Comic Miseries by John. G. Saxe

My dear young friend, whose shining wit
Sets all the room ablaze,
Don’t think yourself ‘ a happy dog,’
For all your merry ways ;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid,, if you can.
It’s such a very serious thing
To be a funny man !

You’re at an evening party, with
A group of pleasant folks, —
You venture quietly to crack
The least of little jokes, —
A lady doesn’t catch the point,
And begs you to explain —
Alas I for one who drops a jest
And takes it up again !

You’re talking deep philosophy
With very special force,
To edify a clergyman
With suitable discourse, —
You think you’ve got him — when he calls
A friend across the way.
And begs you’ll say that funny thing
You said the other day !

You drop a pretty jeu-de-mot
Into a neighbor’s ears,
Who likes to give you credit for
The clever thing he hears,
And so he hawks your jest about,
The old, authentic one.
Just breaking off the point of it.
And leaving out the pun !

By sudden change in politics,
Or sadder change in Polly,
You, lose your love, or loaves, and fall
A prey to melancholy,
While every body marvels why
Your mirth is under ban, —
They think your very grief ‘ a joke,’
You’re such a funny man !

You follow up a stylish card
That bids you come and dine,
And bring along your freshest wit,
(To pay for musty wine,)
You’re looking very dismal, when
My lady bounces in,
And wonders what you’re thinking of,
And why you don’t begin !

You’re telling to a knot of friends
A fancy-tale of woes
That cloud your matrimonial sky.
And banish all repose, —
A solemn lady overhears
The story of your strife,
And tells the town the pleasant news : —
You quarrel with your wife !

My dear young friend, whose shining wil
Sets all the room ablaze,
Don’t think yourself ‘ a happy dog,’
For all your merry ways ;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid, if you can,
It’s such a very serious thing
To be a funny man !


Sleep by John G. Saxe

“God bless the man who first invented sleep!”

So Sancho Panza said, and so say I:

And bless him, also, that he didn’t keep

His great discovery to himself; nor try

To make it–as the lucky fellow might–

A close monopoly by patent-right!


Yes; bless the man who first invented sleep

(I really can’t avoid the iteration);

But blast the man, with curses loud and deep,

Whate’er the rascal’s name, or age, or station,

Who first invented, and went round advising,

That artificial cut-off,–Early Rising!


“Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed,”

Observes some solemn, sentimental owl;

Maxims like these are very cheaply said;

But, ere you make yourself a fool or fowl,

Pray just inquire about his rise and fall,

And whether larks have any beds at all!


The time for honest folks to be abed

Is in the morning if I reason right;

And he who cannot keep his precious head

Upon his pillow till it’s fairly light,

And so enjoy his forty morning winks,

Is up to knavery; or else–he drinks!


Thomson, who sung about the “Seasons,” said

It was a glorious thing to rise in season;

But then he said it–lying–in his bed,

At ten o’clock, A. M.,–the very reason

He wrote so charmingly. The simple fact is,

His preaching wasn’t sanctioned by his practice.


‘Tis, doubtless, well to be sometimes awake,–

Awake to duty, and awake to truth,–

But when, alas! a nice review we take

Of our best deeds and days, we find, in sooth,

The hours that leave the slightest cause to weep

Are those we passed in childhood or asleep!


‘T is beautiful to leave the world awhile

For the soft visions of the gentle night;

And free, at last, from mortal care or guile,

To live as only in the angels’ sight,

In sleep’s sweet realm so cosily shut in,

Where, at the worst, we only dream of sin!


So let us sleep, and give the Maker praise.

I like the lad who, when his father thought

To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase

Of vagrant worm by early songster caught,

Cried, “Served him right!–it’s not at all surprising;

The worm was punished, sir, for early rising!”