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751 Works of Ambrose Bierce

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In 1830, only a few miles away from what is now the great city of Cincinnati, lay an immense and almost unbroken forest. The whole region was sparsely settled by people of the frontier – restless souls who no sooner had hewn fairly habitable homes out of the wilderness and attained to that degree of […]

Chickamauga

Story type: Literature

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One sunny autumn afternoon a child strayed away from its rude home in a small field and entered a forest unobserved. It was happy in a new sense of freedom from control, happy in the opportunity of exploration and adventure; for this child’s spirit, in bodies of its ancestors, had for thousands of years been […]

The Damned Thing

Story type: Literature

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I By the light of a tallow candle, which had been placed on one end of a rough table, a man was reading something written in a book. It was an old account book, greatly worn; and the writing was not, apparently, very legible, for the man sometimes held the page close to the flame […]

A Horseman in the Sky

Story type: Literature

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One sunny afternoon in the autumn of the year 1861, a soldier lay in a clump of laurel by the side of a road in Western Virginia. He lay at full length, upon his stomach, his feet resting upon the toes, his head upon the left forearm. His extended right hand loosely grasped his rifle. […]

One of the Missing

Story type: Literature

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Jerome Searing, a private soldier of General Sherman’s army, then confronting the enemy at and about Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, turned his back upon a small group of officers with whom he had been talking in low tones, stepped across a light line of earthworks, and disappeared in a forest. None of the men in line […]

A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man’s hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord. A rope closely encircled his neck. It was attached to a stout cross-timber above his head and the slack fell to the level […]

Killed at Resaca

Story type: Literature

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The best soldier of our staff was Lieutenant Herman Brayle, one of the two aides-de-camp. I don’t remember where the general picked him up; from some Ohio regiment, I think; none of us had previously known him, and it would have been strange if we had, for no two of us came from the same […]

What I Saw of Shiloh

Story type: Literature

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I This is a simple story of a battle; such a tale as may be told by a soldier who is no writer to a reader who is no soldier. The morning of Sunday, the sixth day of April, 1862, was bright and warm. Reveille had been sounded rather late, for the troops, wearied with […]

One Summer Night

Story type: Literature

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The fact that Henry Armstrong was buried did not seem to him to prove that he was dead: he had always been a hard man to convince. That he really was buried, the testimony of his senses compelled him to admit. His posture—flat upon his back, with his hands crossed upon his stomach and tied […]

George Thurston was a first lieutenant and aide-de-camp on the staff of Colonel Brough, commanding a Federal brigade. Colonel Brough was only temporarily in command, as senior colonel, the brigadier-general having been severely wounded and granted a leave of absence to recover. Lieutenant Thurston was, I believe, of Colonel Brough’s regiment, to which, with his […]

CORONADO, June 20th. I find myself more and more interested in him. It is not, I am sure, his–do you know any noun corresponding to the adjective “handsome”? One does not like to say “beauty” when speaking of a man. He is handsome enough, heaven knows; I should not even care to trust you with […]

Listen to his wild romances: He advances foolish fancies, Each expounded as his “view”– Gu. In his brain’s opacous clot, ah He has got a maggot! What a Man with “views” to overwhelm us!– Gulielmus. Hear his demagogic clamor– Hear him stammer in his grammar! Teaching, he will learn to spell– Gulielmus L. Slave who […]

The Life Saver

Story type: Literature

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An Ancient Maiden, standing on the edge of a wharf near a Modern Swain, was overheard rehearsing the words: “Noble preserver! The life that you have saved is yours!” Having repeated them several times with various intonations, she sprang into the water, where she was suffered to drown. “I am a noble preserver,” said the […]

To One Detested

Story type: Poetry

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Sir, you’re a veteran, revealed In history and fable As warrior since you took the field, Defeating Abel. As Commissary later (or If not, in every cottage The tale is) you contracted for A mess of pottage. In civil life you were, we read (And our respect increases) A man of peace–a man, indeed, Of […]

The Man And The Bird

Story type: Literature

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A Man with a Shotgun said to a Bird: “It is all nonsense, you know, about shooting being a cruel sport. I put my skill against your cunning-that is all there is of it. It is a fair game.” “True,” said the Bird, “but I don’t wish to play.” “Why not?” inquired the Man with […]

Sweet Spirit of Cesspool, hear a mother’s prayer: Her terrors pacify and offspring spare! Upon Silurians alone let fall (And God in Heaven have mercy on them all!) The red revenges of your fragrant breath, Hot with the flames invisible of death. Sing in each nose a melody of smells, And lead them snoutwise to […]

From The Minutes

Story type: Literature

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An Orator afflicted with atrophy of the organ of common-sense rose in his place in the halls of legislation and pointed with pride to his Unblotted Escutcheon. Seeing what it supposed to be the finger of scorn pointed at it, the Unblotted Escutcheon turned black with rage. Seeing the Unblotted Escutcheon turning black with what […]

Three Of A Kind

Story type: Literature

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A Lawyer in whom an instinct of justice had survived the wreck of his ignorance of law was retained for the defence of a burglar whom the police had taken after a desperate struggle with someone not in custody. In consultation with his client the Lawyer asked, “Have you accomplices?” “Yes, sir,” replied the Burglar. […]

A Wise and illustrious Writer of Fables was visiting a travelling menagerie with a view to collecting literary materials. As he was passing near the Elephant, that animal said: “How sad that so justly famous a satirist should mar his work by ridicule of people with long noses–who are the salt of the earth!” The […]

San Quentin was brilliant. Within the halls Of the noble pile with the frowning walls (God knows they’ve enough to make them frown, With a Governor trying to break them down!) Was a blaze of light. ‘Twas the natal day Of his nibs the popular John S. Gray, And many observers considered his birth The […]

A Revivalist Revived

Story type: Literature

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A Revivalist who had fallen dead in the pulpit from too violent religious exercise was astonished to wake up in Hades. He promptly sent for the Adversary of Souls and demanded his freedom, explaining that he was entirely orthodox, and had always led a pious and holy life. “That is all very true,” said the […]

“O venerable patriot, I pray Stand not here coatless; at the break of day We’ll know the grand result–and even now The eastern sky is faintly touched with gray. “It ill befits thine age’s hoary crown– This rude environment of rogue and clown, Who, as the lying bulletins appear, With drunken cries incarnadine the town. […]

The Debaters

Story type: Literature

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A Hurled-Back Allegation, which, after a brief rest, had again started forth upon its mission of mischief, met an Ink-stand in mid-air. “How did the Honourable Member whom you represent know that I was coming again?” inquired the Hurled-back Allegation. “He did not,” the Inkstand replied; “he isn’t at all forehanded at repartee.” “Why, then, […]

Come, sisters, weep!–our Baron dear, Alas! has run away. If always we had kept him here He had not gone astray. Painter and grainer it were vain To say he was, before; And if he were, yet ne’er again He’ll darken here a door. We mourn each matrimonial plan– Even tradesmen join the cry: He […]

Two Of The Pious

Story type: Literature

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A Christian and a Heathen in His Blindness were disputing, when the Christian, with that charming consideration which serves to distinguish the truly pious from the wolves that perish, exclaimed: “If I could have my way, I’d blow up all your gods with dynamite.” “And if I could have mine,” retorted the Heathen in His […]

"Black Bart, Po8"

Story type: Poetry

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Welcome, good friend; as you have served your term, And found the joy of crime to be a fiction, I hope you’ll hold your present faith, stand firm And not again be open to conviction. Your sins, though scarlet once, are now as wool: You’ve made atonement for all past offenses, And conjugated–’twas an awful […]

The Desperate Object

Story type: Literature

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A Dishonest Gain was driving in its luxurious carriage through its private park, when it saw something which frantically and repeatedly ran against a stone wall, endeavouring to butt out its brains. “Hold! Hold! thou desperate Object,” cried the Dishonest Gain; “these beautiful private grounds are no place for such work as thine.” “True,” said […]

Pope-choker Pixley sat in his den A-chewin’ upon his quid. He thought it was Leo Thirteen, and then He bit it intenser, he did. The amber which overflew from the cud Like rivers which burst out of bounds– ‘Twas peculiar grateful to think it blood A-gushin’ from Papal wounds. A knockin’ was heard uponto the […]

A High Public Functionary having died, the citizens of his town held a meeting to consider how to honour his memory, and an Other High Public Functionary rose and addressed the meeting. “Mr. Chairman and Gintlemen,” said the Other, “it sames to me, and I’m hopin’ yez wull approve the suggistion, that an appropriet way […]

Come, Stanford, let us sit at ease And talk as old friends do. You talk of anything you please, And I will talk of you. You recently have said, I hear, That you would like to go To serve as Senator. That’s queer! Have you told William Stow? Once when the Legislature said: “Go, Stanford, […]

A Needless Labour

Story type: Literature

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After waiting many a weary day to revenge himself upon a Lion for some unconsidered manifestation of contempt, a Skunk finally saw him coming, and posting himself in the path ahead uttered the inaudible discord of his race. Observing that the Lion gave no attention to the matter, the Skunk, keeping carefully out of reach, […]

Unarmed

Story type: Poetry

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Saint Peter sat at the jasper gate, When Stephen M. White arrived in state. “Admit me.” “With pleasure,” Peter said, Pleased to observe that the man was dead; “That’s what I’m here for. Kindly show Your ticket, my lord, and in you go.” White stared in blank surprise. Said he “I run this place–just turn […]

A Flourishing Industry

Story type: Literature

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“Are the industries of this country in a flourishing condition?” asked a Traveller from a Foreign Land of the first man he met in America. “Splendid!” said the Man. “I have more orders than I can fill.” “What is your business?” the Traveller from a Foreign Land inquired. The Man replied, “I make boxing-gloves for […]

The Self-Made Monkey

Story type: Literature

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A Man of humble birth and no breading, who held a high political office, was passing through a forest, when he met a Monkey. “I take it you are one of my constituents,” the Man said. “No,” replied the Monkey; “but I will support you if you can urge a valid claim to my approval.” […]

A Patriot who had taken office poor and retired rich was introduced at a bank where he desired to open an account. “With pleasure,” said the Honest Banker; “we shall be glad to do business with you; but first you must make yourself an honest man by restoring what you stole from the Government.” “Good […]

George A. Knight

Story type: Poetry

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Attorney Knight, it happens so sometimes That lawyers, justifying cut-throats’ crimes For hire–calumniating, too, for gold, The dead, dumb victims cruelly unsouled– Speak, through the press, to a tribunal far More honorable than their Honors are,– A court that sits not with assenting smile While living rogues dead gentleman revile,– A court where scoundrel ethics […]

The Mourning Brothers

Story type: Literature

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Observing that he was about to die, an Old Man called his two Sons to his bedside and expounded the situation. “My children,” said he, “you have not shown me many marks of respect during my life, but you will attest your sorrow for my death. To him who the longer wears a weed upon […]

They say, my lord, that you’re a Warwick. Well, The title’s an absurd one, I believe: You make no kings, you have no kings to sell, Though really ’twere easy to conceive You stuffing half-a-dozen up your sleeve. No, you’re no Warwick, skillful from the shell To hatch out sovereigns. On a mare’s nest, maybe, […]

A Thief who had brought a suit against his accomplices to recover his share of the plunder taken from an Honest Man, demanded the Honest Man’s attendance at the trial to testify to his loss. But the Honest Man explained that as he was merely the agent of a company of other honest men it […]

Two Dogs who had been fighting for a bone, without advantage to either, referred their dispute to a Sheep. The Sheep patiently heard their statements, then flung the bone into a pond. “Why did you do that?” said the Dogs. “Because,” replied the Sheep, “I am a vegetarian.”

The Dutiful Son

Story type: Literature

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A Millionaire who had gone to an almshouse to visit his father met a Neighbour there, who was greatly surprised. “What!” said the Neighbour, “you do sometimes visit your father?” “If our situations were reversed,” said the Millionaire, “I am sure he would visit me. The old man has always been rather proud of me. […]

I Slept, and, waking in the years to be, Heard voices, and approaching whence they came, Listened indifferently where a key Had lately been removed. An ancient dame Said to her daughter: “Go to yonder caddy And get some emery to scour your daddy.” And then I knew–some intuition said– That tombs were not and […]

The Cat And The Youth

Story type: Literature

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A Cat fell in love with a handsome Young Man, and entreated Venus to change her into a woman. “I should think,” said Venus, “you might make so trifling a change without bothering me. However, be a woman.” Afterward, wishing to see if the change were complete, Venus caused a mouse to approach, whereupon the […]

Thersites

Story type: Poetry

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So, in the Sunday papers you, Del Mar, Damn, all great Englishmen in English speech? I am no Englishman, but in my reach A rogue shall never rail where heroes are. You are the man, if I mistake you not, Who lately with a supplicating twitch Plucked at the pockets of the London rich And […]

A Society Leader

Story type: Poetry

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“The Social World”! O what a world it is– Where full-grown men cut capers in the German, Cotillion, waltz, or what you will, and whizz And spin and hop and sprawl about like mermen! I wonder if our future Grant or Sherman, As these youths pass their time, is passing his– If eagles ever come […]

Your various talents, Goldenson, command Respect: you are a poet and can draw. It is a pity that your gifted hand Should ever have been raised against the law. If you had drawn no pistol, but a picture, You would have saved your throttle from a stricture. About your poetry I’m not so sure: ‘Tis […]

I had a dream. The habitable earth– Its continents and islands, all were bare Of cities and of forests. Naught remained Of its old aspect, and I only knew (As men know things in dreams, unknowing how) That this was earth and that all men were dead. On every side I saw the barren land, […]

A Retort

Story type: Poetry

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As vicious women think all men are knaves, And shrew-bound gentlemen discourse of slaves; As reeling drunkards judge the world unsteady And idlers swear employers ne’er get ready– Thieves that the constable stole all they had, The mad that all except themselves are mad; So, in another’s clear escutcheon shown, Barnes rails at stains reflected […]

Couplets

Story type: Poetry

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Intended for Inscription on a Sword Presented to Colonel Cutting of the National Guard of California. I am for Cutting. I’m a blade Designed for use at dress parade. My gleaming length, when I display Peace rules the land with gentle sway; But when the war-dogs bare their teeth Go seek me in the modest […]

A Celebrated Case

Story type: Poetry

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Way down in the Boom Belt lived Mrs. Roselle; A person named Petrie, he lived there as well; But Mr. Roselle he resided away– Sing tooral iooral iooral iay. Once Mrs. Roselle in her room was alone: The flesh of her flesh and the bone of her bone Neglected the wife of his bosom to […]

Not all in sorrow and in tears, To pay of gratitude’s arrears The yearly sum– Not prompted, wholly by the pride Of those for whom their friends have died, To-day we come. Another aim we have in view Than for the buried boys in blue To drop a tear: Memorial Day revives the chin Of […]

The Oakland Dog

Story type: Poetry

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I lay one happy night in bed And dreamed that all the dogs were dead. They’d all been taken out and shot– Their bodies strewed each vacant lot. O’er all the earth, from Berkeley down To San Leandro’s ancient town, And out in space as far as Niles– I saw their mortal parts in piles. […]

His caw is a cackle, his eye is dim, And he mopes all day on the lowest limb; Not a word says he, but he snaps his bill And twitches his palsied head, as a quill, The ultimate plume of his pride and hope, Quits his now featherless nose-of-the-Pope, Leaving that eminence brown and bare […]

Mendax

Story type: Poetry

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High Lord of Liars, Pickering, to thee Let meaner mortals bend the subject knee! Thine is mendacity’s imperial crown, Alike by genius, action and renown. No man, since words could set a cheek aflame E’er lied so greatly with so little shame! O bad old man, must thy remaining years Be passed in leading idiots […]

I’ve sometimes wished that Ingersoll were wise To hold his tongue, nor rail against the skies; For when he’s made a point some pious dunce Like Bartlett of the Bulletin “replies.” I brandish no iconoclastic fist, Nor enter the debate an atheist; But when they say there is a God I ask Why Bartlett, then, […]

As through the blue expanse he skims On joyous wings, the late Frank Hutchings overtakes Miss Sims, Both bound for Heaven’s high gate. In life they loved and (God knows why A lover so should sue) He slew her, on the gallows high Died pious–and they flew. Her pinions were bedraggled, soiled And torn as […]

"Died Of A Rose"

Story type: Poetry

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A reporter he was, and he wrote, wrote he: “The grave was covered as thick as could be With floral tributes”–which reading, The editor man he said, he did so: “For ‘floral tributes’ he’s got for to go, For I hold the same misleading.” Then he called him in and he pointed sweet To a […]

Beneath his coat of dirt great Neilson loves To hide the avenging rope. He handles all he touches without gloves, Excepting soap.

