Archive for ‘Humour’

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Peace. A Study by Charles Stuart Calverley

He stood, a worn-out City clerk —
Who’d toil’d, and seen no holiday,
For forty years from dawn to dark —
Alone beside Caermarthen Bay.
He felt the salt spray on his lips;
Heard children’s voices on the sands;
Up the sun’s path he saw the ships
Sail on and on to other lands;
And laugh’d aloud. Each sight and sound
To him was joy too deep for tears;
He sat him on the beach, and bound
A blue bandana round his ears
And thought how, posted near his door,
His own green door on Camden Hill,
Two bands at least, most likely more,
Were mingling at their own sweet will
Verdi with Vance. And at the thought
He laugh’d again, and softly drew
That Morning Herald that he’d bought
Forth from his breast, and read it through.

From: https://mypoeticside.com/show-classic-poem-5015

Date: 1890

By: Charles Stuart Calverley (1831-1884)

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpsecorpshorse and worse.

I will keep you, Susybusy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seerhear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare hearthear and heard,
Dies and dietlord and word.

Sword and swardretain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade,
Saysaidpaypaidlaid but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,
But be careful how you speak,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Wovenovenhow and low,
Scriptreceiptshoepoemtoe.

Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
Daughterlaughter and Terpsichore,
Branch, ranch, measlestopsailsaisles,
Missilessimilesreviles.

Whollyhollysignalsigning,
Sameexamining, but mining,
Scholarvicar, and cigar,
Solarmicawar and far.

From “desire”: desirableadmirable from “admire”,
Lumberplumberbier, but brier,
Topshambroughamrenown, but known,
Knowledgedonelonegonenonetone,

OneanemoneBalmoral,
Kitchenlichenlaundrylaurel.
GertrudeGermanwind and wind,
Beau, kind, kindred, queuemankind,

Tortoiseturquoisechamois-leather,
Reading, Readingheathenheather.
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives mossgrossbrookbroochninthplinth.

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol?

Billet does not end like ballet;
Bouquetwalletmalletchalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.

Banquet is not nearly parquet,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
Discountviscountload and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward,

Ricocheted and crochetingcroquet?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Roundedwoundedgrieve and sieve,
Friend and fiendalive and live.

Is your r correct in higher?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
Buoyantminute, but minute.

Say abscission with precision,
Now: position and transition;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies.

Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope.

Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
Affidavit, David, davit.
To abjure, to perjureSheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache.

Libertylibraryheave and heaven,
Rachellochmoustacheeleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
Peopleleopardtowed but vowed.

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between moverploverDover.
Leechesbreecheswiseprecise,
Chalice, but police and lice,

Camelconstableunstable,
Principledisciplelabel.
Petalpenal, and canal,
Waitsurmiseplaitpromisepal,

SuitsuiteruinCircuitconduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pallmall, but Pall Mall.

Musclemusculargaoliron,
Timberclimberbullionlion,
Worm and stormchaisechaoschair,
Senatorspectatormayor,

Ivyprivyfamousclamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
Pussyhussy and possess,
Desert, but desertaddress.

Golfwolfcountenancelieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
Courier, courtier, tombbombcomb,
Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker“,
Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor“,
Making, it is sad but true,
In bravado, much ado.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Fontfrontwontwantgrand and grant.

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
MindMeandering but mean,
Valentine and magazine.

And I bet you, dear, a penny,
You say mani-(fold) like many,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier.

Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance. Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
And distinguish buffetbuffet;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

Nor are proper names included,
Though I often heard, as you did,
Funny rhymes to unicorn,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

No, my maiden, coy and comely,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod.

But mind trivial and vial,
Tripod, menial, denial,
Troll and trolleyrealm and ream,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid,
How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce, and obsequies.

Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature.

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan.

The th will surely trouble you
More than rch or w.
Say then these phonetic gems:
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget ’em
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
With and forthwith, one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
Realzealmauve, gauze and gauge,
Marriagefoliagemirageage,

Hero, heron, query, very,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dostlostpost, and dothclothloth,
JobJobblossombosomoath.

Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
Bowingbowing, banjo-tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
Puisnetruismuse, to use?

Though the difference seems little,
We say actual, but victual,
SeatsweatchastecasteLeigheightheight,
Putnutgranite, and unite.

