Archive for ‘Humour’

Friday, 18 August 2017

I.47 by Marcus Valerius Martialis

Doctor Diaulus has changed his trade:
He now is a mortician,
With the same results he got before
As a practicing physician.

From: Wender, Dorothea (transl. and ed.), Roman Poetry from the Republic to the Silver Age, 1991, Southern Illinois University Press: Carbondale and Edwardsville, p. 124.

Date: 86 (original in Latin); 1980 (translation in English)

By: Marcus Valerius Martialis (c39-c103)

Translated by: Dorothea Schmidt Wender (1934-2003)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A Song on an Old Razor, which, from Time to Time, was Used to Cut Candle; and, being New Ground, Proved an Extraordinary Good One by W. Adkins

Says my mother, why, pray,
Are. you not shav’d to-day?
On which I began for to mutter;
Pray, mother, a-done,
For as I’m your son,
I fear I have lost candle-cutter.

Long time was mislaid,
Which made me afraid
She was lost—I knew not where I put her;
‘Till to-day by good hap,
Just under my cap,
I espy’d my old friend, candle-cutter.

Come hither to me,
And I’ll shave presently;
Look fierce as a crow in a gutter;
Now Scott may be hang’d,
The Black Barber be damn’d,
For I have found my old friend candle-cutter.

No more of my beard,
Dear girls, be afraid,
For my chin is as soft as new butter:
Don’t say I’m uncouth,
For my skin is quite smooth,
By the help of my friend, candle-cutter.

Then tune up your voice,
In praises most choice,
And those that can sing, let them sputter:
Sure never was seen,
A razor so keen,
Or could shave like the brave candle-cutter.

From: Adkins, W., The Hortonian Miscellany: Being a Collection of Original Poems, Tales, &c, 1767, W. Bingley: London, pp. 73-74.

Date: 1767

By: W. Adkins (fl. 1767)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Melania Poem 2 of 5 by Mitch Sisskind

Donald, when I thought of you
In a gold bathtub I worried
About losing my mind because
I’ve never seen you in a bathtub
But when you left me standing
Lump-on-a-log-like with my gift
For Michelle on Inauguration Day
I thought of you in a gold bathtub,
The fleece that covers you floating
And your phallus also floating —
Oh God, I felt trapped thinking
Of you watching a wall-mounted
Television set in a gold bathtub
And now I can’t stop thinking it.


Date: 2017

By: Mitch Sisskind (1945- )

Friday, 23 June 2017

Save Water, Prodike by Rufinus

Save water, Prodike-
bath with a friend!
We’ll crown each other with foam,
and knock back some champagne.
We haven’t all that long
before our wrinkles mean
we’re past our shag-by date –
not just that the water is too hot.


Date: ?3rd century (original in Greek); 2005 (translation in English)

By: Rufinus (?3rd century)

Translated by: Neil Philip (19??-)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Riddle XVI [The Bookworm] by Caelius Firmanius Symphosius

I thrive on letters yet no letters know,
I live in books, the made more studious so,
Devour the Muses, but no wiser grow.


Date: ?5th century (original in Latin); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Caelius Firmanius Symphosius (?5th century)

Translated by: Elizabeth Hickman du Bois Peck (1870-19??)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Burlesque on a Letter Written by a Lawyer, to a Very Young Girl at School, and Sent by a Very Ragged Old Woman by Henrietta Fleming Battier

Copy of the Letter, verbatim.

“My dear Miss,
“What day will you come to Irishtown–
“I languish for that pleasure—you may depend
“upon the strictest honour and delicacy,

To that audacious, unknown fribble,
Who dar’d to send an odious quibble,
Which treated of mysterious matters,
By an old Woman all in tatters;
Writes she, who hates impertinence,
And wonders at his lack of sense,
With words ambiguous to bewilder,
The heads of undesigning childer;
And tho’ his delicacy’s honour,
May languish to impose upon her,
She here begs leave to let him know,
To Irishtown she will not go,
Nor stir the heel-rand of her shoe,
To visit there—She knows not who.

From: Battier, Henrietta, The Protected Fugitives. A Collection of Miscellaneous Poems, the Genuine Productions of a Lady, Never Before Published, 1791, James Porter: Dublin, pp. 22-23.

Date: 1783

By: Henrietta Fleming Battier (c1751-1813)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

To My Cigar by Charles Sprague

Yes, social friend, I love thee well,
In learned doctors’ spite;
Thy clouds all other clouds dispel,
And lap me in delight.

By thee, they cry, with phizzes long,
My years are sooner passed;
Well, take my answer, right or wrong,
They’re sweeter while they last.

And oft, mild friend, to me thou art
A monitor, though still;
Thou speak’st a lesson to my heart
Beyond the preacher’s skill.

Thou ‘rt like the man of worth, who gives
To goodness every day,
The odor of whose virtue lives
When he has passed away.

When, in the lonely evening hour,
Attended but by thee,
O’er history’s varied page I pore,
Man’s fate in thine I see.

Oft as thy snowy column grows,
Then breaks and falls away,
I trace how mighty realms thus rose.
Thus tumbled to decay.

Awhile like thee the hero burns,
And smokes and fumes around,
And then, like thee, to ashes turns,
And mingles with the ground.

Life’s but a leaf adroitly rolled,
And time’s the wasting breath.
That late or early, we behold.
Gives all to dusty death.

From beggar’s frieze to monarch’s robe,
One common doom is passed;
Sweet Nature’s works, the swelling globe,
Must all burn out at last.

And what is he who smokes thee now? —
A little moving heap,
That soon like thee to fate must bow,
With thee in dust must sleep.

But though thy ashes downward go,
Thy essence rolls on high;
Thus, when my body must lie low,
My soul shall cleave the sky.


Date: 1829

By: Charles Sprague (1791-1875)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

One More Time by Margaret Hillert

I can’t believe. I don’t believe.
I simply, simply won’t believe
A rabbit comes at Easter time
To bring us eggs-

But then,

I do believe that you believe,
And there are others who believe,
And so perhaps for one more time,
I’ll make believe again.


Date: 1978

By Margaret Hillert (1920-2014)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Epigram [As Two Divines, Their Ambling Steeds Bestriding] by “Cam.”

As two Divines, their ambling steeds bestriding,
In merry mood o’er Boston neck were riding,
At length a simple structure met their sight,
From which the felon takes his hempen flight,
When, sailor like, he squares accounts with hope,
His all depending on a single rope;
“Ah where, my friend,” cried one, “where now were you
Had yonder gallows been allowed its due?”
Where,” said the other in sarcastic tone,
“Why where —but riding into town alone.”

From: Lewis, Paul (ed.), The Citizen Poets of Boston. A Collection of Forgotten Poems, 1789-1820, University Press of New England: Hanover and London, p. 33.

Date: 1796

By: “Cam.” (fl. 1796)

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Medical Recipe by John Swanwick Drennan

By a patient too fair sate a doctor too young,
With eyes more intent on her lips, than her tongue;
He tested her heart, as its pulse’s recorder,
But, alas! in his own was the latent disorder;
And soon from the region in which it was bred,
That sad “tremor cordis” so muddled his head,
That instead of some physic to mend her condition,
He urg’d as a recipe, take your Physician!

From: Drennan, William and Drennan, John Swanwick, Glendalloch, and Other Poems, by the Late Dr. Drennan, Second Edition, with Additional Verses by his Sons, 1859, William Robertson: Dublin, p. 113.

Date: 1859

By: John Swanwick Drennan (1809-1893)