Six days shalt thou labor and do all thou art able, And on the seventh holystone the deck and scrape the cable. Decks are no longer holystoned, but the cable still supplies the captain with opportunity to attest a pious respect for the divine ordinance.
All things are either sacred or profane. The former to ecclesiasts bring gain; The latter to the devil appertain. Dumbo Omohundro
Once I seen a human ruin In an elevator-well, And his members was bestrewin' All the place where he had fell. And I says, apostrophisin' That uncommon woful wreck: "Your position's so surprisin' That I tremble for your neck!" Then that ruin, smilin' sadly And impressive, up and spoke: "Well, I wouldn't tremble badly, For it's been a fortnight broke." Then, for further comprehension Of his attitude, he begs I will focus my attention On his various arms and legs -- How they all are contumacious; Where they each, respective, lie; How one trotter proves ungracious, T'other one an alibi. These particulars is mentioned For to show his dismal state, Which I wasn't first intentioned To specifical relate. None is worser to be dreaded That I ever have heard tell Than the gent's who there was spreaded In that elevator-well. Now this tale is allegoric -- It is figurative all, For the well is metaphoric And the feller didn't fall. I opine it isn't moral For a writer-man to cheat, And despise to wear a laurel As was gotten by deceit. For 'tis Politics intended By the elevator, mind, It will boost a person splendid If his talent is the kind. Col. Bryan had the talent (For the busted man is him) And it shot him up right gallant Till his head begun to swim. Then the rope it broke above him And he painful come to earth Where there's nobody to love him For his detrimented worth. Though he's livin' none would know him, Or at leastwise not as such. Moral of this woful poem: Frequent oil your safety-clutch. Porfer Poog
The Duchess of Orleans relates that the irreverent old calumniator, Marshal Villeroi, who in his youth had known St. Francis de Sales, said, on hearing him called saint: "I am delighted to hear that Monsieur de Sales is a saint. He was fond of saying indelicate things, and used to cheat at cards. In other respects he was a perfect gentleman, though a fool."
"Name it." "Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will need laws." "What, wretch! you his appointed adversary, charged from the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul -- you ask for the right to make his laws?" "Pardon; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to make them himself." It was so ordered.
Hail Satire! be thy praises ever sung In the dead language of a mummy's tongue, For thou thyself art dead, and damned as well -- Thy spirit (usefully employed) in Hell. Had it been such as consecrates the Bible Thou hadst not perished by the law of libel. Barney Stims
A penny saved is a penny to squander. A man is known by the company that he organizes. A bad workman quarrels with the man who calls him that. A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring. Better late than before anybody has invited you. Example is better than following it. Half a loaf is better than a whole one if there is much else. Think twice before you speak to a friend in need. What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it. Least said is soonest disavowed. He laughs best who laughs least. Speak of the Devil and he will hear about it. Of two evils choose to be the least. Strike while your employer has a big contract. Where there's a will there's a won't.