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
Feoffer does, and zephyrheifer.
DullbullGeoffreyGeorgeatelate,
Hintpintsenate, but sedate.

GaelicArabicpacific,
Scienceconsciencescientific;
Tour, but our, dour, succourfour,
Gasalas, and Arkansas.

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
Next omit, which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry.

Seaideaguineaarea,
PsalmMaria, but malaria.
Youthsouthsoutherncleanse and clean,
Doctrineturpentinemarine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion with battalion,
Rally with allyyeaye,
EyeIayayewheykeyquay!

Say aver, but everfever,
Neitherleisureskeinreceiver.
Never guess-it is not safe,
We say calvesvalveshalf, but Ralf.

Starry, granarycanary,
Crevice, but device, and eyrie,
Face, but preface, then grimace,
Phlegmphlegmaticassglassbass.

Basslargetargetgingiveverging,
Oughtoust, joust, and scour, but scourging;
Ear, but earn; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir.

Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan,
With the sound of saw and sauce;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross.

Pudding, puddle, puttingPutting?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting.
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable, but Parliament.

Seven is right, but so is even,
HyphenroughennephewStephen,
Monkeydonkeyclerk and jerk,
Aspgraspwaspdemesnecorkwork.

A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist,

Differ like diverse and divers,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers.
Once, but nonce, toll, doll, but roll,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll.

Pronunciation-think of Psyche!-
Is a paling, stout and spiky.
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying “grits”?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlockgunwale,
Islington, and Isle of Wight,
Housewifeverdict and indict.

Don’t you think so, reader, rather,
Saying latherbatherfather?
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Thoughthroughboughcoughhoughsough, tough??

Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!

From: http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html

Date: 1922

By: Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946)

Monday, 5 August 2019

Women’s Chorus from “Thesmophoriazusae [Women at the Thesmophoria]” by Aristophanes

They’re always abusing the women,
As a terrible plague to men:
They say we’re the root of all evil,
And repeat it again and again;
Of war, and quarrels, and bloodshed,
All mischief, be what it may:
And pray, then, why do you marry us,
If we’re all the plagues you say?{145}
And why do you take such care of us,
And keep us so safe at home,
And are never easy a moment,
If ever we chance to roam?
When you ought to be thanking heaven
That your Plague is out of the way—
You all keep fussing and fretting—
“Where is my Plague to-day?”
If a Plague peeps out of the window,
Up go the eyes of the men;
If she hides, then they all keep staring
Until she looks out again.

From: Collins, W. Lucas, Aristophanes, 1872, William Blackwood and Sons: Edinburgh and London, pp. 144-145.
(https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59107/59107-h/59107-h.htm#CHAPTER_VIII)

Date: 411 BCE (original in Greek); 1872 (translation in English)

By: Aristophanes (c446-c386 BCE)

Translated by: William Lucas Collins (1815-1887)

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Introductory Remarks by Edmund Clerihew Bentley

The Art of Biography
Is different from Geography.
Geography is about Maps,
But Biography is about Chaps..

From: Clerihew, E., Biography for Beginners, Being a Collection of Miscellaneous Examples for the Use of Upper Forms, 1905, T. Werner Laurie: London, p. [unnumbered].
(https://archive.org/details/cu31924029786427/)

Date: 1905

By: Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

First Part of “A Voyage to Marryland; or, The Ladies Dressing-Room” by Mary Evelyn

