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NONSENSE
[ Also see Absurdity Folly Humor Jesting Levity Nothingness Paradoxes Sense Smiles ]

Hudibras has defined nonsense, as Cowley does wit, by negatives. Nonsense, he says, is that which is neither true nor false. These two great properties of nonsense, which are always essential to it, give it such a peculiar advantage over all other writings, that it is incapable of being either answered or contradicted.
      - Joseph Addison

There are greater depths and obscurities, greater intricacies and perplexities, in an elaborate and well-written piece of nonsense, than in the most abstruse and profound tract of school divinity.
      - Joseph Addison

A little nonsense now and then
  Is relished by the wisest men.
      - Anonymous

He killed the noble Mudjokivis.
  Of the skin he made him mittens,
    Made them with the fur side inside,
      Made them with the skin side outside.
        He, to get the warm side inside,
          Put the inside skin side outside;
            He, to get the cold side outside,
              Put the warm side fur side inside.
                That's why he put the fur side inside,
                  Why he put the skin side outside,
                    Why he turned them inside outside.
      - Anonymous,
        in Carolyn Wells "Parody Anthology", p. 120

For daring nonsense seldom fails to hit,
  Like scattered shot, and pass with some for wit.
      - Samuel Butler (1)

For blocks are better cleft with wedges,
  Tan tools of sharp or subtle edges,
    And dullest nonsense has been found
      By some to be the most profound.
      - Samuel Butler (1), Pindaric Ode
         (IV, l. 82)

'T was brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
      - Lewis Carroll (pseudonym of Charles L. Dodgson),
        Through the Looking Glass (ch. I)

To vanish nonsense with the charms of sound.
      - Charles Churchill, The Apology (l. 219)

The more sparingly we make use of nonsense, the better.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Nonsense, when earnest, is impressive, and sometimes takes you in. If you are in a hurry, you occasionally mistake it for sense.
      - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.
  [Lat., Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem:
    Dulce est desipere in loco.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Carmina
         (IV, 12, 27)

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
  Who has written such volumes of stuff!
    Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
      But a few think him pleasant enough.
      - Edward Lear, Lines to a Young Lady

Nonsense and noise will oft prevail,
  When honor and affection fail.
      - Robert Lloyd

No one is exempt from taking nonsense; the misfortune is to do it solemnly.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays
         (bk. III, ch. I)

When Bryan O'Lynn had no shirt to put on,
  He took him a sheep skin to make him a' one.
    "With the skinny side out, and the wooly side in,
      'Twill be warm and convanient," said Bryan O'Lynn.
      - Old Song, Old Irish Song

There's a skin without and a skin within,
  A covering skin and a lining skin,
    But the skin within is the skin without
      Doubled and carried complete throughout.
      - Power of Atherstone

Nonsense is so good only because common sense is so limited.
      - George Santayana

From the Squirrel skin Marcosset
  Made some mittens for our hero.
    Mittens with the fur-side inside,
      With the fur-side next his fingers
        So's to keep the hand warm inside.
      - Rev. George Augustus Strong (used pseudonym Marc Antony Henderson),
        Song of the Milgenwater,
        a parody of Hiawatha

Conductor, when you receive a fare,
  Punch in the presence of the passenjare.
    A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare,
      A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare,
        A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare,
          Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
            Punch, brothers! punch with care!
              Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
      - Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens),
        Punch, Brothers, Punch,
        used in "Literary Nightmare"

A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not mis-become a monarch.
      - Horace (Horatio) Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford,
        Letter to Sir Horace Mann


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