[Back]          [Blueprint]         [Next]


From The World’s Wit and Humor, Volume I, American; The Review of Reviews Company; New York; 1906; pp. 118-121.


American Wit and Humor

Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790-1870)

A Fragment

.            .            .            .            .            .            .            .

His shop is a grocer’s — a snug, genteel place,
    Near the corner of Oak Street and Pearl;
He can dress, dance, and bow to the ladies with grace,
    And ties his cravat with a curl.

He’s asked to all parties — north, sought, east and west,
    That take place between Chatham and Cherry,
And when he’s been absent full oft has the “best
    Society” ceased to be merry.

And nothing has darkened a sky so serene,
    Nor disordered his beauship’s Elysium,
Till this season among our élite there has been
    What is called by the clergy “a schism.”

’Tis all about eating and drinking — one set
    Gives sponge-cake, a few “kisses” or so,
And is cooled after dancing with classic sherbet,
    “Sublimed” [see Lord Byron] “with snow.”

Another insists upon punch and perdrix,
    Lobster salad, champagne, and, by way
Of a novelty only, those pearls of our sea,
    Stewed oysters from Lynn-Haven Bay.

Miss Flounce, the young milliner, blue-eyed and bright,
    In the front parlor over her shop,
“Entertains,” as the phrase is, a party to-night
    Upon peanuts and ginger pop.

And Miss Fleece, who’s a hosier and not quite as young,
    But is wealthier far than Miss Flounce,
She “entertains” also, to-night, with cold tongue,
    Smoked herring and cherry-bounce.

In praise of cold water the Theban bard spoke,
    He of Teos sang sweetly of wine;
Miss Flounce is a Pindar in cashmere and cloak,
    Miss Fleece an Anacreon divine.

The Montagues carry the day in Swamp Place,
    In Pike Street the Capulets reign;
A limonadière is the badge of one race,
    Of the other a flask of champagne.

Now as each the same evening her soirée announces,
    What better, he asks, can be done,
Than drink water from eight until ten with the Flounces,
    And then wine with the Fleeces till one!

.            .            .            .            .            .            .            .


Domestic Happiness

“Beside the nuptial curtain bright,”
    The bard of Eden sings;
“Young Love his constant lamp will light,
    And wave his purple wings.”
But raindrops from the clouds of care
    May bid that lamp be dim,
And the boy Love will pout and swear,
    ’Tis then no place for him.

So mused the lovely Mrs. Dash;
    ’Tis wrong to mention names;
When for her surly husband’s cash
    She urged in vain her claims.
“I want a little money, dear,
    For Vandervoort and Flandin,
Their bill, which now has run a year,
    To-morrow mean to hand in.”

“More?” cried the husband, half asleep,
    “You’ll drive me to despair;”
The lady was too proud to weep,
    And too polite to swear.
She bit her lip for very spite,
    He felt a storm was brewing,
And dream’d of nothing else all night,
    But brokers, banks, and ruin.

He thought her pretty once, but dreams
    Have sure a wondrous power,
For to his eye the lady seems
    Quite later’d since that hour;
And Love, who on their bridal eve
    Had promised long to stay,
Forgot his promise, took French leave,
    And bore his lamp away.


[Back]          [Blueprint]         [Next]