Ogden Nash |
One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience
To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and
thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were
gleaming in purple and gold,
Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a
wold on the fold?
In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy
there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple
and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was
actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof;
Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red
mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof?
Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say,
at the very most,
Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian
cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he
had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them,
With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers
to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of
wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets,
from Homer to Tennyson;
They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison,
And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket
after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of
snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical
blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm,
And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly
What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.
Joyce Kilmer |
(For Eleanor Rogers Cox)
For blows on the fort of evil
That never shows a breach,
For terrible life-long races
To a goal no foot can reach,
For reckless leaps into darkness
With hands outstretched to a star,
There is jubilation in Heaven
Where the great dead poets are.
There is joy over disappointment
And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure
To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet
In his high singing mood
Like unappeasable hunger
For unattainable food.
So fools are glad of the folly
That made them weep and sing,
And Keats is thankful for Fanny Brawne
And Drummond for his king.
They know that on flinty sorrow
And failure and desire
The steel of their souls was hammered
To bring forth the lyric fire.
Lord Byron and Shelley and Plunkett,
McDonough and Hunt and Pearse
See now why their hatred of tyrants
Was so insistently fierce.
Is Freedom only a Will-o'-the-wisp
To cheat a poet's eye?
Be it phantom or fact, it's a noble cause
In which to sing and to die!
So not for the Rainbow taken
And the magical White Bird snared
The poets sing grateful carols
In the place to which they have fared;
But for their lifetime's passion,
The quest that was fruitless and long,
They chorus their loud thanksgiving
To the thorn-crowned Master of Song.
Dorothy Parker |
The Lives and Times of John Keats,
Percy Bysshe Shelley, and
George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron
Byron and Shelley and Keats
Were a trio of Lyrical treats.
The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls,
And Keats never was a descendant of earls,
And Byron walked out with a number of girls,
But it didn't impair the poetical feats
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley and Keats.
More great poems below...
William Topaz McGonagall |
Alas! the people's hearts are now full of sorrow
For the deceased Professor Blackie, of Edinboro';
Because he was a Christian man, affable and kind,
And his equal in charitable actions would be hard to find
'Twas in the year of 1895, March the 2nd, he died at 10 o'clock.
Which to his dear wife, and his adopted son, was a great shock;
And before he died he bade farewell to his adopted son and wife.
Which, no doubt, they will remember during life.
Professor Blackie celebrated his golden wedding three years ago,
When he was made the recipient of respect from high and low.
He leaves a widow, but, fortunately, no family,
Which will cause Mrs.
Blackie to feel less unhappy.
Professor Blackie will be greatly missed in Edinboro;
Especially those that met him daily will feel great sorrow,
When they think of his never-failing plaid and hazel rung,
For, although he was an old man, he considered he was young.
He had a very striking face, and silvery locks like a seer,
And in the hearts of the Scottish people he was loved most dear;
And many a heart will mourn for him, but all in vain,
Because he never can return to them again.
He was a very kind-hearted man, and in no way vain,
And I'm afraid we ne'er shall look upon his like again;
And to hear him tell Scotch stories, the time did quickly pass,
And for singing Scotch songs few could him surpass.
But I hope e is in heaven, singing with saints above,
Around God's throne, where all is peace and love;
There, where God's children daily doth meet
To sing praises to God, enchanting and sweet.
He had visited almost every part of Europe in his time,
And, like Lord Byron, he loved the Grecian clime;
Nor did he neglect his own dear country,
And few men knew it more thoroughly than he.
On foot he tramped o'er most of bonnie Scotland,
And in his seventies he climbed the highest hills most grand.
Few men in his day could be compared to him,
Because he wasn't hard on fallen creatures when they did sin.
Oh, dearly beloved Professor Blackie, I must conclude my muse,
And to write in praise of thee my pen does not refuse;
Because you were a very Christian man, be it told,
Worthy of a monument, and your name written thereon in letters of gold.