A Railroad Lackey

Story type: Poetry

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Ben Truman, you’re a genius and can write, Though one would not suspect it from your looks. You lack that certain spareness which is quite Distinctive of the persons who make books. You show the workmanship of Stanford’s cooks About the region of the appetite, Where geniuses are singularly slight. Your friends the Chinamen are […]

The Legatee

Story type: Poetry

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In fair San Francisco a good man did dwell, And he wrote out a will, for he didn’t feel well, Said he: “It is proper, when making a gift, To stimulate virtue by comforting thrift.” So he left all his property, legal and straight, To “the cursedest rascal in all of the State.” But the […]

O Reverend Ravlin, once with sounding lung You shook the bloody banner of your tongue, Urged all the fiery boycotters afield And swore you’d rather follow them than yield, Alas, how brief the time, how great the change!– Your dogs of war are ailing all of mange; The loose leash dangles from your finger-tips, But […]

John S. Hittell, whose sovereign genius wields The quill his tributary body yields; The author of an opera–that is, All but the music and libretto’s his: A work renowned, whose formidable name, Linked with his own, repels the assault of fame From the high vantage of a dusty shelf, Secure from all the world except […]

Emancipation

Story type: Poetry

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Behold! the days of miracle at last Return–if ever they were truly past: From sinful creditors’ unholy greed The church called Calvary at last is freed– So called for there the Savior’s crucified, Roberts and Carmany on either side. The circling contribution-box no more Provokes the nod and simulated snore; No more the Lottery, no […]

Johndonkey

Story type: Poetry

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[There isn’t a man living who does not have at least a sneaking reverence for a horse-shoe.–Evening Post.] Thus the poor ass whose appetite has ne’er Known than the thistle any sweeter fare Thinks all the world eats thistles. Thus the clown, The wit and Mentor of the country town, Grins through the collar of […]

To My Liars

Story type: Poetry

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Attend, mine enemies of all degrees, From sandlot orators and sandlot fleas To fallen gentlemen and rising louts Who babble slander at your drinking bouts, And, filled with unfamiliar wine, begin Lies drowned, ere born, in more congenial gin. But most attend, ye persons of the press Who live (though why, yourselves alone can guess) […]

"Phil" Crimmins

Story type: Poetry

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Still as he climbed into the public view His charms of person more apparent grew, Till the pleased world that watched his airy grace Saw nothing of him but his nether face– Forgot his follies with his head’s retreat, And blessed his virtues as it viewed their seat.

Codex Honoris

Story type: Poetry

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Jacob Jacobs, of Oakland, he swore: “Dat Solomon Martin–I’ll haf his gore!” Solomon Martin, of Oakland, he said: “Of Shacob Shacobs der bleed I vill shed!” So they met, with seconds and surgeon at call, And fought with pistol and powder and–all Was done in good faith,–as before I said, They fought with pistol and […]

A Poet’s Father

Story type: Poetry

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Welcker, I’m told, can boast a father great And honored in the service of the State. Public Instruction all his mind employs– He guides its methods and its wage enjoys. Prime Pedagogue, imperious and grand, He waves his ferule o’er a studious land Where humming youth, intent upon the page, Thirsting for knowledge with a […]

The Mackaiad

Story type: Poetry

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Mackay’s hot wrath to Bonynge, direful spring Of blows unnumbered, heavenly goddess, sing– That wrath which hurled to Hellman’s office floor Two heroes, mutually smeared with gore, Whose hair in handfuls marked the dire debate, And riven coat-tails testified their hate. Sing, muse, what first their indignation fired, What words augmented it, by whom inspired. […]

A Song In Praise

Story type: Poetry

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Hail, blessed Blunder! golden idol, hail!– Clay-footed deity of all who fail. Celestial image, let thy glory shine, Thy feet concealing, but a lamp to mine. Let me, at seasons opportune and fit, By turns adore thee and by turns commit. In thy high service let me ever be (Yet never serve thee as my […]

Jupiter held a baby show, open to all animals, and a Monkey entered her hideous cub for a prize, but Jupiter only laughed at her. “It is all very well,” said the Monkey, “to laugh at my offspring, but you go into any gallery of antique sculpture and look at the statues and busts of […]

Famine’s Realm

Story type: Poetry

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To him in whom the love of Nature has Imperfectly supplanted the desire And dread necessity of food, your shore, Fair Oakland, is a terror. Over all Your sunny level, from Tamaletown To where the Pestuary’s fragrant slime, With dead dogs studded, bears its ailing fleet, Broods the still menace of starvation. Bones Of men […]

The Man And The Dog

Story type: Literature

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A Man who had been bitten by a Dog was told that the wound would heal if he would dip a piece of bread in the blood and give it to the Dog. He did so. “No,” said the Dog; “if I were to accept that, it might be thought that in biting you I […]

An Actor

Story type: Poetry

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Some one (’tis hardly new) has oddly said The color of a trumpet’s blare is red; And Joseph Emmett thinks the crimson shame On woman’s cheek a trumpet-note of fame. The more the red storm rises round her nose– The more her eyes averted seek her toes, He fancies all the louder he can hear […]

What! Pixley, must I hear you call the roll Of all the vices that infest your soul? Was’t not enough that lately you did bawl Your money-worship in the ears of all?[A] Still must you crack your brazen cheek to tell That though a miser you’re a sot as well? Still must I hear how […]

An "Exhibit"

Story type: Poetry

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Goldenson hanged! Well, Heaven forbid That I should smile above him: Though truth to tell, I never did Exactly love him. It can’t be wrong, though, to rejoice That his unpleasing capers Are ended. Silent is his voice In all the papers. No longer he’s a show: no more, Bear-like, his den he’s walking. No […]

Strolling at sunset in my native land, With fruits and flowers thick on either hand, I crossed a Shadow flung athwart my way, Emerging on a waste of rock and sand. “The apples all are gone from here,” I said, “The roses perished and their spirits fled. I will go back.” A voice cried out: […]

A Woodchopper, who had dropped his axe into a deep pool, besought Mercury to recover it for him. That thoughtless deity immediately plunged into the pool, which became so salivated that the trees about its margin all came loose and dropped out.

Dennis Kearney

Story type: Poetry

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Your influence, my friend, has gathered head– To east and west its tides encroaching spread. There’ll be, on all God’s foot-stool, when they meet, No clean spot left for God to set His feet.

The Penitent Thief

Story type: Literature

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A Boy who had been taught by his Mother to steal grew to be a man and was a professional public official. One day he was taken in the act and condemned to die. While going to the place of execution he passed his Mother and said to her: “Behold your work! If you had […]

An Eagle mortally wounded by an Archer was greatly comforted to observe that the arrow was feathered with one of his own quills. “I should have felt bad, indeed,” he said, “to think that any other eagle had a hand in this.”

Truth And The Traveller

Story type: Literature

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A Man travelling in a desert met a Woman. “Who art thou?” asked the Man, “and why dost thou dwell in this dreadful place?” “My name,” replied the Woman, “is Truth; and I live in the desert in order to be near my worshippers when they are driven from among their fellows. They all come, […]

To E.S. Salomon

Story type: Poetry

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Who in a Memorial Day oration protested bitterly against decorating the graves of Confederate dead. What! Salomon! such words from you, Who call yourself a soldier? Well, The Southern brother where he fell Slept all your base oration through. Alike to him–he cannot know Your praise or blame: as little harm Your tongue can do […]

Ornithanthropos

Story type: Poetry

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“Let John P. Irish rise!” the edict rang As when Creation into being sprang! Nature, not clearly understanding, tried To make a bird that on the air could ride. But naught could baffle the creative plan– Despite her efforts ’twas almost a man. Yet he had risen–to the bird a twin– Had she but fixed […]

I dreamed one night that Stephen Massett died, And for admission up at Heaven applied. “Who are you?” asked St. Peter. Massett said: “Jeems Pipes, of Pipesville.” Peter bowed his head, Opened the gates and said: “I’m glad to know you, And wish we’d something better, sir, to show you.” “Don’t mention it,” said Stephen, […]

One day in winter a hungry Grasshopper applied to an Ant for some of the food which they had stored. “Why,” said the Ant, “did you not store up some food for yourself, instead of singing all the time?” “So I did,” said the Grasshopper; “so I did; but you fellows broke in and carried […]

An Art Critic

Story type: Poetry

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Ira P. Rankin, you’ve a nasal name– I’ll sound it through “the speaking-trump of fame,” And wondering nations, hearing from afar The brazen twang of its resounding jar, Shall say: “These bards are an uncommon class– They blow their noses with a tube of brass!” Rankin! ye gods! if Influenza pick Our names at christening, […]

A Fisherman who had caught a very small Fish was putting it in his basket when it said: “I pray you put me back into the stream, for I can be of no use to you; the gods do not eat fish.” “But I am no god,” said the Fisherman. “True,” said the Fish, “but […]

I’d long been dead, but I returned to earth. Some small affairs posterity was making A mess of, and I came to see that worth Received its dues. I’d hardly finished waking, The grave-mould still upon me, when my eye Perceived a statue standing straight and high. ‘Twas a colossal figure–bronze and gold– Nobly designed, […]

Samuel Shortridge

Story type: Poetry

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Like a worn mother he attempts in vain To still the unruly Crier of his brain: The more he rocks the cradle of his chin The more uproarious grows the brat within.

Surprised

Story type: Poetry

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“O son of mine age, these eyes lose their fire: Be eyes, I pray, to thy dying sire.” “O father, fear not, for mine eyes are bright– I read through a millstone at dead of night.” “My son, O tell me, who are those men, Rushing like pigs to the feeding-pen?” “Welcomers they of a […]

The Farmer And The Fox

Story type: Literature

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A Farmer who had a deadly and implacable hatred against a certain Fox, caught him and tied some tow to his tail; then carrying him to the centre of his own grain-field, set the tow on fire and let the animal go. “Alas!” said the Farmer, seeing the result; “if that grain had not been […]

O never an oathe sweares he, And never a pig-taile jerkes; With a brick-batte he ne lurkes For to buste y’e crust, perdie, Of y’e man from over sea, A-synging as he werkes. For he knows ful well, y’s youth, A tricke of exceeding worth: And he plans withouten ruth A conflagration’s birth!

Two Game Cocks, having fought a battle, the defeated one skulked away and hid, but the victor mounted a wall and crowed lustily. This attracted the attention of a hawk, who said: “Behold! how pride goeth before a fall.” So he swooped down upon the boasting bird and was about to destroy him, when the […]

A Weary Traveller who had lain down and fallen asleep on the brink of a deep well was discovered by Dame Fortune. “If this fool,” she said, “should have an uneasy dream and roll into the well men would say that I did it. It is painful to me to be unjustly accused, and I […]

The Goose And The Swan

Story type: Literature

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A Certain rich man reared a Goose and a Swan, the one for his table, the other because she was reputed a good singer. One night when the Cook went to kill the Goose he got hold of the Swan instead. Thereupon the Swan, to induce him to spare her life, began to sing; but […]

A Man

Story type: Poetry

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Pennoyer, Governor of Oregon, Casting to South his eye across the bourne Of his dominion (where the Palmiped, With leathers ‘twixt his toes, paddles his marsh, Amphibious) saw a rising cloud of hats, And heard a faint, far sound of distant cheers Below the swell of the horizon. “Lo,” Cried one, “the President! the President!” […]

I Sharon, ambitious of immortal shame, Fame’s dead-wall daubed with his illustrious name– Served in the Senate, for our sins, his time, Each word a folly and each vote a crime; Law for our governance well skilled to make By knowledge gained in study how to break; Yet still by the presiding eye ignored, Which […]

A Lion was about to attack a braying Ass, when a Cock near by crowed shrilly, and the Lion ran away. “What frightened him?” the Ass asked. “Lions have a superstitious terror of my voice,” answered the Cock, proudly. “Well, well, well,” said the Ass, shaking his head; “I should think that any animal that […]

A Swallow who had built her nest in a court of justice reared a fine family of young birds. One day a Snake came out of a chink in the wall and was about to eat them. The Just Judge at once issued an injunction, and making an order for their removal to his own […]

Especially should we be thankful for having escaped the ravages of the yellow scourge by which our neighbors have been so sorely afflicted.–Governor Stoneman’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Be pleased, O Lord, to take a people’s thanks That Thine avenging sword has spared our ranks– That Thou hast parted from our lips the cup And forced our […]

The Wolves And The Dogs

Story type: Literature

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“Why should there be strife between us?” said the Wolves to the Sheep. “It is all owing to those quarrelsome dogs. Dismiss them, and we shall have peace.” “You seem to think,” replied the Sheep, “that it is an easy thing to dismiss dogs. Have you always found it so?”

