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FLEAS
[ Also see Insects ]

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
  And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum,
    And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,
      While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.
      - Augustus de Morgan, A Budget of Paradoxes
         (p. 377)

"I cannot raise my worth too high;
  Of what vast consequence am I!"
    "Not of the importance you suppose,"
      Replies a Flea upon his nose;
        "Be humble, learn thyself to scan;
          Know, pride was never made for man."
      - John Gay, The Man and the Flea

It was many and many a year ago,
  In a District styled E.C.,
    That a monster dwelt whom I cam to know
      By the name of Cannibal Flea,
        And the brute was possessed with no other thought
          Than to live--and to live on me.
      - Thomas Hood, Jr., The Cannibal Flea,
        a parody on Poe's "Annabel Lee"

I do honour the very flea of his dog.
      - Ben Jonson, Every Man in his Humour
         (act IV, sc. 4)

A blockhead, bit by fleas, put out the light,
  And chuckling cried, "Now you can't see to bite!"
      - Lucian, in "Greek Anthology"

Then mimick'd my voice with satyrical sneer,
  And sent me away with a Flea in my ear.
      - Mochus (Moschus), Idyll (IX, Eunica)

Panurge had a flea in his ear.
  [Fr., Panurge auoyt la pulee en l' oreille.]
      - Francois Rabelais, Pantagruel

So, naturalists observe, a flea
  Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
    And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
      And so proceed ad infinitum.
        Thus every poet in his kind
          Is bit by him that comes behind.
      - Jonathan Swift, Poetry--A Rhapsody


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