He fell by his own hand Beneath the great oak tree. He'd traveled in a foreign land. He tried to make her understand The dance that's called the Saraband, But he called it Scarabee. He had called it so through an afternoon, And she, the light of his harem if so might be, Had smiled and said naught. O the body was fair to see, All frosted there in the shine o' the moon -- Dead for a Scarabee And a recollection that came too late. O Fate! They buried him where he lay, He sleeps awaiting the Day, In state, And two Possible Puns, moon-eyed and wan, Gloom over the grave and then move on. Dead for a Scarabee! Fernando Tapple
When the great Gichi-Kuktai was Mikado he condemned to decapitation Jijiji Ri, a high officer of the Court. Soon after the hour appointed for performance of the rite what was his Majesty's surprise to see calmly approaching the throne the man who should have been at that time ten minutes dead! "Seventeen hundred impossible dragons!" shouted the enraged monarch. "Did I not sentence you to stand in the market-place and have your head struck off by the public executioner at three o'clock? And is it not now 3:10?" "Son of a thousand illustrious deities," answered the condemned minister, "all that you say is so true that the truth is a lie in comparison. But your heavenly Majesty's sunny and vitalizing wishes have been pestilently disregarded. With joy I ran and placed my unworthy body in the market-place. The executioner appeared with his bare scimetar, ostentatiously whirled it in air, and then, tapping me lightly upon the neck, strode away, pelted by the populace, with whom I was ever a favorite. I am come to pray for justice upon his own dishonorable and treasonous head." "To what regiment of executioners does the black-boweled caitiff belong?" asked the Mikado. "To the gallant Ninety-eight Hundred and Thirty-seventh -- I know the man. His name is Sakko-Samshi." "Let him be brought before me," said the Mikado to an attendant, and a half-hour later the culprit stood in the Presence. "Thou bastard son of a three-legged hunchback without thumbs!" roared the sovereign -- "why didst thou but lightly tap the neck that it should have been thy pleasure to sever?" "Lord of Cranes of Cherry Blooms," replied the executioner, unmoved, "command him to blow his nose with his fingers." Being commanded, Jijiji Ri laid hold of his nose and trumpeted like an elephant, all expecting to see the severed head flung violently from him. Nothing occurred: the performance prospered peacefully to the close, without incident. All eyes were now turned on the executioner, who had grown as white as the snows on the summit of Fujiama. His legs trembled and his breath came in gasps of terror. "Several kinds of spike-tailed brass lions!" he cried; "I am a ruined and disgraced swordsman! I struck the villain feebly because in flourishing the scimetar I had accidentally passed it through my own neck! Father of the Moon, I resign my office." So saying, he gasped his top-knot, lifted off his head, and advancing to the throne laid it humbly at the Mikado's feet.
Dear Frank, that scrap-book where you boast You keep a record true Of every kind of peppered roast That's made of you; Wherein you paste the printed gibes That revel round your name, Thinking the laughter of the scribes Attests your fame; Where all the pictures you arrange That comic pencils trace -- Your funny figure and your strange Semitic face -- Pray lend it me. Wit I have not, Nor art, but there I'll list The daily drubbings you'd have got Had God a fist.
The devil casting a seine of lace, (With precious stones 'twas weighted) Drew it into the landing place And its contents calculated. All souls of women were in that sack -- A draft miraculous, precious! But ere he could throw it across his back They'd all escaped through the meshes. Baruch de Loppis
The late James F. Bowman was writing a serial tale for a weekly paper in collaboration with a genius whose name has not come down to us. They wrote, not jointly but alternately, Bowman supplying the installment for one week, his friend for the next, and so on, world without end, they hoped. Unfortunately they quarreled, and one Monday morning when Bowman read the paper to prepare himself for his task, he found his work cut out for him in a way to surprise and pain him. His collaborator had embarked every character of the narrative on a ship and sunk them all in the deepest part of the Atlantic.
Lo! the poor Indian whose unsuited mind Saw death before, hell and the grave behind; Whom thrifty settler ne'er besought to stay -- His small belongings their appointed prey; Whom Dispossession, with alluring wile, Persuaded elsewhere every little while! His fire unquenched and his undying worm By "land in severalty" (charming term!) Are cooled and killed, respectively, at last, And he to his new holding anchored fast!