Two Statesmen

Story type: Poetry

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In that fair city by the inland sea, Where Blaine unhived his Presidential bee, Frank Pixley’s meeting with George Gorham sing, Celestial muse, and what events did spring From the encounter of those mighty sons Of thunder, and of slaughter, and of guns. Great Gorham first, his yearning tooth to sate And give him stomach […]

The Hen And The Vipers

Story type: Literature

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A hen who had patiently hatched out a brood of vipers, was accosted by a Swallow, who said: “What a fool you are to give life to creatures who will reward you by destroying you.” “I am a little bit on the destroy myself,” said the Hen, tranquilly swallowing one of the little reptiles; “and […]

The Fawn And The Buck

Story type: Literature

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A Fawn said to its father: “You are larger, stronger, and more active than a dog, and you have sharp horns. Why do you run away when you hear one barking?” “Because, my child,” replied the Buck, “my temper is so uncertain that if I permit one of those noisy creatures to come into my […]

The Lion And The Thorn

Story type: Literature

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A Lion roaming through the forest, got a thorn in his foot, and, meeting a Shepherd, asked him to remove it. The Shepherd did so, and the Lion, having just surfeited himself on another shepherd, went away without harming him. Some time afterward the Shepherd was condemned on a false accusation to be cast to […]

The Wolf And The Babe

Story type: Literature

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A Famishing Wolf, passing the door of a cottage in the forest, heard a Mother say to her babe: “Be quiet, or I will throw you out of the window, and the wolves will get you.” So he waited all day below the window, growing more hungry all the time. But at night the Old […]

A Lifted Finger

Story type: Poetry

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[The Chronicle did a great public service in whipping —- and his fellow-rascals out of office.–M.H. de Young’s Newspaper.] What! you whip rascals?–you, whose gutter blood Bears, in its dark, dishonorable flood, Enough of prison-birds’ prolific germs To serve a whole eternity of terms? You, for whose back the rods and cudgels strove Ere yet […]

Some Pigeons exposed to the attacks of a Kite asked a Hawk to defend them. He consented, and being admitted into the cote waited for the Kite, whom he fell upon and devoured. When he was so surfeited that he could scarcely move, the grateful Pigeons scratched out his eyes.

A Wolf, who in devouring a man had choked himself with a bunch of keys, asked an ostrich to put her head down his throat and pull them out, which she did. “I suppose,” said the Wolf, “you expect payment for that service.” “A kind act,” replied the Ostrich, “is its own reward; I have […]

Boruck and Waterman upon their grills In Hades lay, with many a sigh and groan, Hotly disputing, for each swore his own Were clearly keener than the other’s ills. And, truly, each had much to boast of–bone And sinew, muscle, tallow, nerve and skin, Blood in the vein and marrow in the shin, Teeth, eyes […]

An Obituarian

Story type: Poetry

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Death-poet Pickering sat at his desk, Wrapped in appropriate gloom; His posture was pensive and picturesque, Like a raven charming a tomb. Enter a party a-drinking the cup Of sorrow–and likewise of woe: “Some harrowing poetry, Mister, whack up, All wrote in the key of O. “For the angels has called my old woman hence […]

A Herdsman who had lost a bullock entreated the gods to bring him the thief, and vowed he would sacrifice a goat to them. Just then a Lion, his jaws dripping with bullock’s blood, approached the Herdsman. “I thank you, good deities,” said the Herdsman, continuing his prayer, “for showing me the thief. And now […]

The Man And The Viper

Story type: Literature

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A Man finding a frozen Viper put it into his bosom. “The coldness of the human heart,” he said, with a grin, “will keep the creature in his present condition until I can reach home and revive him on the coals.” But the pleasures of hope so fired his heart that the Viper thawed, and […]

The Key Note

Story type: Poetry

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I dreamed I was dreaming one morn as I lay In a garden with flowers teeming. On an island I lay in a mystical bay, In the dream that I dreamed I was dreaming. The ghost of a scent–had it followed me there From the place where I truly was resting? It filled like an […]

The Man And The Eagle

Story type: Literature

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An Eagle was once captured by a Man, who clipped his wings and put him in the poultry yard, along with the chickens. The Eagle was much depressed in spirits by the change. “Why should you not rather rejoice?” said the Man. “You were only an ordinary fellow as an eagle; but as an old […]

Having heard that the State was about to be invaded by a hostile army, a War-horse belonging to a Colonel of the Militia offered his services to a passing Miller. “No,” said the patriotic Miller, “I will employ no one who deserts his position in the hour of danger. It is sweet to die for […]

A Truthful Man, finding a musical instrument in the road, asked the name of it, and was told that it was a fish-horn. The next time he went fishing he set his nets and blew the fish-horn all day to charm the fish into them; but at nightfall there were not only no fish in […]

A Dog passing over a stream on a plank saw his reflection in the water. “You ugly brute!” he cried; “how dare you look at me in that insolent way.” He made a grab in the water, and, getting hold of what he supposed was the other dog’s lip, lifted out a fine piece of […]

Cain

Story type: Poetry

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Lord, shed thy light upon his desert path, And gild his branded brow, that no man spill His forfeit life to balk thy holy will That spares him for the ripening of wrath. Already, lo! the red sign is descried, To trembling jurors visibly revealed: The prison doors obediently yield, The baffled hangman flings the […]

A Wolf passing a Shepherd’s hut looked in and saw the shepherds dining. “Come in,” said one of them, ironically, “and partake of your favourite dish, a haunch of mutton.” “Thank you,” said the Wolf, moving away, “but you must excuse me; I have just had a saddle of shepherd.”

The Lion And The Boar

Story type: Literature

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A Lion and a Boar, who were fighting for water at a pool, saw some vultures hovering significantly above them. “Let us make up our quarrel,” said the Boar, “or these fellows will get one of us, sure.” “I should not so much mind that,” replied the Lion, “if they would get the right one. […]

The Wolf And The Lamb

Story type: Literature

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A Lamb, pursued by a Wolf, fled into the temple. “The priest will catch you and sacrifice you,” said the Wolf, “if you remain there.” “It is just as well to be sacrificed by the priest as to be eaten by you,” said the Lamb. “My friend,” said the Wolf, “it pains me to see […]

The Fox And The Grapes

Story type: Literature

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A Fox, seeing some sour grapes hanging within an inch of his nose, and being unwilling to admit that there was anything he would not eat, solemnly declared that they were out of his reach.

The Veteran

Story type: Poetry

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John Jackson, once a soldier bold, Hath still a martial feeling; So, when he sees a foe, behold! He charges him–with stealing. He cares not how much ground to-day He gives for men to doubt him; He’s used to giving ground, they say, Who lately fought with–out him. When, for the battle to be won, […]

The Cat And The Birds

Story type: Literature

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Hearing that the Birds in an aviary were ill, a Cat went to them and said that he was a physician, and would cure them if they would let him in. “To what school of medicine do you belong?” asked the Birds. “I am a Miaulopathist,” said the Cat. “Did you ever practise Gohomoeopathy?” the […]

A Coward

Story type: Poetry

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When Pickering, distressed by an “attack,” Has the strange insolence to answer back He hides behind a name that is a lie, And out of shadow falters his reply. God knows him, though–identified alike By hardihood to rise and fear to strike, And fitly to rebuke his sins decrees, That, hide from others with what […]

Hell

Story type: Poetry

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The friends who stood about my bed Looked down upon my face and said: “God’s will be done–the fellow’s dead.” When from my body I was free I straightway felt myself, ah me! Sink downward to the life to be. Full twenty centuries I fell, And then alighted. “Here you dwell For aye,” a Voice […]

A Baby Tramp

Story type: Literature

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If you had seen little Jo standing at the street corner in the rain, you would hardly have admired him. It was apparently an ordinary autumn rainstorm, but the water which fell upon Jo (who was hardly old enough to be either just or unjust, and so perhaps did not come under the law of […]

It was a singularly sharp night, and clear as the heart of a diamond. Clear nights have a trick of being keen. In darkness you may be cold and not know it; when you see, you suffer. This night was bright enough to bite like a serpent. The moon was moving mysteriously along behind the […]

Beyond the wall

Story type: Literature

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Many years ago, on my way from Hongkong to New York, I assed a week in San Francisco. A long time had gone by since I had been in that city, during which my ventures in the Orient had prospered beyond my hope; I was rich and could afford to revisit my own country to […]

In the summer of 1874 I was in Liverpool, whither I had gone on business for the mercantile house of Bronson & Jarrett, New York. I am William Jarrett; my partner was Zenas Bronson. The firm failed last year, and unable to endure the fall from affluence to poverty he died. Having finished my business, […]

I It is well known that the old Manton house is haunted. In all the rural district near about, and even in the town of Marshall, a mile away, not one person of unbiased mind entertains a doubt of it; incredulity is confined to those opinionated persons who will be called “cranks” as soon as […]

John Mortonson was dead: his lines in “the tragedy ‘Man’” had all been spoken and he had left the stage. The body rested in a fine mahogany coffin fitted with a plate of glass. All arrangements for the funeral had been so well attended to that had the deceased known he would doubtless have approved. […]

Of two men who were talking one was a physician. “I sent for you, Doctor,” said the other, “but I don’t think you can do me any good. May be you can recommend a specialist in psychopathy. I fancy I’m a bit loony.” “You look all right,” the physician said. “You shall judge–I have hallucinations. […]

I For by death is wrought greater change than hath been shown. Whereas in general the spirit that removed cometh back upon occasion, and is sometimes seen of those in flesh (appearing in the form of the body it bore) yet it hath happened that the veritable body without the spirit hath walked. And it […]

North Westwardly from Indian Hill, about nine miles as the crow flies, is Macarger’s Gulch. It is not much of a gulch–a mere depression between two wooded ridges of inconsiderable height. From its mouth up to its head–for gulches, like rivers, have an anatomy of their own–the distance does not exceed two miles, and the […]

The Moonlit Road

Story type: Literature

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I–STATEMENT OF JOEL HETMAN, JR. I am the most unfortunate of men. Rich, respected, fairly well educated and of sound health–with many other advantages usually valued by those having them and coveted by those who have them not–I sometimes think that I should be less unhappy if they had been denied me, for then the […]

A Diagnosis of Death

Story type: Literature

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“I am not so superstitious as some of your physicians–men of science, as you are pleased to be called,” said Hawver, replying to an accusation that had not been made. “Some of you–only a few, I confess–believe in the immortality of the soul, and in apparitions which you have not the honesty to call ghosts. […]

Moxon’s Master

Story type: Literature

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“Are you serious?–do you really believe that a machine thinks?” I got no immediate reply; Moxon was apparently intent upon the coals in the grate, touching them deftly here and there with the fire-poker till they signified a sense of his attention by a brighter glow. For several weeks I had been observing in him […]

One of Twins

Story type: Literature

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A LETTER FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE MORTIMER BARR You ask me if in my experience as one of a pair of twins I ever observed anything unaccountable by the natural laws with which we have acquaintance. As to that you shall judge; perhaps we have not all acquaintance with the same natural […]

The Haunted Valley

Story type: Literature

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I–HOW TREES ARE FELLED IN CHINA A half-mile north from Jo. Dunfer’s, on the road from Hutton’s to Mexican Hill, the highway dips into a sunless ravine which opens out on either hand in a half-confidential manner, as if it had a secret to impart at some more convenient season. I never used to ride […]

A Jug of Sirup

Story type: Literature

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This narrative begins with the death of its hero. Silas Deemer died on the 16th day of July, 1863, and two days later his remains were buried. As he had been personally known to every man, woman and well-grown child in the village, the funeral, as the local newspaper phrased it, “was largely attended.” In […]

A Resumed Identity

Story type: Literature

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I–THE REVIEW AS A FORM OF WELCOME One summer night a man stood on a low hill overlooking a wide expanse of forest and field. By the full moon hanging low in the west he knew what he might not have known otherwise: that it was near the hour of dawn. A light mist lay […]

Civilization

Story type: Essay

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I. THE question “Does civilization civilize?” is a fine example of petitio principii. and decides itself in the affirmative; for civilization must needs do that from the doing of which it has its name. But it is not necessary to suppose that he who propounds is either unconscious of his lapse in logic or desirous […]

I. THERE is a deal of confusion and uncertainty in the use of the words “Socialist,” “Anarchist,” and “Nihilist.” Even the ‘1st himself commonly knows with as little accuracy what he is as the rest of us know why he is. The Socialist believes that most human affairs should be regulated and managed by the […]

I. IF ONE were to declare himself a Democrat or a Republican and the claim should be contested he would find it a difficult one to prove. The missing link in his chain of evidence would be the major premise in the syllogism necessary to the establishment of his political status–a definition of “Democrat” or […]

I. THERE is a difference between religion and the amazing circumstructure which, under the name of theology, the priesthoods have builded round about it, which for centuries they made the world believe was the true temple, and which, after incalculable mischiefs wrought, immeasurable blood spilled in its extension and consolidation, is only now beginning to […]

I. THE time seems to have come when the two antagonistic elements of American society should, and could afford to, throw off their disguise and frankly declare their principles and purposes. But what, it may be asked, are the two antagonistic elements? Dividing lines parting the population into two camps more or less hostile may […]

Arbitration

Story type: Essay

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THE universal cry for arbitration is either dishonest or unwise. For every evil there are quack remedies galore–especially for every evil that is irremediable. Of this order of remedies is arbitration, for of this order of evils is the inadequate wage of manual labor. Since the beginning of authentic history everything has been tried in […]

I. SOCIOLOGISTS have been debating the theory that the impulse to commit crime is a disease, and the ayes appear to have it–not the impulse but the decision. It is gratifying and profitable to have the point settled: we now know “where we are at,” and can take our course accordingly. It has for a […]

Immortality

Story type: Essay

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THE desire for life everlasting has commonly been affirmed to be universal–at least that is the view taken by those unacquainted with Oriental faiths and with Oriental character. Those of us whose knowledge is a trifle wider are not prepared to say that the desire is universal or even general. If the devout Buddhist, for […]

Religion

Story type: Essay

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I. This is my ultimate and determining test of right–“What, in the circumstances, would Christ have done?”–the Christ of the New Testament, not the Christ of the commentators, theologians, priests and parsons. The test is perhaps not infallible, but it is exceedingly simple and gives as good practical results as any. I am not a […]

I. “DOWN with the gallows!” is a cry not unfamiliar in America. There is always a movement afoot to make odious the just principle of “a life for a life”–to represent it as “a relic of barbarism,” “a usurpation of the divine authority,” and the rotten rest of it The law making murder punishable by […]

Charity

Story type: Essay

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THE promoter of organized charity protests against “the wasteful and mischievous method of undirected relief.” He means, naturally, relief that is not directed by somebody else than the person giving it–undirected by him and his kind–professional almoners–philanthropists who deem it more blessed to allot than to bestow. Indubitably much is wasted and some mischief done […]