He that will needs to Marry-Land
Adventure, first must understand
For’s Bark, what Tackle to prepare,
‘Gainst Wind and Weather, wear and tare:
Of Point d’Espagne, a Rich Cornet,
Two Night-Rails, and a Scarf beset
With a great Lace, a Colleret.
One black Gown of Rich Silk, which odd is
Without one Colour’d, Embroider’d Bodice:
Four Petticoats for Page to hold up,
Four short ones nearer to the Crup:
Three Manteaus, nor can Madam less
Provision have for due undress;
Nor demy Sultane, Spagnolet,
Nor Fringe to sweep the Mall forget,
Of under Bodice three neat pair
Embroider’d, and of Shoos as fair:
Short under Petticoats pure fine,
Some of Japan Stuff, some of Chine,
With Knee-high Galoon bottomed,
Another quilted White and Red;
With a broad Flanders Lace below:
Four pair of Bas de soy shot through
With Silver, Diamond Buckles too,
For Garters, and as Rich for Shoo.
Twice twelve day Smocks of Holland fine,
With Cambric Sleeves, rich Point to joyn,
(For she despises Colbertine.)
Twelve more for night, all Flanders lac’d,
Or else she’ll think her self disgrac’d:
The same her Night-Gown must adorn,
With Two Point Wastcoats for the Morn:
Of Pocket Mouchoirs Nose to drain,
A dozen lac’d, a dozen plain:
Three Night-Gowns of rich Indian Stuff,
Four Cushion Cloths are scarce enough,
Of Point, and Flanders, not forget
Slippers embroidered on Velvet:
Manteau Girdle, Ruby Buckle,
And Brillant Diamond Rings for Knuckle:
Fans painted, and perfumed three;
Three Muffs of Sable, Ermine, Grey;
Nor reckon it among the Baubles,
Palatine also of Sables.
A Saphire Bodkin for the Hair,
Or sparkling Facet Diamond there:
Then Turquois, Ruby, Emrauld Rings
For Fingers, and such petty things;
As Diamond Pendants for the Ears,
Musts needs be had, or two Pearl Pears,
Pearl Neck-lace, large and Oriental,
And Diamond, and of Amber pale;
For Oranges bears every Bush,
Nor values she cheap things a rush.
Then Bracelets for her Wrists bespeak,
(Unless her Heart-strings you will break)
With Diamond Croche for Breast and Bum,
Till to hang more on there’s no room.
Besides these Jewels you must get
Cuff Buckles, and an handsom Set
Of Tags for Palatine, a curious Hasp
The Manteau ’bout her Neck to clasp:
Nor may she want a Ruby Locket,
Nor the fine sweet quilted Pocket;
To play at Ombre, or Basset,
She a rich Pulvil Purse must get,
With Guineas fill’d, on Cards to lay,
With which she fancies most to play:
Nor is she troubled at ill fortune,
For should the bank be so importune,
To rob her of her glittering Store,
The amorous Fop will furnish more.
Pensive and mute, behind her shoulder
He stands, till by her loss grown bolder,
Into her lap Rouleau conveys,
The softest thing a Lover says:
She grasps it in her greedy hands,
Then best his Passion understands;
When tedious languishing has fail’d,

From: Evelyn, Mary, Mundus muliebris: or, The ladies dressing-room unlock’d, and her toilette spread In burlesque. Together with the fop-dictionary, compiled for the use of the fair sex, 2003, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 2-5.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A38815.0001.001)

Date: 1690 (published)

By: Mary Evelyn (1665-1685)

Friday, 8 March 2019

Plain Living and High Thinking by Lucian of Samosata

Stern Cynicus doth war austerely wage
With endive, lentils, chicory, and sage;
Which shouldst thou thoughtless proffer, “Wretch,” saith he,
“Wouldst thou corrupt my life’s simplicity?”
Yet is not his simplicity so great
But that he can digest a pomegranate;
And peaches, he esteems, right well agree
With Spartan fare and sound philosophy.

From: Garnett, Richard, Vallée, Leon and Brandl, Alois (eds.), The Universal Anthology: A Collection of the Best Literature, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern, with Biographical and Explanatory Notes, Volume 5, 1899, The Clarke Company Ltd: London, p. 97.
(https://archive.org/details/universalantholo05garnuoft/)

Date: 2nd century (original in Greek); 1869 (translation in English)

By: Lucian of Samosata (c125-c180)

Translated by: Richard Garnett (1835-1906)

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Listen, People of This House by Iseabail Ní Mheic Cailéin

Listen, people of this house,
to the tale of the powerful penis
which has made my heart greedy.
I will write some of the tale.

Although many beautiful tree-like penises
have been in the time before,
this man of the religious order
has a penis so big and rigid.

The penis of my household priest,
although it is so long and firm,
the thickness of his manhood
has not been heard of for a long time.