John Elmer Pettibone Cajee (I write of him with little glee) Was just as bad as he could be. 'Twas frequently remarked: "I swon! The sun has never looked upon So bad a man as Neighbor John." A sinner through and through, he had This added fault: it made him mad To know another man was bad. In such a case he thought it right To rise at any hour of night And quench that wicked person's light. Despite the town's entreaties, he Would hale him to the nearest tree And leave him swinging wide and free. Or sometimes, if the humor came, A luckless wight's reluctant frame Was given to the cheerful flame. While it was turning nice and brown, All unconcerned John met the frown Of that austere and righteous town. "How sad," his neighbors said, "that he So scornful of the law should be -- An anar c, h, i, s, t." (That is the way that they preferred To utter the abhorrent word, So strong the aversion that it stirred.) "Resolved," they said, continuing, "That Badman John must cease this thing Of having his unlawful fling. "Now, by these sacred relics" -- here Each man had out a souvenir Got at a lynching yesteryear -- "By these we swear he shall forsake His ways, nor cause our hearts to ache By sins of rope and torch and stake. "We'll tie his red right hand until He'll have small freedom to fulfil The mandates of his lawless will." So, in convention then and there, They named him Sheriff. The affair Was opened, it is said, with prayer. J. Milton Sloluck
The wheels go round without a sound -- The maidens hold high revel; In sinful mood, insanely gay, True spinsters spin adown the way From duty to the devil! They laugh, they sing, and -- ting-a-ling! Their bells go all the morning; Their lanterns bright bestar the night Pedestrians a-warning. With lifted hands Miss Charlotte stands, Good-Lording and O-mying, Her rheumatism forgotten quite, Her fat with anger frying. She blocks the path that leads to wrath, Jack Satan's power defying. The wheels go round without a sound The lights burn red and blue and green. What's this that's found upon the ground? Poor Charlotte Smith's a smithareen! John William Yope
His bad opponent's "facts" he sweeps away, And drags his sophistry to light of day; Then swears they're pushed to madness who resort To falsehood of so desperate a sort. Not so; like sods upon a dead man's breast, He lies most lightly who the least is pressed. Polydore Smith
"Concerning the nature of the soul," saith the renowned author of Diversiones Sanctorum, "there hath been hardly more argument than that of its place in the body. Mine own belief is that the soul hath her seat in the abdomen -- in which faith we may discern and interpret a truth hitherto unintelligible, namely that the glutton is of all men most devout. He is said in the Scripture to 'make a god of his belly' -- why, then, should he not be pious, having ever his Deity with him to freshen his faith? Who so well as he can know the might and majesty that he shrines? Truly and soberly, the soul and the stomach are one Divine Entity; and such was the belief of Promasius, who nevertheless erred in denying it immortality. He had observed that its visible and material substance failed and decayed with the rest of the body after death, but of its immaterial essence he knew nothing. This is what we call the Appetite, and it survives the wreck and reek of mortality, to be rewarded or punished in another world, according to what it hath demanded in the flesh. The Appetite whose coarse clamoring was for the unwholesome viands of the general market and the public refectory shall be cast into eternal famine, whilst that which firmly through civilly insisted on ortolans, caviare, terrapin, anchovies, pates de foie gras and all such Christian comestibles shall flesh its spiritual tooth in the souls of them forever and ever, and wreak its divine thirst upon the immortal parts of the rarest and richest wines ever quaffed here below. Such is my religious faith, though I grieve to confess that neither His Holiness the Pope nor His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury (whom I equally and profoundly revere) will assent to its dissemination."