Opportunity

Story type: Essay

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THIS is not a country of equal fortunes; outside a Socialist’s dream no such country exists or can exist. But as nearly as possible this is a country of equal opportunities for those who begin life with nothing but nature’s endowments–and of such is the kingdom of success. In nine instances in ten successful Americans–that […]

EMANCIPATION of woman is not of American invention. The “movement,” like most others that are truly momentous, originated in Europe, and has broken through and broken down more formidable barriers of law, custom and tradition there than here. It is not true that the English married woman is “virtually a bondwoman” to her husband; that […]

WHAT I should like to know is, how “the enlargement of woman’s sphere” by entrance into the various activities of commercial, professional and industrial life benefits the sex. It may please Helen Gougar and satisfy her sense of logical accuracy to say, as she does: “We women must work in order to fill the places […]

OF ALL anachronisms and survivals, the love of the dog; is the most reasonless. Because, some thousands of years ago, when we wore other skins than our own and sat enthroned upon our haunches, tearing tangles of tendons from raw bones with our teeth, the dog ministered purveyorwise to our savage needs, we go on […]

AN AMERICAN newspaper holds this opinion: “If republican government had done nothing else than give independence to American character and preserve it from the servility inseparable from the allegiance to kings, it would have accomplished a great work.” I do not doubt that the writer of that sentence believes that republican government has actually wrought […]

A WELL-KNOWN citizen of Ohio once discovered another man of the same name exactly resembling him, and writing a “hand” which, including the signature, he was unable to distinguish from his own. The two men were unable to discover any blood relationship between them. It is nevertheless almost absolutely certain that a relationship existed, though […]

ALL kinds of relief, charitable or other, doubtless tend to perpetuation of pauperism, inasmuch as paupers are thereby kept alive; and living paupers unquestionably propagate their unthrifty kind more abundantly than dead ones. It is not true, though, that relief interferes with Nature’s beneficent law of the survival of the fittest, for the power to […]

A PERSON who loses heart and hope through a personal bereavement is like a grain of sand on the seashore complaining that the tide has washed a neighboring grain out of reach. He is worse, for the bereaved grain cannot help itself; it has to be a grain of sand and play the game of […]

1909 AIMS AND THE PLAN The author’s main purpose in this book is to teach precision in writing; and of good writing (which, essentially, is clear thinking made visible) precision is the point of capital concern. It is attained by choice of the word that accurately and adequately expresses what the writer has in mind, […]

A Social Call

Story type: Poetry

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Well, well, old Father Christmas, is it you, With your thick neck and thin pretense of virtue? Less redness in the nose–nay, even some blue Would not, I think, particularly hurt you. When seen close to, not mounted in your car, You look the drunkard and the pig you are. No matter, sit you down, […]

Again

Story type: Poetry

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Well, I’ve met her again–at the Mission. She’d told me to see her no more; It was not a command–a petition; I’d granted it once before. Yes, granted it, hoping she’d write me. Repenting her virtuous freak– Subdued myself daily and nightly For the better part of a week. And then (’twas my duty to […]

Homo Podunkensis

Story type: Poetry

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As the poor ass that from his paddock strays Might sound abroad his field-companions’ praise, Recounting volubly their well-bred leer, Their port impressive and their wealth of ear, Mistaking for the world’s assent the clang Of echoes mocking his accurst harangue; So the dull clown, untraveled though at large, Visits the city on the ocean’s […]

Haec Fabula Docet

Story type: Poetry

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A rat who’d gorged a box of bane And suffered an internal pain, Came from his hole to die (the label Required it if the rat were able) And found outside his habitat A limpid stream. Of bane and rat ‘T was all unconscious; in the sun It ran and prattled just for fun. Keen […]

Exoneration

Story type: Poetry

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When men at candidacy don’t connive, From that suspicion if their friends would free ’em, The teeth and nails with which they did not strive Should be exhibited in a museum.

Azrael

Story type: Poetry

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The moon in the field of the keel-plowed main Was watching the growing tide: A luminous peasant was driving his wain, And he offered my soul a ride. But I nourished a sorrow uncommonly tall, And I fixed him fast with mine eye. “O, peasant,” I sang with a dying fall, “Go leave me to […]

A Wet Season

Story type: Poetry

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Horas non numero nisi serenas. The rain is fierce, it flogs the earth, And man’s in danger. O that my mother at my birth Had borne a stranger! The flooded ground is all around. The depth uncommon. How blest I’d be if only she Had borne a salmon. If still denied the solar glow ‘T […]

Tut-tut! give back the flags–how can you care You veterans and heroes? Why should you at a kind intention swear Like twenty Neroes? Suppose the act was not so overwise– Suppose it was illegal– Is ‘t well on such a question to arise And pinch the Eagle? Nay, let’s economize his breath to scold And […]

Says England to Germany: “Africa’s ours.” Says Germany: “Ours, I opine.” Says Africa: “Tell me, delectable Pow’rs, What is it that ought to be mine?”

A man born blind received his sight By a painful operation; And these are things he saw in the light Of an infant observation. He saw a merchant, good and wise. And greatly, too, respected, Who looked, to those imperfect eyes, Like a swindler undetected. He saw a patriot address A noisy public meeting. And […]

A Nightmare

Story type: Poetry

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I dreamed that I was dead. The years went by: The world forgot that such a man as I Had ever lived and written: other names Were hailed with homage, in their turn to die. Out of my grave a giant beech upgrew. Its roots transpierced my body, through and through, My substance fed its […]

One President

Story type: Poetry

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“What are those, father?” “Statesmen, my child– Lacrymose, unparliamentary, wild.” “What are they that way for, father?” “Last fall, ‘Our candidate’s better,’ they said, ‘than all!’” “What did they say he was, father?” “A man Built on a straight incorruptible plan– Believing that none for an office would do Unless he were honest and capable […]

“What’s in the paper?” Oh, it’s dev’lish dull: There’s nothing happening at all–a lull After the war-storm. Mr. Someone’s wife Killed by her lover with, I think, a knife. A fire on Blank Street and some babies–one, Two, three or four, I don’t remember, done To quite a delicate and lovely brown. A husband shot […]

In The Binnacle

Story type: Poetry

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[The Church possesses the unerring compass whose needle points directly and persistently to the star of the eternal law of God.–Religious Weekly.] The Church’s compass, if you please, Has two or three (or more) degrees Of variation; And many a soul has gone to grief On this or that or t’other reef Through faith unreckoning […]

Dies Irae

Story type: Poetry

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A recent republication of the late Gen. John A. Dix’s disappointing translation of this famous medieval hymn, together with some researches into its history which I happened to be making at the time, induces me to undertake a translation myself. It may seem presumption in me to attempt that which so many eminent scholars of […]

The Day Of Wrath

Story type: Poetry

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Day of Satan’s painful duty! Earth shall vanish, hot and sooty; So says Virtue, so says Beauty. Ah! what terror shall be shaping When the Judge the truth’s undraping! Cats from every bag escaping! Now the trumpet’s invocation Calls the dead to condemnation; All receive an invitation. Death and Nature now are quaking, And the […]

See, Lord, fanatics all arrayed For revolution! To foil their villainous crusade Unsheathe again the sacred blade Of persecution. What though through long disuse ‘t is grown A trifle rusty? ‘Gainst modern heresy, whose bone Is rotten, and the flesh fly-blown, It still is trusty. Of sterner stuff thine ancient foes, Unapprehensive, Sprang forth to […]

Fallen

Story type: Poetry

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O, hadst thou died when thou wert great, When at thy feet a nation knelt To sob the gratitude it felt And thank the Saviour of the State, Gods might have envied thee thy fate! Then was the laurel round thy brow, And friend and foe spoke praise of thee, While all our hearts sang […]

Cooperation

Story type: Poetry

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No more the swindler singly seeks his prey; To hunt in couples is the modern way– A rascal, from the public to purloin, An honest man to hide away the coin.

An Apologue

Story type: Poetry

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A traveler observed one day A loaded fruit-tree by the way. And reining in his horse exclaimed: “The man is greatly to be blamed Who, careless of good morals, leaves Temptation in the way of thieves. Now lest some villain pass this way And by this fruit be led astray To bag it, I will […]

Diagnosis

Story type: Poetry

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Cried Allen Forman: “Doctor, pray Compose my spirits’ strife: O what may be my chances, say, Of living all my life? “For lately I have dreamed of high And hempen dissolution! O doctor, doctor, how can I Amend my constitution?” The learned leech replied: “You’re young And beautiful and strong– Permit me to inspect your […]

Affronting fool, subdue your transient light; When Wisdom’s dull dares Folly to be bright: If Genius stumble in the path to fame, ‘Tis decency in dunces to go lame.

The Yearly Lie

Story type: Poetry

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A merry Christmas? Prudent, as I live!– You wish me something that you need not give. Merry or sad, what does it signify? To you ‘t is equal if I laugh, or die. Your hollow greeting, like a parrot’s jest, Finds all its meaning in the ear addressed. Why “merry” Christmas? Faith, I’d rather frown […]

The Glad New Year

Story type: Literature

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(Note: Dod Grile is pseudonym of Ambrose Bierce.) A poor brokendown drunkard returned to his dilapidated domicile early on New Year’s morn. The great bells of the churches were jarring the creamy moonlight which lay above the soggy undercrust of mud and snow. As he heard their joyous peals, announcing the birth of a new […]

"One More Unfortunate"

Story type: Literature

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It was midnight-a black, wet, midnight-in a great city by the sea. The church clocks were booming the hour, in tones half-smothered by the marching rain, when an officer of the watch saw a female figure glide past him like a ghost in the gloom, and make directly toward a wharf. The officer felt that […]

The Heels Of Her

Story type: Literature

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(Note: Dod Grile is pseudonym of Ambrose Bierce.) Passing down Commercial-street one fine day, I observed a lady standing alone in the middle of the sidewalk, with no obvious business there, but with apparently no intention of going on. She was outwardly very calm, and seemed at first glance to be lost in some serene […]

Current Journalings

Story type: Literature

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(Note: Dod Grile is pseudonym of Ambrose Bierce.) … Following is the manner of death incurred by Dr. Deadwood, the celebrated African explorer, which took place at Ujijijijiji, under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society of England, assisted, at some distance, by Mr. Shandy of the New York Herald;– An intelligent gorilla has recently […]

(Note: Dod Grile is pseudonym of Ambrose Bierce.) …. Seated in his den, in the chill gloom of a winter twilight, comforting his stomach with hoarded bits of cheese and broad biscuits, Mr. Grile thinketh unto himself after this fashion of thought: I. To eat biscuits and cheese before dining is to confess that you […]

The King Of Bores

Story type: Poetry

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Abundant bores afflict this world, and some Are bores of magnitude that-come and–no, They’re always coming, but they never go– Like funeral pageants, as they drone and hum Their lurid nonsense like a muffled drum, Or bagpipe’s dread unnecessary flow. But one superb tormentor I can show– Prince Fiddlefaddle, Duc de Feefawfum. He the johndonkey […]

You ‘re grayer than one would have thought you: The climate you have over there In the East has apparently brought you Disorders affecting the hair, Which–pardon me–seems a thought spare. You’ll not take offence at my giving Expression to notions like these. You might have been stronger if living Out here in our sanative […]

With a Methodist hymn in his musical throat, The Sun was emitting his ultimate note; His quivering larynx enwrinkled the sea Like an Ichthyosaurian blowing his tea; When sweetly and pensively rattled and rang This plaint which an Hippopopotamus sang: “O, Camomile, Calabash, Cartilage-pie, Spread for my spirit a peppermint fry; Crown me with doughnuts, […]

God’s people sorely were oppressed, I heard their lamentations long;– I hear their singing, clear and strong, I see their banners in the West! The captains shout the battle-cry, The legions muster in their might; They turn their faces to the light, They lift their arms, they testify: “We sank beneath the Master’s thong, Our […]

One Morning

Story type: Poetry

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Because that I am weak, my love, and ill, I cannot follow the impatient feet Of my desire, but sit and watch the beat Of the unpitying pendulum fulfill The hour appointed for the air to thrill And brighten at your coming. O my sweet, The tale of moments is at last complete– The tryst […]

Stephen J. Field

Story type: Poetry

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Here sleeps one of the greatest students Of jurisprudence. Nature endowed him with the gift Of the juristhrift. All points of law alike he threw The dice to settle. Those honest cubes were loaded true With railway metal.

Thy flesh to earth, thy soul to God, We gave, O gallant brother; And o’er thy grave the awkward squad Fired into one another! Beneath this monument which rears its head. A giant note of admiration–dead, His life extinguished like a taper’s flame. John Ericsson is lying in his fame. Behold how massive is the […]

Stephen Dorsey

Story type: Poetry

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Fly, heedless stranger, from this spot accurst, Where rests in Satan an offender first In point of greatness, as in point of time, Of new-school rascals who proclaim their crime. Skilled with a frank loquacity to blab The dark arcana of each mighty grab, And famed for lying from his early youth, He sinned secure […]

A Guest

Story type: Poetry

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Death, are you well? I trust you have no cough That’s painful or in any way annoying– No kidney trouble that may carry you off, Or heart disease to keep you from enjoying Your meals–and ours. ‘T were very sad indeed To have to quit the busy life you lead. You’ve been quite active lately […]

A False Prophecy

Story type: Poetry

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Dom Pedro, Emperor of far Brazil (Whence coffee comes and the three-cornered nut), They say that you’re imperially ill, And threatened with paralysis. Tut-tut! Though Emperors are mortal, nothing but A nimble thunderbolt could catch and kill A man predestined to depart this life By the assassin’s bullet, bomb or knife. Sir, once there was […]

Looking across the line, the Grecian said: “This border I will stain a Turkey red.” The Moslem smiled securely and replied: “No Greek has ever for his country dyed.” While thus each patriot guarded his frontier, The Powers stole all the country in his rear.

Observe, dear Lord, what lively pranks Are played by sentimental cranks! First this one mounts his hinder hoofs And brays the chimneys off the roofs; Then that one, with exalted voice, Expounds the thesis of his choice, Our understandings to bombard, Till all the window panes are starred! A third augments the vocal shock Till […]

An Imposter

Story type: Poetry

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Must you, Carnegie, evermore explain Your worth, and all the reasons give again Why black and red are similarly white, And you and God identically right? Still must our ears without redress submit To hear you play the solemn hypocrite Walking in spirit some high moral level, Raising at once his eye-balls and the devil? […]

Unexpounded

Story type: Poetry

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On Evidence, on Deeds, on Bills, On Copyhold, on Loans, on Wills, Lawyers great books indite; The creaking of their busy quills I’ve never heard on Right.