That thick drill of his,
and it is no word of a lie,
never has its thickness been heard of
or a larger penis.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89istibh,_a_Luchd_an_Tighe-se

Date: 1500 (original in Gaelic); 2002 (translation in English)

By: Iseabail Ní Mheic Cailéin (fl. 1500)

Translated by: Malcolm Maclean (19??- ) and Theo Dorgan (1953- )

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

January 2nd by “Den”

How many have you broken up till now?
I know that yesterday you made a vow.
And most solemnly ’twas spoken;
But how many have you broken?
Oh, you kept ’em for an hour or two — But how?

You swore at twelve o’clock or thereabouts,
Most resolutely, scorning any doubts,
That the glad New Year would find you
With your vices all behind you.
And you’d be the very best of good boy scouts.

But you fell. And, oh, how quickly did you fall!
And now you’re feeling low, and mean, and small;
For, despite all your devising,
You have come to realising
That you’re really only human after all.

Ah, well, at least you had the will to try;
And you may reform some day before you die,
And there’s this small consolation
On the road to reformation;
There’s another New Year coming by and by.

From: “Den”, “2nd January”, The Herald, Friday 2 January 1931, p. 4.
(https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/242880154)

Date: 1931

By: “Den” (fl. 1931)

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Johnnie’s Christmas by Elizabeth (Libbie) Caroline Riley Baer

Papa and mama, and baby and Dot,
Willie and me—the whole of the lot
Of us all went over in Bimberlie’s sleigh,
To grandmama’s house on Christmas day.

Covered with robes on the soft cushioned seat,
With heads well wrapped up and hot bricks to our feet,
And two prancing horses, tho’ ten miles away,
The ride was quite short, on that bright Christmas day.

When all were tucked in and the driver said “Go!”
The horses just flew o’er the white, shining snow;
The town it slipped by us and meadow and tree,
And farm house till grandmama’s house we did see.

Grandmama was watching for us, there’s no doubt;
She soon come to meet us, and helped us all out;
And kissin’ and huggin’ said how we boys growed,
And big as our papa we’d soon be, she knowed.

And Dot she called handsome and said: “Ah! I guess
Grandmama’s woman has got a new dress.”
And said that the baby was pretty and smart;
“Dod b’ess it and love its own sweet ’ittle heart.”

And O, the red apples, and pop-corn on strings;
And balls of it, too, and nuts, candy and things;
And O, such a dinner and such pumpkin pie;
I eat and I eat till I thought I would die.

And grandmama urgin’, “Now, Johnnie, my man,
I wants you to eat; just eat all you can.”
When I eat all I could then I eat a lots more,
And I didn’t feel good as I had felt before.

At last it came time for us all to go back,
And into the sleigh again, all of us pack;
With grandmama kissin’ and sayin’ good byes,
With smiles on her lips, but the tears in her eyes.

We seemed much more crowded, and Bimberlie’s sleigh
Kept jerkin’ and hurtin’ me most all the way;
The robes were so stuffy I couldn’t get breath,
And Dot and the baby most squeezed me to death.

All night I kept tumblin’ and tossin’, ma said,
And frowed all the cover half off of the bed;
I dreamed of roast turkey and pop-corn and pie,
And fruit cake and candy, piled up to the sky!

And I dreamed I was sick and just lookin’ at it,
A wantin’ and yet I could not eat a bit;
And grandmama urgin’, “Now, Johnnie, my man,
I want you to eat, just eat all you can.”

From: https://m.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/johnnies-christmas

Date: 1902

By: Elizabeth (Libbie) Caroline Riley Baer (1849-1929)

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Something’s There by Barbara R. Vance

There’s something down beneath my bed;
What it is, I’m not quite sure.
But it’s only just arrived there;
I’d have noticed it before.
My mother says it’s nothing,
And my father shakes his head.
I guess they don’t believe in
The thing beneath my bed.

I am sure that it is waiting
Till I turn out the last light,
And settle on my pillows
For a very long, dark night.
And when I’m softly drowsing,
And my mind is fast asleep,
Out from underneath my bed
That something there will creep.

In the morning they’ll be sorry
When they find my bunk empty;
They’ll know they should have listened –
I was speaking truthfully.
And they’ll forever mourn the day
That they simply didn’t care,
And will always look under their bed,
For a something might be there.

From: http://www.suziebitner.com/portfolio/somethings-there/

Date: 2010

By: Barbara R. Vance (19??- )