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JOHN GODFREY SAXE
American humorous poet, journalist and lecturer
(1816 - 1887)

Alas! poor human nature, pity, if hard pressed, degenerates into contempt.
      - [Pity]

Beauty intoxicates the eye, as wine does the body; both are morally fatal if indulged.
      - [Beauty]

If you would be pungent, be brief, for it is with words as with sunbeams the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
      - [Style]

Order is the primary regulation of the celestial regions.
      - [Order]

A very man--not one of nature's clods--
  With human failings, whether saint or sinner:
    Endowed perhaps with genius from the gods
      But apt to take his temper from his dinner.
      - About Husbands [Eating]

Long pains are light ones,
  Cruel ones are brief!
      - Compensation [Compensation]

"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.
      - Early Rising [Sleep]

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 advertising
          That artificial cut-off--Early Rising.
      - Early Rising [Sleep]

Old Care has a mortgage on every estate,
  And that's what you pay for the wealth that you get.
      - Gifts of the Gods [Care]

I'm growing fonder of my staff;
  I'm growing dimmer in my eyes;
    I'm growing fainter in my laugh;
      I'm growing deeper in my sighs;
        I'm growing careless of my dress;
          I'm growing frugal of my gold;
            I'm growing wise; I'm growing--yes,--
              I'm growing old.
      - I'm Growing Old [Age]

Again I hear that creaking step!--
  He's rapping at the door!
    Too well I know the boding sound
      That ushers in a bore.
      - My Familiar [Bores]

He says a thousand pleasant things,--
  But never says "Adieu."
      - My Familiar [Bores]

Young gentlemen, pray recollect, if you please,
  Not to make appointments near mulberry trees.
    Should your mistress be missing, it shows a weak head
      To be stabbing yourself, till you know she is dead.
        Young ladies, you should not go strolling about
          When your ancient mammas don't know you are out;
            And remember that accidents often befall
              From kissing young fellows through holes in the wall!
      - Pyramus and Thisbe [Kisses]

I will touch
  My mouth unto the leaves, caressingly;
    And so wilt thou. Thus, from these lips of mine
      My message will go kissingly to thine,
        With more than Fancy's load of luxury,
          And prove a true love-letter.
      - Sonnet (With a Letter) [Post]

All things of beauty are not theirs alone
  Who hold the fee; but unto him no less
    Who can enjoy, than unto them who own,
      Are sweetest uses given to possess.
      - The Beautiful [Beauty]

Tom Goodwin was an actor-man,
  Old Drury's pride and boast,
    In all the light and spritely parts,
      Especially the ghost.
      - The Ghost Player [Acting]

Nay, tarry a moment, my charming girl;
  Here is a jewel of gold and pearl;
    A beautiful cross it is I ween
      As ever on beauty's breast was seen;
        There's nothing at all but love to pay;
          Take it and wear it, but only stay!
            Ah! Sir Hunter, what excellent taste!
              I'm not--in such--particular--haste.
      - The Hunter and the Milkmaid, translated
        [Jewels]

At Learning's fountain it is sweet to drink,
  But 'tis a nobler privilege to think.
      - The Library [Thought]

I love vast libraries; yet there is a doubt,
  If one be better with them or without,--
    Unless he use them wisely, and, indeed,
      Knows the high art of what and how to read.
      - The Library [Libraries]

'Tis well to borrow from the good and the great;
  'Tis wise to learn: 'tis God-like to create!
      - The Library [Libraries]

Golden hair, like sunlight streaming
  On the marble of her shoulder.
      - The Lover's Vision (st. 3) [Hair]

But her voice is still living immortal,
  The same you have frequently heard,
    In your rambles in valleys and forests,
      Repeating your ultimate word.
      - The Story of Echo [Echo]

Say, what is life? 'Tis to be born,
  A helpless Babe, to greet the light
    With a sharp wail, as if the morn
      Foretold a cloudy noon and night;
        To weep, to sleep, and weep again,
          With sunny smiles between; and then?
      - The Story of Life [Life]

Give me kisses! Nay, 'tis true
  I am just as rich as you;
    And for every kiss I owe,
      I can pay you back, you know.
        Kiss me, then,
          Every moment, and again.
      - To Lesbia [Kisses]


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