Archive for ‘Humour’

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)

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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??- )

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Appeal to the Grammarians by Paul Randolph Violi

We, the naturally hopeful,
Need a simple sign
For the myriad ways we’re capsized.
We who love precise language
Need a finer way to convey
Disappointment and perplexity.
For speechlessness and all its inflections,
For up-ended expectations,
For every time we’re ambushed
By trivial or stupefying irony,
For pure incredulity, we need
The inverted exclamation point.
For the dropped smile, the limp handshake,
For whoever has just unwrapped a dumb gift
Or taken the first sip of a flat beer,
Or felt love or pond ice
Give way underfoot, we deserve it.
We need it for the air pocket, the scratch shot,
The child whose ball doesn’t bounce back,
The flat tire at journey’s outset,
The odyssey that ends up in Weehawken.
But mainly because I need it—here and now
As I sit outside the Caffe Reggio
Staring at my espresso and cannoli
After this middle-aged couple
Came strolling by and he suddenly
Veered and sneezed all over my table
And she said to him, “See, that’s why
I don’t like to eat outside.”

From: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/appeal-grammarians

Date: 2007

By: Paul Randolph Violi (1944-2011)

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Evolution of A “Name” by Charles Battell Loomis

When Hill, the poet, first essayed
To push the goose’s quill,
Scarce any name at all he made.
(‘Twas simply “A. H. Hill.”)

But as success his efforts crowned,
Rewarding greater skill,
His name expanded at a bound.
(It was “A. Hiller Hill.”)

Now that his work, be what it may,
Is sure to “fill the bill,”
He has a name as wide as day.
(“Aquilla Hiller Hill.”)

From: Loomis, Charles Battell, Just Rhymes, 1899, R. H. Russell: New York, p. 31.
(https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009793482)

Date: 1899

By: Charles Battell Loomis (1861-1911)

Monday, 24 September 2018

In Immemoriam by Edward Bradley (Cuthbert Bede)

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.

A something comes from out the gloom;
I know it not, nor seek to know;
I only see it swell and grow,
And more than this world would presume.

Meseems, a circling void I fill,
And I, unchanged where all is changed;
It seems unreal; I own it strange,
Yet nurse the thoughts I cannot kill.

I hear the ocean’s surging tide,
Raise quiring on its carol-tune;
I watch the golden-sickled moon,
And clearer voices call besides.

O Sea! whose ancient ripples lie
On red-ribbed sands where seaweeds shone;
O Moon! whose golden sickle ‘s gone;
O Voices all! like ye I die!

From: Wells, Carolyn (ed.), A Parody Anthology, 1922, Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York, pp. 174-175.
(https://archive.org/details/aparodyantholog01wellgoog)

Date: c1860

By: Edward Bradley (Cuthbert Bede) (1827-1889)