Two Methods

Story type: Poetry

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To bucks and ewes by the Good Shepherd fed The Priest delivers masses for the dead, And even from estrays outside the fold Death for the masses he would not withhold. The Parson, loth alike to free or kill, Forsakes the souls already on the grill, And, God’s prerogative of mercy shamming, Spares living sinners […]

Detected

Story type: Poetry

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In Congress once great Mowther shone, Debating weighty matters; Now into an asylum thrown, He vacuously chatters. If in that legislative hall His wisdom still he ‘d vented, It never had been known at all That Mowther was demented.

Bimetalism

Story type: Poetry

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Ben Bulger was a silver man, Though not a mine had he: He thought it were a noble plan To make the coinage free. “There hain’t for years been sech a time,” Said Ben to his bull pup, “For biz–the country’s broke and I’m The hardest kind of up. “The paper says that that’s because […]

The Rich Testator

Story type: Poetry

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He lay on his bed and solemnly “signed,” Gasping–perhaps ’twas a jest he meant: “This of a sound and disposing mind Is the last ill-will and contestament.”

“By good men’s prayers see Grant restored!” Shouts Talmage, pious creature! Yes, God, by supplication bored From every droning preacher, Exclaimed: “So be it, tiresome crew– But I’ve a crow to pick with you.”

He looked upon the ships as they All idly lay at anchor, Their sides with gorgeous workmen gay– The riveter and planker– Republicans and Democrats, Statesmen and politicians. He saw the swarm of prudent rats Swimming for land positions. He marked each “belted cruiser” fine, Her poddy life-belts floating In tether where the hungry brine […]

A famous conqueror, in battle brave, Who robbed the cradle to supply the grave. His reign laid quantities of human dust: He fell upon the just and the unjust.

A Pickbrain

Story type: Poetry

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What! imitate me, friend? Suppose that you With agony and difficulty do What I do easily–what then? You’ve got A style I heartily wish I had not. If I from lack of sense and you from choice Grieve the judicious and the unwise rejoice, No equal censure our deserts will suit– We both are fools, […]

Lusus Politicus

Story type: Poetry

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Come in, old gentleman. How do you do? Delighted, I’m sure, that you’ve called. I’m a sociable sort of a chap and you Are a pleasant-appearing person, too, With a head agreeably bald. That’s right–sit down in the scuttle of coal And put up your feet in a chair. It is better to have them […]

An Augury

Story type: Poetry

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Upon my desk a single spray, With starry blossoms fraught. I write in many an idle way, Thinking one serious thought. “O flowers, a fine Greek name ye bear, And with a fine Greek grace.” Be still, O heart, that turns to share The sunshine of a face. “Have ye no messages–no brief, Still sign: […]

Down in Southern Arizona where the Gila monster thrives, And the “Mescalero,” gifted with a hundred thousand lives, Every hour renounces one of them by drinking liquid flame– The assassinating wassail that has given him his name; Where the enterprising dealer in Caucasian hair is seen To hold his harvest festival upon his village-green, While […]

A Builder

Story type: Poetry

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I saw the devil–he was working free: A customs-house he builded by the sea. “Why do you this?” The devil raised his head; “Churches and courts I’ve built enough,” he said.

Woman In Politics

Story type: Poetry

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What, madam, run for School Director? You? And want my vote and influence? Well, well, That beats me! Gad! where are we drifting to? In all my life I never have heard tell Of such sublime presumption, and I smell A nigger in the fence! Excuse me, madam; We statesmen sometimes speak like the old […]

To An Aspirant

Story type: Poetry

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What! you a Senator–you, Mike de Young? Still reeking of the gutter whence you sprung? Sir, if all Senators were such as you, Their hands so crimson and so slender, too,– (Shaped to the pocket for commercial work, For literary, fitted to the dirk)– So black their hearts, so lily-white their livers, The toga’s touch […]

A Bulletin

Story type: Poetry

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“Lothario is very low,” So all the doctors tell. Nay, nay, not so–he will be, though, If ever he get well.

Re-Edified

Story type: Poetry

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Lord of the tempest, pray refrain From leveling this church again. Now in its doom, as so you’ve willed it, We acquiesce. But you’ll rebuild it.

In Contumaciam

Story type: Poetry

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Och! Father McGlynn, Ye appear to be in Fer a bit of a bout wid the Pope; An’ there’s divil a doubt But he’s knockin’ ye out While ye’re hangin’ onto the rope. An’ soon ye’ll lave home To thravel to Rome, For its bound to Canossa ye are. Persistin’ to shtay When ye’re ordered […]

Revenge

Story type: Poetry

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A spitcat sate on a garden gate And a snapdog fared beneath; Careless and free was his mien, and he Held a fiddle-string in his teeth. She marked his march, she wrought an arch Of her back and blew up her tail; And her eyes were green as ever were seen, And she uttered a […]

When Adam first saw Eve he said: “O lovely creature, share my bed.” Before consenting, she her gaze Fixed on the greensward to appraise, As well as vision could avouch, The value of the proffered couch. And seeing that the grass was green And neatly clipped with a machine– Observing that the flow’rs were rare […]

An Example

Story type: Poetry

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They were two deaf mutes, and they loved and they Resolved to be groom and bride; And they listened to nothing that any could say, Nor ever a word replied. From wedlock when warned by the married men, Maintain an invincible mind: Be deaf and dumb until wedded–and then Be deaf and dumb and blind.

Francine

Story type: Poetry

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Did I believe the angels soon would call You, my beloved, to the other shore, And I should never see you any more, I love you so I know that I should fall Into dejection utterly, and all Love’s pretty pageantry, wherein we bore Twin banners bravely in the tumult’s fore, Would seem as shadows […]

In High Life

Story type: Poetry

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Sir Impycu Lackland, from over the sea, Has led to the altar Miss Bloatie Bondee. The wedding took place at the Church of St. Blare; The fashion, the rank and the wealth were all there– No person was absent of all whom one meets. Lord Mammon himself bowed them into their seats, While good Sir […]

A Bubble

Story type: Poetry

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Mrs. Mehitable Marcia Moore Was a dame of superior mind, With a gown which, modestly fitting before, Was greatly puffed up behind. The bustle she wore was ingeniously planned With an inspiration bright: It magnified seven diameters and Was remarkably nice and light. It was made of rubber and edged with lace And riveted all […]

A Rendezvous

Story type: Poetry

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Nightly I put up this humble petition: “Forgive me, O Father of Glories, My sins of commission, my sins of omission, My sins of the Mission Dolores.”

Judgment

Story type: Poetry

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I drew aside the Future’s veil And saw upon his bier The poet Whitman. Loud the wail And damp the falling tear. “He’s dead–he is no more!” one cried, With sobs of sorrow crammed; “No more? He’s this much more,” replied Another: “he is damned!” 1885.

Hear me sing of Sally Larkin who, I’d have you understand, Played accordions as well as any lady in the land; And I’ve often heard it stated that her fingering was such That Professor Schweinenhauer was enchanted with her touch; And that beasts were so affected when her apparatus rang That they dropped upon their […]

A Whipper-In

Story type: Poetry

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[Commissioner of Pensions Dudley has established a Sunday-school and declares he will remove any clerk in his department who does not regularly attend.–N.Y. World.] Dudley, great placeman, man of mark and note, Worthy of honor from a feeble pen Blunted in service of all true, good men, You serve the Lord–in courses, table d’hote: Au, […]

Saint Peter at the gate of Heaven displayed The tools and terrors of his awful trade; The key, the frown as pitiless as night, That slays intending trespassers at sight, And, at his side in easy reach, the curled Interrogation points all ready to be hurled. Straight up the shining cloudway (it so chanced No […]

For Tat

Story type: Poetry

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O, heavenly powers! will wonders never cease?– Hair upon dogs and feathers upon geese! The boys in mischief and the pigs in mire! The drinking water wet! the coal on fire! In meadows, rivulets surpassing fair, Forever running, yet forever there! A tail appended to the gray baboon! A person coming out of a saloon! […]

A Dilemma

Story type: Poetry

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Filled with a zeal to serve my fellow men, For years I criticised their prose and verges: Pointed out all their blunders of the pen, Their shallowness of thought and feeling; then Damned them up hill and down with hearty curses! They said: “That’s all that he can do–just sneer, And pull to pieces and […]

Once with Christ he entered Salem, Once in Moab bullied Balaam, Once by Apuleius staged He the pious much enraged. And, again, his head, as beaver, Topped the neck of Nick the Weaver. Omar saw him (minus tether– Free and wanton as the weather: Knowing naught of bit or spur) Stamping over Bahram-Gur. Now, as […]

The Lost Colonel

Story type: Poetry

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“‘Tis a woeful yarn,” said the sailor man bold Who had sailed the northern-lakes– “No woefuler one has ever been told Exceptin’ them called ‘fakes.’” “Go on, thou son of the wind and fog, For I burn to know the worst!” But his silent lip in a glass of grog Was dreamily immersed. Then he […]

A Serenade

Story type: Poetry

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“Sas agapo sas agapo,” He sang beneath her lattice. “‘Sas agapo’?” she murmured–“O, I wonder, now, what that is!” Was she less fair that she did bear So light a load of knowledge? Are loving looks got out of books, Or kisses taught in college? Of woman’s lore give me no more Than how to […]

The Wise And Good

Story type: Poetry

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“O father, I saw at the church as I passed The populace gathered in numbers so vast That they couldn’t get in; and their voices were low, And they looked as if suffering terrible woe.” “‘Twas the funeral, child, of a gentleman dead For whom the great heart of humanity bled.” “What made it bleed, […]

His poems Riley says that he indites Upon an empty stomach. Heavenly Powers, Feed him throat-full: for what the beggar writes Upon his empty stomach empties ours!

A Welcome

Story type: Poetry

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Because you call yourself Knights Templar, and There’s neither Knight nor Temple in the land,– Because you thus by vain pretense degrade To paltry purposes traditions grand,– Because to cheat the ignorant you say The thing that’s not, elated still to sway The crass credulity of gaping fools And women by fantastical display,– Because no […]

A Writer of Fables was passing through a lonely forest when he met a Fortune. Greatly alarmed, he tried to climb a tree, but the Fortune pulled him down and bestowed itself upon him with cruel persistence. “Why did you try to run away?” said the Fortune, when his struggles had ceased and his screams […]

A Public-Spirited Citizen who had failed miserably in trying to secure a National political convention for his city suffered acutely from dejection. While in that frame of mind he leaned thoughtlessly against a druggist’s show-window, wherein were one hundred and fifty kinds of assorted snakes. The glass breaking, the reptiles all escaped into the street. […]

The Boneless King

Story type: Literature

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Some Apes who had deposed their king fell at once into dissension and anarchy. In this strait they sent a Deputation to a neighbouring tribe to consult the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the World. “My children,” said the Oldest and Wisest Ape in All the World, when he had heard the Deputation, “you […]

Philosophers Three

Story type: Literature

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A Bear, a Fox, and an Opossum were attacked by an inundation. “Death loves a coward,” said the Bear, and went forward to fight the flood. “What a fool!” said the Fox. “I know a trick worth two of that.” And he slipped into a hollow stump. “There are malevolent forces,” said the Opossum, “which […]

A Transposition

Story type: Literature

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Travelling through the sage-brush country a Jackass met a rabbit, who exclaimed in great astonishment: “Good heavens! how did you grow so big? You are doubtless the largest rabbit living.” “No,” said the Jackass, “you are the smallest donkey.” After a good deal of fruitless argument the question was referred for decision to a passing […]

Uncalculating Zeal

Story type: Literature

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A Man-Eating tiger was ravaging the Kingdom of Damnasia, and the King, greatly concerned for the lives and limbs of his Royal subjects, promised his daughter Zodroulra to any man who would kill the animal. After some days Camaraladdin appeared before the King and claimed the reward. “But where is the tiger?” the King asked. […]

A Smiling Idol

Story type: Literature

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An Idol said to a Missionary, “My friend, why do you seek to bring me into contempt? If it had not been for me, what would you have been? Remember thy creator that thy days be long in the land.” “I confess,” replied the Missionary, fingering a number of ten-cent pieces which a Sunday-school in […]

Wasted Sweets

Story type: Literature

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A Candidate canvassing his district met a Nurse wheeling a Baby in a carriage, and, stooping, imprinted a kiss upon the Baby’s clammy muzzle. Rising, he saw a Man, who laughed. “Why do you laugh?” asked the Candidate. “Because,” replied the Man, “the Baby belongs to the Orphan Asylum.” “But the Nurse,” said the Candidate–“the […]

A Creaking Tail

Story type: Literature

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An American Statesman who had twisted the tail of the British Lion until his arms ached was at last rewarded by a sharp, rasping sound. “I knew your fortitude would give out after a while,” said the American Statesman, delighted; “your agony attests my political power.” “Agony I know not!” said the British Lion, yawning; […]

The Honest Citizen

Story type: Literature

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A Political Preferment, labelled with its price, was canvassing the State to find a purchaser. One day it offered itself to a Truly Good Man, who, after examining the label and finding the price was exactly twice as great as he was willing to pay, spurned the Political Preferment from his door. Then the People […]

The Fogy And The Sheik

Story type: Literature

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A Fogy who lived in a cave near a great caravan route returned to his home one day and saw, near by, a great concourse of men and animals, and in their midst a tower, at the foot of which something with wheels smoked and panted like an exhausted horse. He sought the Sheik of […]

Six And One

Story type: Literature

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The Committee on Gerrymander worked late, drawing intricate lines on a map of the State, and being weary sought repose in a game of poker. At the close of the game the six Republican members were bankrupt and the single Democrat had all the money. On the next day, when the Committee was called to […]

A Sportsman who had wounded a Squirrel, which was making desperate efforts to drag itself away, ran after it with a stick, exclaiming: “Poor thing! I will put it out of its misery.” At that moment the Squirrels stopped from exhaustion, and looking up at its enemy, said: “I don’t venture to doubt the sincerity […]

The Catted Anarchist

Story type: Literature

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An Anarchist Orator who had been struck in the face with a Dead Cat by some Respector of Law to him unknown, had the Dead Cat arrested and taken before a Magistrate. “Why do you appeal to the law?” said the Magistrate–“You who go in for the abolition of law.” “That,” replied the Anarchist, who […]

At Heaven’s Gate

Story type: Literature

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Having arisen from the tomb, a Woman presented herself at the gate of Heaven, and knocked with a trembling hand. “Madam,” said Saint Peter, rising and approaching the wicket, “whence do you come?” “From San Francisco,” replied the Woman, with embarrassment, as great beads of perspiration spangled her spiritual brow. “Never mind, my good girl,” […]

An Inadequate Fee

Story type: Literature

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An Ox, unable to extricate himself from the mire into which he sank, was advised to make use of a Political Pull. When the Political Pull had arrived, the Ox said: “My good friend, please make fast to me, and let nature take her course.” So the Political Pull made fast to the Ox’s head […]