One evening Mr. Rudolph Block, of New York, found himself seated at dinner alongside Mr. Percival Pollard, the distinguished critic. "Mr. Pollard," said he, "my book, The Biography of a Dead Cow, is published anonymously, but you can hardly be ignorant of its authorship. Yet in reviewing it you speak of it as the work of the Idiot of the Century. Do you think that fair criticism?" "I am very sorry, sir," replied the critic, amiably, "but it did not occur to me that you really might not wish the public to know who wrote it." Mr. W.C. Morrow, who used to live in San Jose, California, was addicted to writing ghost stories which made the reader feel as if a stream of lizards, fresh from the ice, were streaking it up his back and hiding in his hair. San Jose was at that time believed to be haunted by the visible spirit of a noted bandit named Vasquez, who had been hanged there. The town was not very well lighted, and it is putting it mildly to say that San Jose was reluctant to be out o' nights. One particularly dark night two gentlemen were abroad in the loneliest spot within the city limits, talking loudly to keep up their courage, when they came upon Mr. J.J. Owen, a well-known journalist. "Why, Owen," said one, "what brings you here on such a night as this? You told me that this is one of Vasquez' favorite haunts! And you are a believer. Aren't you afraid to be out?" "My dear fellow," the journalist replied with a drear autumnal cadence in his speech, like the moan of a leaf-laden wind, "I am afraid to be in. I have one of Will Morrow's stories in my pocket and I don't dare to go where there is light enough to read it." Rear-Admiral Schley and Representative Charles F. Joy were standing near the Peace Monument, in Washington, discussing the question, Is success a failure? Mr. Joy suddenly broke off in the middle of an eloquent sentence, exclaiming: "Hello! I've heard that band before. Santlemann's, I think." "I don't hear any band," said Schley. "Come to think, I don't either," said Joy; "but I see General Miles coming down the avenue, and that pageant always affects me in the same way as a brass band. One has to scrutinize one's impressions pretty closely, or one will mistake their origin." While the Admiral was digesting this hasty meal of philosophy General Miles passed in review, a spectacle of impressive dignity. When the tail of the seeming procession had passed and the two observers had recovered from the transient blindness caused by its effulgence -- "He seems to be enjoying himself," said the Admiral. "There is nothing," assented Joy, thoughtfully, "that he enjoys one-half so well." The illustrious statesman, Champ Clark, once lived about a mile from the village of Jebigue, in Missouri. One day he rode into town on a favorite mule, and, hitching the beast on the sunny side of a street, in front of a saloon, he went inside in his character of teetotaler, to apprise the barkeeper that wine is a mocker. It was a dreadfully hot day. Pretty soon a neighbor came in and seeing Clark, said: "Champ, it is not right to leave that mule out there in the sun. He'll roast, sure! -- he was smoking as I passed him." "O, he's all right," said Clark, lightly; "he's an inveterate smoker." The neighbor took a lemonade, but shook his head and repeated that it was not right. He was a conspirator. There had been a fire the night before: a stable just around the corner had burned and a number of horses had put on their immortality, among them a young colt, which was roasted to a rich nut-brown. Some of the boys had turned Mr. Clark's mule loose and substituted the mortal part of the colt. Presently another man entered the saloon. "For mercy's sake!" he said, taking it with sugar, "do remove that mule, barkeeper: it smells." "Yes," interposed Clark, "that animal has the best nose in Missouri. But if he doesn't mind, you shouldn't." In the course of human events Mr. Clark went out, and there, apparently, lay the incinerated and shrunken remains of his charger. The boys idd not have any fun out of Mr. Clarke, who looked at the body and, with the non-committal expression to which he owes so much of his political preferment, went away. But walking home late that night he saw his mule standing silent and solemn by the wayside in the misty moonlight. Mentioning the name of Helen Blazes with uncommon emphasis, Mr. Clark took the back track as hard as ever he could hook it, and passed the night in town. General H.H. Wotherspoon, president of the Army War College, has a pet rib-nosed baboon, an animal of uncommon intelligence but imperfectly beautiful. Returning to his apartment one evening, the General was surprised and pained to find Adam (for so the creature is named, the general being a Darwinian) sitting up for him and wearing his master's best uniform coat, epaulettes and all. "You confounded remote ancestor!" thundered the great strategist, "what do you mean by being out of bed after naps? -- and with my coat on!" Adam rose and with a reproachful look got down on all fours in the manner of his kind and, scuffling across the room to a table, returned with a visiting-card: General Barry had called and, judging by an empty champagne bottle and several cigar-stumps, had been hospitably entertained while waiting. The general apologized to his faithful progenitor and retired. The next day he met General Barry, who said: "Spoon, old man, when leaving you last evening I forgot to ask you about those excellent cigars. Where did you get them?" General Wotherspoon did not deign to reply, but walked away. "Pardon me, please," said Barry, moving after him; "I was joking of course. Why, I knew it was not you before I had been in the room fifteen minutes."
