thine eye, Clouds of absence soft dispelling;— Vacant memory heaves a sigh.
As the rose, with fragrance weeping, Trembles to the tuneful wave, So my heart shall twine unsleeping, Till it canopies the grave.
Though another's smile's requited, Envious fate my doom should be; Joy forever disunited, Think, ah! think, at times on me!
Oft, amid the spicy gloaming, Where the brakes their songs instil, Fond affection silent roaming, Loves to linger by the rill—
There, when echo's voice consoling, Hears the nightingale complain, Gentle sighs my lips controlling, Bind my soul in beauty's chain.
Oft in slumber's deep recesses, I thy mirror'd image see; Fancy mocks the vain caresses I would lavish like a bee!
But how vain is glittering sadness! Hark, I hear distraction's knell! Torture gilds my heart with madness! Now forever fare thee well!
FORCING A WAY
How many strive to force a way Where none can go save those who pay, To verdant plains of soft delight The homage of the silent night, When countless stars from pole to pole Around the earth unceasing roll In roseate shadow's silvery hue, Shine forth and gild the morning dew.
And must we really part for good, But meet again here where we've stood? No more delightful trysting-place, We've watched sweet Nature's smiling face. No more the landscape's lovely brow, Exchange our mutual breathing vow. Then should the twilight draw around No loving interchange of sound.
Less for renown than innate love, These to my wish must recreant prove; Nor whilst an impulse here remain, Can ever hope the soul to gain; For memory scanning all the past, Relaxes her firm bonds at last, And gives to candor all the grace The heart can in its temple trace.
Thy heart is like some icy lake, On whose cold brink I stand; Oh, buckle on my spirit's skate, And lead, thou living saint, the way To where the ice is thin— That it may break beneath my feet And let a lover in!
A LOVE-SONG BY A LUNATIC
There's not a spider in the sky, There's not a glowworm in the sea, There's not a crab that soars on high, But bids me dream, dear maid, of thee!
When watery Phoebus ploughs the main, When fiery Luna gilds the lea, As flies run up the window-pane, So fly my thoughts, dear love, to thee!
I don't know any greatest treat As sit him in a gay parterre, And sniff one up the perfume sweet Of every roses buttoning there.
It only want my charming miss Who make to blush the self red rose; Oh! I have envy of to kiss The end's tip of her splendid nose.
Oh! I have envy of to be What grass 'neath her pantoffle push, And too much happy seemeth me The margaret which her vestige crush.
But I will meet her nose at nose, And take occasion for her hairs, And indicate her all my woes, That she in fine agree my prayers.
THE ENVOY I don't know any greatest treat As sit him in a gay parterre, With Madame who is too more sweet Than every roses buttoning there.
When gooseberries grow on the stem of a daisy, And plum-puddings roll on the tide to the shore, And julep is made from the curls of a jazey, Oh, then, Mollidusta, I'll love thee no more.
When steamboats no more on the Thames shall be going, And a cast-iron bridge reach Vauxhall from the Nore, And the Grand Junction waterworks cease to be flowing, Oh, then, Mollidusta, I'll love thee no more.
At the Piano
Love me and leave me; what love bids retrieve me? can June's fist grasp May? Leave me and love me; hopes eyed once above me like spring's sprouts, decay; Fall as the snow falls, when summer leaves grow false—cards packed for storm's play!
Nay, say Decay's self be but last May's elf, wing shifted, eye sheathed— Changeling in April's crib rocked, who lets 'scape rills locked fast since frost breathed— Skin cast (think!) adder-like, now bloom bursts bladder-like,— bloom frost bequeathed?
Ah, how can fear sit and hear as love hears it grief's heart's cracked grate's screech? Chance lets the gate sway that opens on hate's way and shews on shame's beach Crouched like an imp sly change watch sweet love's shrimps lie, a toothful in each.
Time feels his tooth slip on husks wet from Truth's lip, which drops them and grins— Shells where no throb stirs of life left in lobsters since joy thrilled their fins— Hues of the pawn's tail or comb that makes dawn stale, so red for our sins!
Leaves love last year smelt now feel dead love's tears melt—flies caught in time's mesh! Salt are the dews in which new time breeds new sin, brews blood and stews flesh; Next year may see dead more germs than this weeded and reared them afresh.
Old times left perish, new time to cherish; life just shifts its tune; As, when the day dies, half afraid, eyes the growth of the moon; Love me and save me, take me or waive me; death takes one so soon!
THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey, and plenty of money Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, "Oh, lovely Pussy, oh, Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl, How charmingly sweet you sing! Oh, let us be married; too long we have tarried: But what shall we do for a ring?" They sailed away for a year and a day, To the land where the bong-tree grows; And there in the wood a Piggy-wig stood, With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will." So they took it away and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill. They dined on mince and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon, The moon, The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
A BALLADE OF THE NURSERIE
She hid herself in the soiree kettle Out of her Ma's way, wise, wee maid! Wan was her lip as the lily's petal, Sad was the smile that over it played. Why doth she warble not? Is she afraid Of the hound that howls, or the moaning mole? Can it be on an errand she hath delayed? Hush thee, hush thee, dear little soul!
The nightingale sings to the nodding nettle In the gloom o' the gloaming athwart the glade: The zephyr sighs soft on Popocatapetl, And Auster is taking it cool in the shade: Sing, hey, for a gutta serenade! Not mine to stir up a storied pole, No noses snip with a bluggy blade— Hush thee, hush thee, dear little soul!
Shall I bribe with a store of minted metal? With Everton toffee thee persuade? That thou in a kettle thyself shouldst settle, When grandly and gaudily all arrayed! Thy flounces 'ill foul and fangles fade. Come out, and Algernon Charles 'ill roll Thee safe and snug in Plutonian plaid— Hush thee, hush thee, dear little soul!
When nap is none and raiment frayed, And winter crowns the puddered poll, A kettle sings ane soote ballade— Hush thee, hush thee, dear little soul.
A BALLAD OF HIGH ENDEAVOR
Ah Night! blind germ of days to be, Ah me! ah me! (Sweet Venus, mother!) What wail of smitten strings hear we? (Ah me! ah me! Hey diddle dee!)
Ravished by clouds our Lady Moon, Ah me! ah me! (Sweet Venus, mother!) Sinks swooning in a lady-swoon (Ah me! ah me! Dum diddle dee!)
What profits it to rise i' the dark? Ah me! ah me! (Sweet Venus, mother!) If love but over-soar its mark (Ah me! ah me! Hey diddle dee!)
What boots to fall again forlorn? Ah me! ah me! (Sweet Venus, mother!) Scorned by the grinning hound of scorn, (Ah me! ah me! Dum diddle dee!)
Art thou not greater who art less? Ah me! ah me! (Sweet Venus, mother!) Low love fulfilled of low success? (Ah me! ah me! Hey diddle dee!)
THE LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG
Out on the margin of moonshine land, Tickle me, love, in these lonesome ribs, Out where the whing-whang loves to stand, Writing his name with his tail on the sand, And wiping it out with his oogerish hand; Tickle me, love, in these lonesome ribs.
Is it the gibber of gungs and keeks? Tickle me, love, in these lonesome ribs, Or what is the sound the whing-whang seeks, Crouching low by the winding creeks, And holding his breath for weeks and weeks? Tickle me, love, in these lonesome ribs.
Aroint him the wraithest of wraithly things! Tickle me, love, in these lonesome ribs, 'Tis a fair whing-whangess with phosphor rings, And bridal jewels of fangs and stings,
James W. Riley
OH! WEARY MOTHER
The lilies lie in my lady's bower, (Oh! weary mother, drive the cows to roost;) They faintly droop for a little hour; My lady's head droops like a flower.
She took the porcelain in her hand, (Oh! weary mother, drive the cows to roost;) She poured; I drank at her command; Drank deep, and now—you understand! (Oh! weary mother, drive the cows to roost.)
I'm a gay tra, la, la, With my fal, lal, la, la, And my bright— And my light— Tra, la, le. [Repeat.]
Then laugh, ha, ha, ha, And ring, ting, ling, ling, And sing, fal, la, la, La, la, le. [Repeat.]
The bulbul hummeth like a book Upon the pooh-pooh tree, And now and then he takes a look At you and me, At me and you. Kuchi! Kuchoo!
With an Ancient Refrain
O stoodent A has gone and spent, With a hey-lililu and a how-low-lan All his money to a Cent, And the birk and the broom blooms bonny.
His Creditors he could not pay, With a hey-lililu and a how-low-lan, And Prison proved a shock to A, And the birk and the broom blooms bonny.
OH, MY GERALDINE
Oh, my Geraldine, No flow'r was ever seen so toodle um. You are my lum ti toodle lay, Pretty, pretty queen, Is rum ti Geraldine and something teen, More sweet than tiddle lum in May. Like the star so bright That somethings all the night, My Geraldine! You're fair as the rum ti lum ti sheen, Hark! there is what—ho! From something—um, you know, Dear, what I mean. Oh! rum! tum!! tum!!! my Geraldine.
BUZ, QUOTH THE BLUE FLY
Buz, quoth the blue fly, Hum, quoth the bee, Buz and hum they cry, And so do we: In his ear, in his nose, thus, do you see? He ate the dormouse, else it was he.