The Expatriated Boss

Story type: Literature

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A Boss who had gone to Canada was taunted by a Citizen of Montreal with having fled to avoid prosecution. “You do me a grave injustice,” said the Boss, parting with a pair of tears. “I came to Canada solely because of its political attractions; its Government is the most corrupt in the world.” “Pray […]

Hearing that the Legislature had adjourned, the people of an Assembly District held a mass-meeting to devise a suitable punishment for their representative. By one speaker it was proposed that he be disembowelled, by another that he be made to run the gauntlet. Some favoured hanging, some thought that it would do him good to […]

A Man of Experience in Business was awaiting the judgment of the Court in an action for damages which he had brought against a railway company. The door opened and the Judge of the Court entered. “Well,” said he, “I am going to decide your case to-day. If I should decide in your favour, I […]

The Honourable Member

Story type: Literature

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A Member of a Legislature, who had pledged himself to his Constituents not to steal, brought home at the end of the session a large part of the dome of the Capitol. Thereupon the Constituents held an indignation meeting and passed a resolution of tar and feathers. “You are most unjust,” said the Member of […]

A Statesman

Story type: Literature

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A Statesman who attended a meeting of a Chamber of Commerce rose to speak, but was objected to on the ground that he had nothing to do with commerce. “Mr. Chairman,” said an Aged Member, rising, “I conceive that the objection is not well taken; the gentleman’s connection with commerce is close and intimate. He […]

Three Recruits

Story type: Literature

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A Farmer, an Artisan, and a Labourer went to the King of their country and complained that they were compelled to support a large standing army of mere consumers, who did nothing for their keep. “Very well,” said the King, “my subjects’ wishes are the highest law.” So he disbanded his army and the consumers […]

Two Dogs

Story type: Literature

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The Dog, as created, had a rigid tail, but after some centuries of a cheerless existence, unappreciated by Man, who made him work for his living, he implored the Creator to endow him with a wag. This being done he was able to dissemble his resentment with a sign of affection, and the earth was […]

The Mirror

Story type: Literature

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A Silken-Eared Spaniel, who traced his descent from King Charles the Second of England, chanced to look into a mirror which was leaning against the wainscoting of a room on the ground floor of his mistress’s house. Seeing his reflection, he supposed it to be another dog, outside, and said: “I can chew up any […]

An Antidote

Story type: Literature

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A Young Ostrich came to its Mother, groaning with pain and with its wings tightly crossed upon its stomach. “What have you been eating?” the Mother asked, with solicitude. “Nothing but a keg of Nails,” was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Mother; “a whole keg of Nails, at your age! Why, you will kill yourself […]

Saint And Sinner

Story type: Literature

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“My friend,” said a distinguished officer of the Salvation Army, to a Most Wicked Sinner, “I was once a drunkard, a thief, an assassin. The Divine Grace has made me what I am.” The Most Wicked Sinner looked at him from head to foot. “Henceforth,” he said, “the Divine Grace, I fancy, will let well […]

A Weary Echo

Story type: Literature

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A Convention of female writers, which for two days had been stuffing Woman’s couch with goose-quills and hailing the down of a new era, adjourned with unabated enthusiasm, shouting, “Place aux dames!” And Echo wearily replied, “Oh, damn.”

An Inventor went to a King and was granted an audience, when the following conversation ensued: Inventor.–“May it please your Majesty, I have invented a rifle that discharges lightning.” King.–“Ah, you wish to sell me the secret.” Inventor.–“Yes; it will enable your army to overrun any nation that is accessible.” King.–“In order to get any […]

A Talisman

Story type: Literature

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Having been summoned to serve as a juror, a Prominent Citizen sent a physician’s certificate stating that he was afflicted with softening of the brain. “The gentleman is excused,” said the Judge, handing back the certificate to the person who had brought it, “he has a brain.”

The Ancient Order

Story type: Literature

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Hardly had that ancient order, the Sultans of Exceeding Splendour, been completely founded by the Grand Flashing Inaccessible, when a question arose as to what should be the title of address among the members. Some wanted it to be simply “my Lord,” others held out for “your Dukeness,” and still others preferred “my Sovereign Liege.” […]

The Massacre

Story type: Literature

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Some Holy Missionaries in China having been deprived of life by the Bigoted Heathens, the Christian Press made a note of it, and was greatly pained to point out the contrast between the Bigoted Heathens and the law- abiding countrymen of the Holy Missionaries who had wickedly been sent to eternal bliss. “Yes,” assented a […]

A Fatal Disorder

Story type: Literature

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A Dying Man who had been shot was requested by officers of the law to make a statement, and be quick about it. “You were assaulted without provocation, of course,” said the District Attorney, preparing to set down the answer. “No,” replied the Dying Man, “I was the aggressor.” “Yes, I understand,” said the District […]

An eminent Justice of the Supreme Court of Patagascar was accused of having obtained his appointment by fraud. “You wander,” he said to the Accuser; “it is of little importance how I obtained my power; it is only important how I have used it.” “I confess,” said the Accuser, “that in comparison with the rascally […]

Congress And The People

Story type: Literature

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Successive Congresses having greatly impoverished the People, they were discouraged and wept copiously. “Why do you weep?” inquired an Angel who had perched upon a fence near by. “They have taken all we have,” replied the People–“excepting,” they added, noting the suggestive visitant–“excepting our hope in heaven. Thank God, they cannot deprive us of that!” […]

A Ship And A Man

Story type: Literature

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Seeing a ship sailing by upon the sea of politics, an Ambitious Person started in hot pursuit along the strand; but the people’s eyes being fixed upon the Presidency no one observed the pursuer. This greatly annoyed him, and recollecting that he was not aquatic, he stopped and shouted across the waves’ tumultous roar: “Take […]

A Highwayman confronted a Traveller, and covering him with a firearm, shouted: “Your money or your life!” “My good friend,” said the Traveller, “according to the terms of your demand my money will save my life, my life my money; you imply you will take one or the other, but not both. If that is […]

On Stone

Story type: Poetry

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As in a dream, strange epitaphs I see, Inscribed on yet unquarried stone, Where wither flowers yet unstrown– The Campo Santo of the time to be.

LORING PICKERING (After Pope) Here rests a writer, great but not immense, Born destitute of feeling and of sense. No power he but o’er his brain desired– How not to suffer it to be inspired. Ideas unto him were all unknown, Proud of the words which, only, were his own. So unreflecting, so confused his […]

A Bad Night

Story type: Poetry

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE. VILLIAM a Sen NEEDLESON a Sidniduc SMILER a Scheister KI-YI a Trader GRIMGHAST a Spader SARALTHIA a Love-lorn Nymph NELLIBRAC a Sweetun A BODY; A GHOST; AN UNMENTIONABLE THING; SKULLS; HOODOOS; ETC. Scene–a Cemetery in San Francisco. Saralthia, Nellibrac, Grimghast. SARALTHIA: The red half-moon is dipping to the west, And the cold fog […]

DRAMATIS PERSONAE LELAND, THE KID a Road Agent COWBOY CHARLEY Same Line of Business HAPPY HUNTY Ditto in All Respects SOOTYMUG a Devil Scene–the Dutch Flat Stage Road, at 12 P.M., on a Night of 1864. COWBOY CHARLEY: My boss, I fear she is delayed to-night. Already it is past the hour, and yet My […]

Aspirants Three

Story type: Poetry

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE. QUICK: DE YOUNG a Brother to Mushrooms DEAD: SWIFT an Heirloom ESTEE a Relic IMMORTALS: THE SPIRIT OF BROKEN HOPES. THE AUTHOR. MISCELLANEOUS: A TROUPE OF COFFINS. THE MOON. VARIOUS COLORED FIRES. Scene–The Political Graveyard at Bone Mountain. DE YOUNG: This is the spot agreed upon. Here rest The sainted statesman who upon […]

Slickens

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE. HAYSEED a Granger NOZZLE a Miner RINGDIVVY a Statesman FEEGOBBLE a Lawyer JUNKET a Committee Scene–Yuba Dam. Feegobble, Ringdivvy, Nozzle. NOZZLE: My friends, since ’51 I have pursued The evil tenor of my watery way, Removing hills as by an act of faith– RINGDIVVY: Just so; the steadfast faith of those who hold, […]

DRAMATIS PERSONAE. MOUNTWAVE a Politician HARDHAND a Workingman TOK BAK a Chinaman SATAN a Friend to Mountwave CHORUS OF FOREIGN VOTERS. MOUNTWAVE: My friend, I beg that you will lend your ears (I know ’tis asking a good deal of you) While I for your instruction nominate Some certain wrongs you suffer. Men like you […]

Metempsychosis

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ST. JOHN a Presidential Candidate MCDONALD a Defeated Aspirant MRS. HAYES an Ex-President PITTS-STEVENS a Water Nymph Scene–A Small Lake in the Alleghany Mountains. ST. JOHN: Hours I’ve immersed my muzzle in this tarn And, quaffing copious potations, tried To suck it dry; but ever as I pumped Its waters into my distended […]

The Mummery

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THE TWO CAVEES DRAMATIS PERSONAE. FITCH a Pelter of Railrogues PICKERING his Partner, an Enemy to Sin OLD NICK a General Blackwasher DEAD CAT a Missile ANTIQUE EGG Another RAILROGUES, DUMP-CARTERS. NAVVIES and Unassorted SHOVELRY in the Lower Distance Scene–The Brink of a Railway Cut, a Mile Deep. Time–1875. FITCH: Gods! what a steep declivity! […]

Well, James McMillan Shafter, you’re a Judge– At least you were when last I knew of you; And if the people since have made you budge I did not notice it. I’ve much to do Without endeavoring to follow, through The miserable squabbles, dust and smudge, The fate of even the veteran contenders Who fight […]

A Caller

Story type: Poetry

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“Why, Goldenson, you’re looking very well.” Said Death as, strolling through the County Jail, He entered that serene assassin’s cell And hung his hat and coat upon a nail. “I think that life in this secluded spot Agrees with men of your trade, does it not?” “Well, yes,” said Goldenson, “I can’t complain: Life anywhere–provided […]

A Patter Song

Story type: Poetry

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There was a cranky Governor– His name it wasn’t Waterman. For office he was hotter than The love of any lover, nor Was Boruck’s threat of aiding him Effective in dissuading him– This pig-headed, big-headed, singularly self-conceited Governor Nonwaterman. To citrus fairs, et caetera, He went about philandering, To pride of parish pandering. He knew […]

An Idler

Story type: Poetry

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Who told Creed Haymond he was witty?–who Had nothing better in this world to do? Could no greased pig’s appeal to his embrace Kindle his ardor for the friendly chase? Did no dead dog upon a vacant lot, Bloated and bald, or curdled in a clot, Stir his compassion and inspire his arms To hide […]

[Japan has 73,759 Buddhist priests, “most of whom,” says a Christian missionary, “are grossly ignorant, and many of them lead scandalous lives.”] O Buddha, had you but foreknown The vices of your priesthood It would have made you twist and moan As any wounded beast would. You would have damned the entire lot And turned […]

Ignis Fatuus

Story type: Poetry

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Weep, weep, each loyal partisan, For Buckley, king of hearts; A most accomplished man; a man Of parts–of foreign parts. Long years he ruled with gentle sway, Nor grew his glory dim; And he would be with us to-day If we were but with him. Men wondered at his going off In such a sudden […]

In His Hand

Story type: Poetry

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De Young (in Chicago the story is told) “Took his life in his hand,” like a warrior bold, And stood before Buckley–who thought him behind, For Buckley, the man-eating monster is blind. “Count fairly the ballots!” so rang the demand Of the gallant De Young, with his life in his hand. ‘Tis done, and the […]

To A Stray Dog

Story type: Poetry

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Well, Towser (I’m thinking your name must be Towser), You’re a decentish puppy as puppy dogs go, For you never, I’m sure, could have dined upon trowser, And your tail’s unimpeachably curled just so. But, dear me! your name–if ’tis yours–is a “poser”: Its meaning I cannot get anywise at, When spoken correctly perhaps it […]

A Demagogue

Story type: Poetry

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“Yawp, yawp, yawp! Under the moon and sun. It’s aye the rabble, And I to gabble, And hey! for the tale that is never done. “Chant, chant, chant! To woo the reluctant vote. I would I were dead And my say were said And my song were sung to its ultimate note. “Stab, stab, stab! […]

Great Joseph D. Redding–illustrious name!– Considered a fish-horn the trumpet of Fame. That goddess was angry, and what do you think? Her trumpet she filled with a gallon of ink, And all through the Press, with a devilish glee, She sputtered and spattered the name of J.D.

The Van Nessiad

Story type: Poetry

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From end to end, thine avenue, Van Ness, Rang with the cries of battle and distress! Brave lungs were thundering with dreadful sound And perspiration smoked along the ground! Sing, heavenly muse, to ears of mortal clay, The meaning, cause and finish of the fray. Great Porter Ashe (invoking first the gods, Who signed their […]

The Tail Of The Sphinx

Story type: Literature

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A Dog of a taciturn disposition said to his Tail: “Whenever I am angry, you rise and bristle; when I am pleased, you wag; when I am alarmed, you tuck yourself in out of danger. You are too mercurial–you disclose all my emotions. My notion is that tails are given to conceal thought. It is […]

A Prophet Of Evil

Story type: Literature

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An Undertaker Who Was a Member of a Trust saw a Man Leaning on a Spade, and asked him why he was not at work. “Because,” said the Man Leaning on a Spade, “I belong to the Gravediggers’ National Extortion Society, and we have decided to limit the production of graves and get more money […]

Religions Of Error

Story type: Literature

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Hearing a sound of strife, a Christian in the Orient asked his Dragoman the cause of it. “The Buddhists are cutting Mohammedan throats,” the Dragoman replied, with oriental composure. “I did not know,” remarked the Christian, with scientific interest, “that that would make so much noise.” “The Mohammedans are cutting Buddhist throats, too,” added the […]

The Penitent Elector

Story type: Literature

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A Person belonging to the Society for Passing Resolutions of Respect for the Memory of Deceased Members having died received the customary attention. “Good Heavens!” exclaimed a Sovereign Elector, on hearing the resolutions read, “what a loss to the nation! And to think that I once voted against that angel for Inspector of Gate-latches in […]

The Austere Governor

Story type: Literature

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A Governor visiting a State prison was implored by a Convict to pardon him. “What are you in for?” asked the Governor. “I held a high office,” the Convict humbly replied, “and sold subordinate appointments.” “Then I decline to interfere,” said the Governor, with asperity; “a man who abuses his office by making it serve […]

The Humble Peasant

Story type: Literature

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An Office Seeker whom the President had ordered out of Washington was watering the homeward highway with his tears. “Ah,” he said, “how disastrous is ambition! how unsatisfying its rewards! how terrible its disappointments! Behold yonder peasant tilling his field in peace and contentment! He rises with the lark, passes the day in wholesome toil, […]