The bard who would prosper must carry a book, Do his thinking in prose and wear A crimson cravat, a far-away look And a head of hexameter hair. Be thin in your thought and your body'll be fat; If you wear your hair long you needn't your hat.
As the lean leech, its victim found, is pleased To fix itself upon a part diseased Till, its black hide distended with bad blood, It drops to die of surfeit in the mud, So the base sycophant with joy descries His neighbor's weak spot and his mouth applies, Gorges and prospers like the leech, although, Unlike that reptile, he will not let go. Gelasma, if it paid you to devote Your talent to the service of a goat, Showing by forceful logic that its beard Is more than Aaron's fit to be revered; If to the task of honoring its smell Profit had prompted you, and love as well, The world would benefit at last by you And wealthy malefactors weep anew -- Your favor for a moment's space denied And to the nobler object turned aside. Is't not enough that thrifty millionaires Who loot in freight and spoliate in fares, Or, cursed with consciences that bid them fly To safer villainies of darker dye, Forswearing robbery and fain, instead, To steal (they call it "cornering") our bread May see you groveling their boots to lick And begging for the favor of a kick? Still must you follow to the bitter end Your sycophantic disposition's trend, And in your eagerness to please the rich Hunt hungry sinners to their final ditch? In Morgan's praise you smite the sounding wire, And sing hosannas to great Havemeyher! What's Satan done that him you should eschew? He too is reeking rich -- deducting you.
They say 'tis conscience feels compunction; I hold that that's the stomach's function, For of the sinner I have noted That when he's sinned he's somewhat bloated, Or ill some other ghastly fashion Within that bowel of compassion. True, I believe the only sinner Is he that eats a shabby dinner. You know how Adam with good reason, For eating apples out of season, Was "cursed." But that is all symbolic: The truth is, Adam had the colic. G.J.
Old Paunchinello, freshly wed, Took Madam P. to table, And there deliriously fed As fast as he was able. "I dote upon good grub," he cried, Intent upon its throatage. "Ah, yes," said the neglected bride, "You're in your table d'hotage." Associated Poets
The Enemy of Human Souls Sat grieving at the cost of coals; For Hell had been annexed of late, And was a sovereign Southern State. "It were no more than right," said he, "That I should get my fuel free. The duty, neither just nor wise, Compels me to economize -- Whereby my broilers, every one, Are execrably underdone. What would they have? -- although I yearn To do them nicely to a turn, I can't afford an honest heat. This tariff makes even devils cheat! I'm ruined, and my humble trade All rascals may at will invade: Beneath my nose the public press Outdoes me in sulphureousness; The bar ingeniously applies To my undoing my own lies; My medicines the doctors use (Albeit vainly) to refuse To me my fair and rightful prey And keep their own in shape to pay; The preachers by example teach What, scorning to perform, I teach; And statesmen, aping me, all make More promises than they can break. Against such competition I Lift up a disregarded cry. Since all ignore my just complaint, By Hokey-Pokey! I'll turn saint!" Now, the Republicans, who all Are saints, began at once to bawl Against his competition; so There was a devil of a go! They locked horns with him, tete-a-tete In acrimonious debate, Till Democrats, forlorn and lone, Had hopes of coming by their own. That evil to avert, in haste The two belligerents embraced; But since 'twere wicked to relax A tittle of the Sacred Tax, 'Twas finally agreed to grant The bold Insurgent-protestant A bounty on each soul that fell Into his ineffectual Hell. Edam Smith
Of such tenacity his grip That nothing from his hand can slip. Well-buttered eels you may o'erwhelm In tubs of liquid slippery-elm In vain -- from his detaining pinch They cannot struggle half an inch! 'Tis lucky that he so is planned That breath he draws not with his hand, For if he did, so great his greed He'd draw his last with eager speed. Nay, that were well, you say. Not so He'd draw but never let it go!