Ben Jonson in "The Masque of Oberon."
A SONG ON KING WILLIAM III
As I walked by myself, And talked to myself, Myself said unto me, Look to thyself, Take care of thyself, For nobody cares for thee.
I answered myself, And said to myself, In the self-same repartee, Look to thyself, Or not look to thyself, The selfsame thing will be.
THERE WAS A MONKEY
There was a monkey climbed up a tree, When he fell down, then down fell he.
There was a crow sat on a stone, When he was gone, then there was none.
There was an old wife did eat an apple, When she had eat two, she had eat a couple.
There was a horse going to the mill, When he went on, he stood not still.
There was a butcher cut his thumb, When it did bleed, then blood did come.
There was a lackey ran a race, When he ran fast, he ran apace.
There was a cobbler clouting shoon, When they were mended, they were done.
There was a chandler making candle, When he them strip, he did them handle.
There was a navy went into Spain, When it returned, it came again.
THE GUINEA PIG
There was a little Guinea-pig, Who, being little, was not big; He always walked upon his feet, And never fasted when he eat.
When from a place he ran away, He never at that place did stay; And while he ran, as I am told, He ne'er stood still for young or old.
He often squeaked, and sometimes vi'lent, And when he squeaked he ne'er was silent: Though ne'er instructed by a cat, He knew a mouse was not a rat.
One day, as I am certified, He took a whim, and fairly died; And as I'm told by men of sense, He never has been living since!
Three children sliding on the ice Upon a summer's day, As it fell out they all fell in, The rest they ran away.
Now, had these children been at home, Or sliding on dry ground, Ten thousand pounds to one penny They had not all been drowned.
You parents all that children have, And you too that have none, If you would have them safe abroad Pray keep them safe at home.
If all the land were apple-pie, And all the sea were ink; And all the trees were bread and cheese, What should we do for drink?
The man in the wilderness asked of me How many strawberries grew in the sea. I answered him as I thought good, As many as red herrings grow in the wood.
THREE JOVIAL HUNTSMEN
There were three jovial huntsmen, As I have heard them say, And they would go a-hunting All on a summer's day.
All the day they hunted, And nothing could they find But a ship a-sailing, A-sailing with the wind.
One said it was a ship, The other said Nay; The third said it was a house With the chimney blown away.
And all the night they hunted, And nothing could they find; But the moon a-gliding, A-gliding with the wind.
One said it was the moon, The other said Nay; The third said it was a cheese, And half o't cut away.
THREE ACRES OF LAND
My father left me three acres of land, Sing ivy, sing ivy; My father left me three acres of land, Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy!
I ploughed it with a ram's horn, Sing ivy, sing ivy; And sowed it all over with one peppercorn. Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy!
I harrowed it with a bramble bush, Sing ivy, sing ivy; And reaped it with my little penknife, Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy!
I got the mice to carry it to the barn, Sing ivy, sing ivy; And thrashed it with a goose's quill, Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy!
I got the cat to carry it to the mill, Sing ivy, sing ivy; The miller he swore he would have her paw, And the cat she swore she would scratch his face, Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy!
MASTER AND MAN
Master I have, and I am his man, Gallop a dreary dun; Master I have, and I am his man, And I'll get a wife as fast as I can; With a heighly gaily gamberally, Higgledy piggledy, niggledy, niggledy, Gallop a dreary dun.
Hyder iddle diddle dell, A yard of pudding is not an ell; Not forgetting tweedle-dye, A tailor's goose will never fly.
When good King Arthur ruled the land, He was a goodly king: He stole three pecks of barley meal, To make a bag-pudding.
A bag-pudding the king did make, And stuffed it well with plums; And in it put great lumps of fat, As big as my two thumbs.
The king and queen did eat thereof, And noblemen beside; And what they could not eat that night, The queen next morning fried.
IN THE DUMPS
We're all in the dumps, For diamonds are trumps; The kittens are gone to St. Paul's! The babies are bit, The moon's in a fit, And the houses are built without walls.
TWEEDLE-DUM AND TWEEDLE-DEE
Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee Resolved to have a battle, For Tweedle-dum said Tweedle-dee Had spoiled his nice new rattle. Just then flew by a monstrous crow, As big as a tar-barrel, Which frightened both the heroes so They quite forgot their quarrel.