The Various Delegation

Story type: Literature

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The King of Wideout having been offered the sovereignty of Wayoff, sent for the Three Persons who had made the offer, and said to them: “I am extremely obliged to you, but before accepting so great a responsibility I must ascertain the sentiments of the people of Wayoff.” “Sire,” said the Spokesman of the Three […]

The Devoted Widow

Story type: Literature

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A Widow weeping on her husband’s grave was approached by an Engaging Gentleman who, in a respectful manner, assured her that he had long entertained for her the most tender feelings. “Wretch!” cried the Widow. “Leave me this instant! Is this a time to talk to me of love?” “I assure you, madam, that I […]

The Hardy Patriots

Story type: Literature

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A Dispenser-Elect of Patronage gave notice through the newspapers that applicants for places would be given none until he should assume the duties of his office. “You are exposing yourself to a grave danger,” said a Lawyer. “How so?” the Dispenser-Elect inquired. “It will be nearly two months,” the Lawyer answered, “before the day that […]

A Gifted and Honourable Editor, who by practice of his profession had acquired wealth and distinction, applied to an Old Friend for the hand of his daughter in marriage. “With all my heart, and God bless you!” said the Old Friend, grasping him by both hands. “It is a greater honour than I had dared […]

The Faithful Cashier

Story type: Literature

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The Cashier of a bank having defaulted was asked by the Directors what he had done with the money taken. “I am greatly surprised by such a question,” said the Cashier; “it sounds as if you suspected me of selfishness. Gentlemen, I applied that money to the purpose for which I took it; I paid […]

The Circular Clew

Story type: Literature

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A Detective searching for the murderer of a dead man was accosted by a Clew. “Follow me,” said the Clew, “and there’s no knowing what you may discover.” So the Detective followed the Clew a whole year through a thousand sinuosities, and at last found himself in the office of the Morgue. “There!” said the […]

The Gallant Crew at a life-saving station were about to launch their life- boat for a spin along the coast when they discovered, but a little distance away, a capsized vessel with a dozen men clinging to her keel. “We are fortunate,” said the Gallant Crew, “to have seen that in time. Our fate might […]

A Treaty Of Peace

Story type: Literature

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Through massacres of each other’s citizens China and the United States had been four times plunged into devastating wars, when, in the year 1994, arose a Philosopher in Madagascar, who laid before the Governments of the two distracted countries the following modus vivendi: “Massacres are to be sternly forbidden as heretofore; but any citizen or […]

A Slander travelling rapidly through the land upon its joyous mission was accosted by a Retraction and commanded to halt and be killed. “Your career of mischief is at an end,” said the Retraction, drawing his club, rolling up his sleeves, and spitting on his hands. “Why should you slay me?” protested the Slander. “Whatever […]

The No Case

Story type: Literature

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A Statesman who had been indicted by an unfeeling Grand Jury was arrested by a Sheriff and thrown into jail. As this was abhorrent to his fine spiritual nature, he sent for the District Attorney and asked that the case against him be dismissed. “Upon what grounds?” asked the District Attorney. “Lack of evidence to […]

A Harmless Visitor

Story type: Literature

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At a meeting of the Golden League of Mystery a Woman was discovered, writing in a note-book. A member directed the attention of the Superb High Chairman to her, and she was asked to explain her presence there, and what she was doing. “I came in for my own pleasure and instruction,” she said, “and […]

A Judge who had for years looked in vain for an opportunity for infamous distinction, but whom no litigant thought worth bribing, sat one day upon the Bench, lamenting his hard lot, and threatening to put an end to his life if business did not improve. Suddenly he found himself confronted by a dreadful figure […]

His Fly-Speck Majesty

Story type: Literature

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A Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions was seen pickling his shins in the ocean. “Why don’t you come out on dry land?” said the Spectator. “What are you in there for?” “Sir,” replied the Distinguished Advocate of Republican Institutions, “a ship is expected, bearing His Majesty the King of the Fly-Speck Islands, and I wish […]

A Forestry Commissioner had just felled a giant tree when, seeing an honest man approaching, he dropped his axe and fled. The next day when he cautiously returned to get his axe, he found the following lines pencilled on the stump: “What nature reared by centuries of toil, A scalawag in half a day can […]

At Large–One Temper

Story type: Literature

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A Turbulent Person was brought before a Judge to be tried for an assault with intent to commit murder, and it was proved that he had been variously obstreperous without apparent provocation, had affected the peripheries of several luckless fellow-citizens with the trunk of a small tree, and subsequently cleaned out the town. While trying […]

A Politician seeing a fat Turkey which he wanted for dinner, baited a hook with a grain of corn and dragged it before the fowl at the end of a long and almost invisible line. When the Turkey had swallowed the hook, the Politician ran, drawing the creature after him. “Fellow-citizens,” he cried, addressing some […]

An Inflated Ambition

Story type: Literature

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The President of a great Corporation went into a dry-goods shop and saw a placard which read: “If You Don’t See What You Want, Ask For It.” Approaching the shopkeeper, who had been narrowly observing him as he read the placard, he was about to speak, when the shopkeeper called to a salesman: “John, show […]

Rejected Services

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A Heavy Operator overtaken by a Reverse of Fortune was bewailing his sudden fall from affluence to indigence. “Do not weep,” said the Reverse of Fortune. “You need not suffer alone. Name any one of the men who have opposed your schemes, and I will overtake him.” “It is hardly worth while,” said the victim, […]

A Beautiful Old Man, meeting a Sunday-school Pupil, laid his hand tenderly upon the lad’s head, saying: “Listen, my son, to the words of the wise and heed the advice of the righteous.” “All right,” said the Sunday-school Pupil; “go ahead.” “Oh, I haven’t anything to do with it myself,” said the Beautiful Old Man. […]

The Pugilist’s Diet

Story type: Literature

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The Trainer of a Pugilist consulted a Physician regarding the champion’s diet. “Beef-steaks are too tender,” said the Physician; “have his meat cut from the neck of a bull.” “I thought the steaks more digestible,” the Trainer explained. “That is very true,” said the Physician; “but they do not sufficiently exercise the chin.”

Hangman’s hands laid in this tomb anImp of Satan’s getting, whom anAncient legend says that womanNever bore–he owed his birthTo Sin herself. From Hell to EarthShe brought the brat in secret stateAnd laid him at the Golden gate,And they named him Henry Vrooman.While with mortals here he stayed,His father frequently he played.Raised his birth-place and […]

A Spade

Story type: Poetry

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[The spade that was used to turn the first sod in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad is to be exhibited at the New Orleans Exposition.–Press Telegram.] Precursor of our woes, historic spade,What dismal records burn upon thy blade!On thee I see the maculating stainsOf passengers’ commingled blood and brains.In this red rust a […]

A Growler

Story type: Poetry

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Judge Shafter, you’re an aged man, I know,And learned too, I doubt not, in the law;And a head white with many a winter’s snow(I wish, however that your heart would thaw)Claims reverence and honor; but the jawThat’s always wagging with a word malign,Nagging and scolding every one in sightAs harshly as a jaybird in a […]

Ad Moodium

Story type: Poetry

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Tut! Moody, do not try to showTo gentlemen and ladiesThat if they have not “Faith,” they’ll goHeadlong to Hades. Faith is belief; and how can IHave that by being willing?This dime I cannot, though I try,Believe a shilling. Perhaps you can. If so, pray do–Believe you own it, also.But what seems evidence to youI may […]

Wide windy reaches of high stubble field;A long gray road, bordered with dusty pines;A wagon moving in a “cloud by day.”Two city sportsmen with a dove between,Breast-high upon a fence and fast asleep–A solitary dove, the only doveIn twenty counties, and it sick, or elseIt were not there. Two guns that fire as one,With thunder […]

James L. Flood

Story type: Poetry

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As oft it happens in the youth of dayThat mists obscure the sun’s imperfect ray,Who, as he’s mounting to the dome’s extreme,Smites and dispels them with a steeper beam,So you the vapors that begirt your birthConsumed, and manifested all your worth.But still one early vice obstructs the lightAnd sullies all the visible and brightDisplay of […]

Slander

Story type: Poetry

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FITCH: “All vices you’ve exhausted, friend;So all the papers say.” PICKERING: “Ah, what vile calumnies are penned!–‘Tis just the other way.”

To flatter your way to the goad of your hope,O plausible Mr. Perkins,You’ll need ten tons of the softest soapAnd butter a thousand firkins.The soap you could put to a better useIn washing your hands of ambitionEre the butter’s used for cooking your gooseTo a beautiful brown condition. * * * * * “The Railroad […]

A Long-Felt Want

Story type: Poetry

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Dimly apparent, through the gloomOf Market-street’s opaque simoom,A queue of people, parti-sexed,Awaiting the command of “Next!”A sidewalk booth, a dingy sign:“Teeth dusted nice–five cents a shine.”

Fleet Strother

Story type: Poetry

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What! you were born, you animated doll,Within the shadow of the Capitol?‘Twas always thought (and Bancroft so assuresHis trusting readers) it was reared in yours.

Assembled in the parlorOf the place of last resort,The smiler and the snarlerAnd the guests of every sort–The elocution chapWith rhetoric on tap;The mimic and the funny dog;The social sponge; the money-hog;Vulgarian and dude;And the prude;The adiposing dameWith pimply face aflame;The kitten-playful virgin–Vergin’ on to fifty years;The solemn-looking sturgeonOf a firm of auctioneers;The widower flirtatious;The […]

At Anchor

Story type: Poetry

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The soft asphaltum in the sun;Betrays a tendency to run;Whereas the dog that takes his wayAcross its course concludes to stay.

Now o’ nights the ocean breezeMakes the patient flinch,For that zephyr bears a sneezeIn every cubic inch.Lo! the lively populationChorusing in sternutationA catarrhal acclamation!

A Critic

Story type: Poetry

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[Apparently the Cleveland Leader is not a good judge of poetry.–The Morning Call.] That from you, neighbor! to whose vacant lotEach rhyming literary knacker scourgesHis cart-compelling Pegasus to trot,As folly, fame or famine smartly urges? Admonished by the stimulating goad,How gaily, lo! the spavined crow-bait prances–Its cart before it–eager to unloadThe dead-dog sentiments and swill-tub […]

It was a bruised and battered chapThe victim of some dire mishap,Who sat upon a rock and spentHis breath in this ungay lament: “Some wars–I’ve frequent heard of such–Has beat the everlastin’ Dutch!But never fight was fit by manTo equal this which has beganIn our (I’m in it, if you please)Academy of Sciences.For there is […]

Arbor Day

Story type: Poetry

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Hasten, children, black and white–Celebrate the yearly rite.Every pupil plant a tree:It will grow some day to beBig and strong enough to bearA School Director hanging there.

The Piute

Story type: Poetry

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Unbeautiful is the Piute!Howe’er bedecked with bravery,His person is unsavory–Of soap he’s destitute. He multiplies upon the earthIn spite of all admonishing;All censure his astonishingAnd versatile unworth. Upon the Reservation wideWe give for his inhabitingHe goes a-jackass rabbitingTo furnish his inside. The hopper singing in the grassHe seizes with avidity:He loves its tart acidity,And gobbles […]

Saint Peter, standing at the Gate, beheldA soul whose body Death had lately felled. A pleasant soul as ever was, he seemed:His step was joyous and his visage beamed. “Good morning, Peter.” There was just a touchOf foreign accent, but not overmuch. The Saint bent gravely, like a stately tree,And said: “You have the advantage, […]

He held a book in his knotty paws,And its title grand read he:“The Chronicles of the Kings” it was,By the History Companee.“I’m a monarch,” he said(But a tear he shed)“And my picter here you see. “Great and lasting is my renown,However the wits may flout–As wide almost as this blessed town”(But he winced as if […]

In fair Yosemite, that den of thievesWherein the minions of the moon divideThe travelers’ purses, lo! the Devil grieves,His larger share as leader still denied. El Capitan, foreseeing that his reignMay be disputed too, beclouds his head.The joyous Bridal Veil is torn in twainAnd the crepe steamer dangles there instead. The Vernal Fall abates her […]

Within my dark and narrow bedI rested well, new-laid:I heard above my fleshless headThe grinding of a spade. A gruffer note ensued and grewTo harsh and harsher strains:The poet Welcker then I knewWas “snatching” my remains. “O Welcker, let your hand be stayedAnd leave me here in peace.Of your revenge you should have madeAn end […]

California

Story type: Poetry

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[The Chinaman’s Assailant was allowed to walk quietly away, although the street was filled with pedestrians.–Newspaper.] Why should he not have been allowedTo thread with peaceful feet the crowdWhich filled that Christian street?The Decalogue he had observed,From Faith in Jesus had not swerved,And scorning pious platitudes,He saw in the BeatitudesA lamp to guide his feet. […]

Running for Senator with clumsy pace,He stooped so low, to win at least a place,That Fortune, tempted by a mark so droll,Sprang in an kicked him to the winning pole.

Disappointment

Story type: Poetry

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The Senate woke; the Chairman’s snoreWas stilled, its echoes balking;The startled members dreamed no more,For Steele, who long had held the floor,Had suddenly ceased talking. As, like Elijah, in his pride,He to his seat was passing,“Go up thou baldhead!” Reddy cried.Then six fierce bears ensued and triedTo sunder him for “sassing.” Two seized his legs, […]

To Either

Story type: Poetry

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Back further thanI know, in SanFrancisco dwelt a wealthy man.So rich was heThat none could beWise, good and great in like degree. ‘Tis true he wrought,In deed or thought,But few of all the things he ought;But men said: “WhoWould wish him to?Great souls are born to be, not do!” One thing, indeed,He did, we read,Which […]

Dawn heralded the coming sun–Fort Douglas was computingThe minutes–and the sunrise gunWas manned for his saluting. The gunner at that firearm stood,The which he slowly loaded,When, bang!–I know not how it could,But sure the charge exploded! Yes, to that veteran’s surpriseThe gun went off sublimely,And both his busy arms likewiseWent off with it, untimely. Then […]

One Of The Saints

Story type: Poetry

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Big Smith is an Oakland School Board man,And he looks as good as ever he can;And he’s such a cold and a chaste Big SmithThat snowflakes all are his kin and kith.Wherever his eye he chances to throwThe crystals of ice begin to grow;And the fruits and flowers he sees are lostBy the singeing touch […]

So, gentle critics, you would have me tilt,Not at the guilty, only just at Guilt!–Spare the offender and condemn Offense,And make life miserable to Pretense!“Whip Vice and Folly–that is satire’s use–But be not personal, for that’s abuse;Nor e’er forget what, ‘like a razor keen,Wounds with a touch that’s neither felt nor seen.’”Well, friends, I venture, […]

The Senate met in Sacramento city;On public morals it had no committeeThough greatly these abounded. Soon the quietWas broken by the Senators in riot.Now, at the end of their contagious quarrels,There’s a committee but no public morals.

