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By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel,
And the former called the latter "Little Prig";
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together,
To make up a year
And a sphere,
And I think it no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut."



By William Makepeace Thackeray 

When that old joke was new,
It was not hard to joke,
And puns we now pooh-pooh,
Great laughter would provoke.

True wit was seldom heard,
And humor shown by few,
When reign'd King George the Third,
And that old joke was new.

It passed indeed for wit,
Did this achievement rare,
When down your friend would sit,
To steal away his chair.

You brought him to the floor,
You bruised him black and blue,
And this would cause a roar,
When your old joke was new.



By William Blake

Why was Cupid a boy,
And why a boy was he?
He should have been a girl,
For aught that I can see.

For he shoots with his bow,
And the girl shoots with her eye;
And they both are merry and glad,
And laugh when we do cry.

Then to make Cupid a boy
Was surely a woman's plan,
For a boy never learns so much
Till he has become a man.

And then he's so pierced with cares,
And wounded with arrowy smarts,
That the whole business of his life
Is to pick out the heads of the darts.



By Lord Byron

If, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont
(What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream broad Hellespont.

If, when the wint'ry tempest roar'd,
He sped to Hero nothing loth,
And thus of old thy current pour'd,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!

For me, degenerate, modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat to-day.

But since he crossed the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story,
To woo—and—Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;

'T were hard to say who fared the best:
Sad mortals! thus the gods still plague you!
He lost his labor, I my jest;
For he was drowned, and I've the ague.



By Sir Walter Scott

Hear what Highland Nora said,—
"The Earlie's son I will not wed,
Should all the race of nature die,
And none be left but he and I.
For all the gold, for all the gear,
And all the lands both far and near,
That ever valour lost or won,
I would not wed the Earlie's son."

"A maiden's vows," old Callum spoke,
"Are lightly made and lightly broke,
The heather on the mountain's height
Begins to bloom in purple light;

The frost-wind soon shall sweep away
That lustre deep from glen and brae;
Yet Nora, ere its bloom be gone,
May blithely wed the Earlie's son."

"The swan," she said, "the lake's clear breast
May barter for the eagle's nest;
The Awe's fierce stream may backward turn,
Ben-Cruaichan fall, and crush Kilchurn;
Our kilted clans, when blood is high,
Before their foes may turn and fly;
But I, were all these marvels done,
Would never wed the Earlie's son."

Still in the water-lily's shade
Her wonted nest the wild swan made;
Ben-Cruaichan stands as fast as ever,
Still downward foams the Awe's fierce river;
To shun the clash of foeman's steel,
No Highland brogue has turn'd the heel;
But Nora's heart is lost and won,
—She's wedded to the Earlie's son!



William Blake

Lord Byron

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sir Walter Scott

William Makepeace Thackeray


Note: This collection is made in Palo Alto by Ardan Michael Blum. If you have suggestions for humorous verse that could be added to this page, do reach out to Ardan Michael using this form

Also by Ardan Michael Blum:

Discover a French language site sharing life stories in audio and text / Un voyage à travers le temps raconté par les Seniors: Histoires de Genève.

Current projects:

More at links.ardanmichaelblum.com