MARTIN TO HIS MAN
Martin said to his man, Fie! man, fie! Oh, Martin said to his man, Who's the fool now? Martin said to his man, Fill thou the cup, and I the can; Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
I see a sheep shearing corn, Fie! man, fie! I see a sheep shearing corn, Who's the fool now? I see a sheep shearing corn, And a cuckoo blow his horn; Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
I see a man in the moon, Fie! man, fie! I see a man in the moon, Who's the fool now? I see a man in the moon, Clouting of St. Peter's shoon, Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
I see a hare chase a hound, Fie! man, fie! I see a hare chase a hound, Who's the fool now? I see a hare chase a hound, Twenty mile above the ground; Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
I see a goose ring a hog, Fie! man, fie! I see a goose ring a hog, Who's the fool now? I see a goose ring a hog, And a snail that bit a dog; Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
I see a mouse catch the cat, Fie! man, fie! I see a mouse catch the cat, Who's the fool now? I see a mouse catch the cat, And the cheese to eat the rat; Thou hast well drunken, man: Who's the fool now?
From Deuteromelia printed in the reign of James I.
On the Coast of Coromandel Where the early pumpkins blow, In the middle of the woods Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. Two old chairs, and half a candle, One old jug without a handle,— These were all his worldly goods: In the middle of the woods, These were all the worldly goods Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Once, among the Bong-trees walking Where the early pumpkins blow, To a little heap of stones Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. There he heard a Lady talking, To some milk-white Hens of Dorking,— "'Tis the Lady Jingly Jones! On that little heap of stones Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!" Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
"Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly! Sitting where the pumpkins blow, Will you come and be my wife?" Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, "I am tired of living singly,— On this coast so wild and shingly,— I'm a-weary of my life; If you'll come and be my wife, Quite serene would be my life!" Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
"On this Coast of Coromandel Shrimps and watercresses grow, Prawns are plentiful and cheap," Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. "You shall have my chairs and candle, And my jug without a handle! Gaze upon the rolling deep (Fish is plentiful and cheap): As the sea, my love is deep!" Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Lady Jingly answered sadly, And her tears began to flow,— "Your proposal comes too late, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! I would be your wife most gladly!" (Here she twirled her fingers madly,) "But in England I've a mate! Yes! you've asked me far too late, For in England I've a mate, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!"
Mr. Jones (his name is Handel,— Handel Jones, Esquire & Co.) Dorking fowls delights to send, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Keep, oh, keep your chairs and candle, And your jug without a handle,— I can merely be your friend! Should my Jones more Dorkings send, I will give you three, my friend! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
"Though you've such a tiny body, And your head so large doth grow,— Though your hat may blow away, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Though you're such a Hoddy Doddy, Yet I wish that I could modi- fy the words I needs must say! Will you please to go away? That is all I have to say, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!"
Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle, Where the early pumpkins blow, To the calm and silent sea Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle, Lay a large and lively Turtle. "You're the Cove," he said, "for me: On your back beyond the sea, Turtle, you shall carry me!" Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Through the silent roaring ocean Did the Turtle swiftly go; Holding fast upon his shell Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. With a sad primaeval motion Toward the sunset isles of Boshen Still the Turtle bore him well, Holding fast upon his shell. "Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!" Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
From the Coast of Coromandel Did that Lady never go, On that heap of stones she mourns For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. On that Coast of Coromandel, In his jug without a handle Still she weeps, and daily moans; On the little heap of stones To her Dorking Hens she moans, For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
THE POBBLE WHO HAS NO TOES
The Pobble who has no toes Had once as many as we; When they said, "Some day you may lose them all," He replied, "Fish fiddle de-dee!" And his Aunt Jobiska made him drink Lavender water tinged with pink; For she said, "The World in general knows There's nothing so good for a Pobble's toes!"
The Pobble who has no toes Swam across the Bristol Channel; But before he set out he wrapped his nose In a piece of scarlet flannel. For his Aunt Jobiska said, "No harm Can come to his toes if his nose is warm; And it's perfectly known that a Pobble's toes Are safe—provided he minds his nose."
The Pobble swam fast and well, And when boats or ships came near him, He tinkledy-binkledy-winkled a bell So that all the world could hear him. And all the Sailors and Admirals cried, When they saw him nearing the farther side, "He has gone to fish for his Aunt Jobiska's Runcible Cat with crimson whiskers!"
But before he touched the shore— The shore of the Bristol Channel, A sea-green Porpoise carried away His wrapper of scarlet flannel. And when he came to observe his feet, Formerly garnished with toes so neat, His face at once became forlorn On perceiving that all his toes were gone!
And nobody ever knew, From that dark day to the present, Whoso had taken the Pobble's toes, In a manner so far from pleasant. Whether the shrimps or crawfish gray, Or crafty mermaids stole them away, Nobody knew; and nobody knows How the Pobble was robbed of his twice five toes!
The Pobble who has no toes Was placed in a friendly Bark, And they rowed him back and carried him up To his Aunt Jobiska's Park. And she made him a feast at his earnest wish, Of eggs and buttercups fried with fish; And she said, "It's a fact the whole world knows, That Pobbles are happier without their toes."