TO MY PET TORTOISE My friend, you are not graceful -- not at all; Your gait's between a stagger and a sprawl. Nor are you beautiful: your head's a snake's To look at, and I do not doubt it aches. As to your feet, they'd make an angel weep. 'Tis true you take them in whene'er you sleep. No, you're not pretty, but you have, I own, A certain firmness -- mostly you're [sic] backbone. Firmness and strength (you have a giant's thews) Are virtues that the great know how to use -- I wish that they did not; yet, on the whole, You lack -- excuse my mentioning it -- Soul. So, to be candid, unreserved and true, I'd rather you were I than I were you. Perhaps, however, in a time to be, When Man's extinct, a better world may see Your progeny in power and control, Due to the genesis and growth of Soul. So I salute you as a reptile grand Predestined to regenerate the land. Father of Possibilities, O deign To accept the homage of a dying reign! In the far region of the unforeknown I dream a tortoise upon every throne. I see an Emperor his head withdraw Into his carapace for fear of Law; A King who carries something else than fat, Howe'er acceptably he carries that; A President not strenuously bent On punishment of audible dissent -- Who never shot (it were a vain attack) An armed or unarmed tortoise in the back; Subject and citizens that feel no need To make the March of Mind a wild stampede; All progress slow, contemplative, sedate, And "Take your time" the word, in Church and State. O Tortoise, 'tis a happy, happy dream, My glorious testudinous regime! I wish in Eden you'd brought this about By slouching in and chasing Adam out.
While in yt londe I was carried to see ye Ghogo tree, whereof I had hearde moch talk; but sayynge yt I saw naught remarkabyll in it, ye hed manne of ye villayge where it grewe made answer as followeth: "Ye tree is not nowe in fruite, but in his seasonne you shall see dependynge fr. his braunches all soch as have affroynted ye King his Majesty." And I was furder tolde yt ye worde "Ghogo" sygnifyeth in yr tong ye same as "rapscal" in our owne. Trauvells in ye Easte
Moses Mendlessohn having fallen ill sent for a Christian physician, who at once diagnosed the philosopher's disorder as trichinosis, but tactfully gave it another name. "You need and immediate change of diet," he said; "you must eat six ounces of pork every other day." "Pork?" shrieked the patient -- "pork? Nothing shall induce me to touch it!" "Do you mean that?" the doctor gravely asked. "I swear it!" "Good! -- then I will undertake to cure you."
Having received an ultimatum from Austria, the Turkish Ministry met to consider it. "O servant of the Prophet," said the Sheik of the Imperial Chibouk to the Mamoosh of the Invincible Army, "how many unconquerable soldiers have we in arms?" "Upholder of the Faith," that dignitary replied after examining his memoranda, "they are in numbers as the leaves of the forest!" "And how many impenetrable battleships strike terror to the hearts of all Christian swine?" he asked the Imaum of the Ever Victorious Navy. "Uncle of the Full Moon," was the reply, "deign to know that they are as the waves of the ocean, the sands of the desert and the stars of Heaven!" For eight hours the broad brow of the Sheik of the Imperial Chibouk was corrugated with evidences of deep thought: he was calculating the chances of war. Then, "Sons of angels," he said, "the die is cast! I shall suggest to the Ulema of the Imperial Ear that he advise inaction. In the name of Allah, the council is adjourned."
"My son," said the priest, "this is what we fear."
His understanding was so keen That all things which he'd felt, heard, seen, He could interpret without fail If he was in or out of jail. He wrote at Inspiration's call Deep disquisitions on them all, Then, pent at last in an asylum, Performed the service to compile 'em. So great a writer, all men swore, They never had not read before. Jorrock Wormley
The owner of a powder mill Was musing on a distant hill -- Something his mind foreboded -- When from the cloudless sky there fell A deviled human kidney! Well, The man's mill had exploded. His hat he lifted from his head; "I beg your pardon, sir," he said; "I didn't know 'twas loaded." Swatkin