So, Hall McAllister, you’ll not be warned–My protest slighted, admonition scorned!To save your scoundrel client from a cellAs loth to swallow him as he to swellIts sum of meals insurgent (it decriesAll wars intestinal with meats that rise)You turn your scurril tongue against the pressAnd damn the agency you ought to bless.Had not the press […]

Accepted

Story type: Poetry

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Charles Shortridge once to St. Peter came.“Down!” cried the saint with his face aflame;“‘Tis writ that every hardy liarShall dwell forever and ever in fire!”“That’s what I said the night that I died,”The sinner, turning away, replied.“What! you said that?” cried the saint–“what! what!You said ’twas so writ? Then, faith, ’tis not!I’m a devil at […]

I turned my eyes upon the Future’s scrollAnd saw its pictured prophecies unroll. I saw that magical life-laden trainFlash its long glories o’er Nebraska’s plain. I saw it smoothly up the mountain glide.“O happy, happy passengers!” I cried. For Pleasure, singing, drowned the engine’s roar,And Hope on joyous pinions flew before. Then dived the train […]

Borrowed Brains

Story type: Poetry

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Writer folk across the bayTake the pains to see and say–All their upward palms in air:“Joaquin Miller’s cut his hair!”Hasten, hasten, writer folk–In the gutters rake and poke,If by God’s exceeding graceYou may hit upon the placeWhere the barber threw at lengthSamson’s literary strength.Find it, find it if you can;Happy the successful man!He has but […]

It is the gallant Seventh–It fyghteth faste and free!God wot the where it fyghtethI ne desyre to be. The Gonfalon it flyeth,Seeming a Flayme in Sky;The Bugel loud yblowen is,Which sayeth, Doe and dye! And (O good Saints defende usAgaynst the Woes of Warr)Drawn Tongues are flashing deadlyTo smyte the Foeman sore! With divers kinds […]

Over The Border

Story type: Poetry

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O, justice, you have fled, to dwellIn Mexico, unstrangled,Lest you should hang as high as–well,As Haman dangled. (I know not if his cord he twanged,Or the King proved forgiving.‘Tis hard to think of Haman hanged,And Haymond living.) Yes, as I said: in mortal fearTo Mexico you journeyed;For you were on your trial here,And ill attorneyed. […]

Indicted

Story type: Poetry

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Dear Bruner, once we had a little talk(That is to say, ’twas I did all the talking)About the manner of your moral walk:How devious the trail you made in stalking,On level ground, your law-protected game–“Another’s Dollar” is, I think, its name. Your crooked course more recently is notSo blamable; for, truly, you have stumbledOn evil […]

One Judge

Story type: Poetry

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Wallace, created on a noble planTo show us that a Judge can be a Man;Through moral mire exhaling mortal stenchGod-guided sweet and foot-clean to the Bench;In salutation here and sign I liftA hand as free as yours from lawless thrift,A heart–ah, would I truly could proclaimMy bosom lighted with so pure a flame!Alas, not love […]

You say, John Irish, Mr. Taylor hathA painted beard. Quite likely that is true,And sure ’tis natural you spend your wrathOn what has been least merciful to you.By Taylor’s chin, if I am not mistaken,You like a rat have recently been shaken. To wear a beard of artificial hueMay be or this or that, I […]

I heard that Heaven was bright and fair,And politicians dwelt not there. ‘Twas said by knowing ones that theyWere in the Elsewhere–so to say. So, waking from my last long sleep,I took my place among the sheep. I passed the gate–Saint Peter eyedMe sharply as I stepped inside. He thought, as afterward I learned,That I […]

A Rear Elevation

Story type: Poetry

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[He can speak with his eyes, his hands, arms, legs, body–nay, with his very bones, for he turned the broad of his back upon us in “Conrad,” the other night, and his shoulder-blades spoke to us a volume of hesitation, fear, submission, desperation–everything which could haunt a man at the moment of inevitable detection.–A “Dramatic […]

Censor Literarum

Story type: Poetry

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So, Parson Stebbins, you’ve released your chinTo say that here, and here, we press-folk ail.‘Tis a great thing an editor to skinAnd hang his faulty pelt upon a nail(If over-eared, it has, at least, no tail)And, for an admonition against sin,Point out its maculations with a rod,And act, in short, the gentleman of God. ‘Twere […]

Nimrod

Story type: Poetry

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There were brave men, some one has truly said,Before Atrides (those were mostly deadBehind him) and ere you could e’er occurActaeon lived, Nimrod and Bahram-Gur.In strength and speed and daring they excelled:The stag they overtook, the lion felled.Ah, yes, great hunters flourished before you,And–for Munchausen lived–great talkers too.There’ll be no more; there’s much to kill, […]

A Hasty Inference

Story type: Poetry

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The Devil one day, coming up from the Pit,All grimy with perspiration,Applied to St. Peter and begged he’d admitHim a moment for consultation. The Saint showed him in where the Master reclinedOn the throne where petitioners sought him;Both bowed, and the Evil One opened his mindConcerning the business that brought him: “For ten million years […]

A Voluptuary

Story type: Poetry

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Who’s this that lispeth in the thickening throngWhich crowds to claim distinction in my song?Fresh from “the palms and temples of the South,”The mixed aromas quarrel in his mouth:Of orange blossoms this the lingering gale,And that the odor of a spicy tale.Sir, in thy pleasure-dome down by the sea(No finer one did Kubla Khan decree)Where, […]

Ad Cattonum

Story type: Poetry

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I know not, Mr. Catton, who you are,Nor very clearly why; but you go farTo show that you are many things besideA Chilean Consul with a tempting hide;But what they are I hardly could explainWithout afflicting you with mental pain.Your name (gods! what a name the muse to woo–Suggesting cats, and hinting kittens, too!)Points to […]

I’m a gorgeous golden heroAnd my trade is taking life.Hear the twittle-twittle-tweeroOf my sibillating fifeAnd the rub-a-dub-a-dumOf my big bass drum!I’m an escort strong and bold,The Grand Army to protect.My countenance is coldAnd my attitude erect.I’m a Californian GuardAnd my banner flies aloft,But the stones are O, so hard!And my feet are O, so soft!

‘Tis Master Fitch, the editor;He takes an holiday.Now wherefore, venerable sir,So resolutely gay? He lifts his head, he laughs aloud,Odzounds! ’tis drear to see!“Because the Boodle-Scribbler crowdWill soon be far from me. “Full many a year I’ve striven wellTo freeze the caitiffs outBy making this good town a Hell,But still they hang about. “They maken […]

Rejected

Story type: Poetry

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When Dr. Charles O’Donnell diedThey sank a box with him inside. The plate with his initials threeWas simply graven–“C.O.D.” That night two demons of the PitAdown the coal-hole shunted it. Ten million million leagues it fell,Alighting at the gate of Hell. Nick looked upon it with surprise,A night-storm darkening his eyes. “They’ve sent this rubbish, […]

Judex Judicatus

Story type: Poetry

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Judge Armstrong, when the poor have sought your aid,To be released from vows that they have madeIn haste, and leisurely repented, you,As stern as Rhadamanthus (Minos too,And AEeacus) have drawn your fierce brows downAnd petrified them with a moral frown!With iron-faced rigor you have made them runThe gauntlet of publicity–each HunOr Vandal of the public […]

Aeronaut, you’re fairly caught,Despite your bubble’s leaven:Out of the skies a lady’s eyesHave brought you down to Heaven! No more, no more you’ll freely soarAbove the grass and gravel:Henceforth you’ll walk–and she will chalkThe line that you’re to travel!

The Gates Ajar

Story type: Poetry

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The Day of Judgment spread its glareO’er continents and seas.The graves cracked open everywhere,Like pods of early peas. Up to the Court of Heaven spedThe souls of all mankind;Republicans were at the headAnd Democrats behind. Reub. Lloyd was there before the tubeOf Gabriel could call:The dead in Christ rise first, and Reub.Had risen first of […]

Tidings Of Good

Story type: Poetry

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Old Nick from his place of last resortCame up and looked the world over.He saw how the grass of the good was shortAnd the wicked lived in clover. And he gravely said: “This is all, all wrong,And never by me intended.If to me the power should ever belongI shall have this thing amended.” He looked […]

Arboriculture

Story type: Poetry

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[Californians are asking themselves how Joaquin Miller will make the trees grow which he proposes to plant in the form of a Maltese cross on Goat Island, in San Francisco Bay.–New York Graphic.] You may say they won’t grow, and say they’ll decay–Say it again till you’re sick of the say,Get up on your ear, […]

Munhall, to save my soul you bravely try,Although, to save my soul, I can’t say why.‘Tis naught to you, to me however much–Why, bless it! you might save a million suchYet lose your own; for still the “means of grace”That you employ to turn us from the placeBy the arch-enemy of souls frequentedAre those which […]

A Crocodile

Story type: Poetry

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Nay, Peter Robertson, ’tis not for youTo blubber o’er Max Taubles for he’s dead.By Heaven! my hearty, if you only knewHow better is a grave-worm in the headThan brains like yours–how far more decent, too,A tomb in far Corea than a bedWhere Peter lies with Peter, you would covetHis happier state and, dying, learn to […]

Oh, Marcus D. Boruck, me hearty,I sympathize wid ye, poor lad!A man that’s shot out of his partyIs mighty onlucky, bedad!An’ the sowl o’ that man is sad. But, Marcus, gossoon, ye desarve it–Ye know for yerself that ye do,For ye j’ined not intendin’ to sarve it,But hopin’ to make it sarve you,Though the roll […]

Uncoloneled

Story type: Poetry

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Though war-signs fail in time of peace, they say,Two awful portents gloom the public mind:All Mexico is arming for the frayAnd Colonel Mark McDonald has resigned!We know not by what instinct he divinedThe coming trouble–may be, like the steedDescribed by Job, he smelled the fight afar.Howe’er it be, he left, and for that deedIs an […]

I dreamed that I was poor and sick and sad,Broken in hope and weary of my life;My ventures all miscarrying–naught hadFor all my labor in the heat and strife.And in my heart some certain thoughts were rifeOf an unsummoned exit. As I layConsidering my bitter state, I cried:“Alas! that hither I did ever stray.Better in […]

A "Mass" Meeting

Story type: Poetry

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It was a solemn rite as e’erWas seen by mortal man.The celebrants, the people there,Were all Republican. There Estee bent his grizzled head,And General Dimond, too,And one–’twas Reddick, some one said,Though no one clearly knew. I saw the priest, white-robed and tall(Assistant, Father Stow)–He was the pious man men callDan Burns of Mexico. Ah, ’twas […]

Mahomet Stanford, with covetous stare,Gazed on a vision surpassingly fair:Far on the desert’s remote extremeA mountain of gold with a mellow gleamReared its high pinnacles into the sky,The work of mirage to delude the eye.Pixley Pasha, at the Prophet’s feetPiously licking them, swearing them sweet,Ventured, observing his master’s glance,To beg that he order the mountain’s […]

For Mayor

Story type: Poetry

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O Abner Doble–whose “catarrhal name”Budd of that ilk might envy–’tis a roughRude thing to say, but it is plain enoughYour name is to be sneezed at: its acclaimWill “fill the speaking trump of future fame”With an impeded utterance–a puffSuggesting that a pinch or two of snuffWould clear the tube and somewhat disinflame.Nay, Abner Doble, you’ll […]

The Sunset Gun

Story type: Poetry

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Off Santa Cruz the western waveWas crimson as with blood:The sun was sinking to his graveBeneath that angry flood. Sir Walter Turnbull, brave and stout,Then shouted, “Ho! lads; run–The powder and the ball bring outTo fire the sunset gun. “That punctual orb did ne’er omitTo keep, by land or sea,Its every engagement; itShall never wait […]

‘Tis the widow of Thomas Blythe,And she goeth upon the spree,And red are cheeks of the bystandersFor her acts are light and free. In a seven-ounce costumeThe widow of Thomas Blythe,Y-perched high on the window ledge,The difficult can-can tryeth. Ten constables they essayTo bate the dame’s halloing.With the widow of Thomas BlytheTheir hands are overflowing, […]

Four Of A Kind

Story type: Poetry

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ROBERT F. MORROW Dear man! although a stranger and a foeTo soft affection’s humanizing glow;Although untaught how manly hearts may throbWith more desires than the desire to rob;Although as void of tenderness as wit,And owning nothing soft but Maurice Schmitt;Although polluted, shunned and in disgrace,You fill me with a passion to embrace!Attentive to your look, […]

Once–in the county of Marin,Where milk is sold to purchase gin–Renowned for butter and renownedFor fourteen ounces to the pound–A bull stood watching every turnOf Mr. Wilson with a churn,As that deigning worthy stalkedAbout him, eying as he walked,El Toro’s sleek and silken hide,His neck, his flank and all beside;Thinking with secret joy: “I’ll spreadThat […]

God said, “Let there be Crime,” and the commandBrought Satan, leading Stoneman by the hand.“Why, that’s Stupidity, not Crime,” said God–“Bring what I ordered.” Satan with a nodReplied, “This is one element–when IThe other–Opportunity–supplyIn just equivalent, the two’ll affineAnd in a chemical embrace combineAnd Crime result–for Crime can only beStupiditate of Opportunity.”So leaving Stoneman (not […]

Llewellen Powell

Story type: Poetry

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Villain, when the word is spoken,And your chains at last are brokenWhen the gibbet’s chilling shadeCeases darkly to enfold you,And the angel who enrolled youAs a master of the tradeOf assassination sadlyBlots the record he has made,And your name and title paintsIn the calendar of saints;When the devils, dancing madlyIn the midmost Hell, are veryMultitudinously […]

The Swan of Avon died–the SwanOf Sacramento’ll soon be gone;And when his death-song he shall coo,Stand back, or it will kill you too.

To A Word-Warrior

Story type: Poetry

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Frank Pixley, you, who kiss the handThat strove to cut the country’s throat,Cannot forgive the hands that smoteApplauding in a distant land,– Applauding carelessly, as oneThe weaker willing to befriendUntil the quarrel’s at an end,Then learn by whom it was begun. When North was pitted against SouthNon-combatants on either sideIn calculating fury vied,And fought their […]

A cook adorned with paper cap,Or waiter with a tray,May be a worthy kind of chapIn his way,But when we want one for Recorder,Then, Mr. Walton, take our order.

Bats In Sunshine

Story type: Poetry

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Well, Mr. Kemble, you are called, I think,A great divine, and I’m a great profane.You as a Congregationalist blinkSome certain truths that I esteem a gain,And drop them in the coffers of my brain,Pleased with the pretty music of their chink.Perhaps your spiritual wealth is suchA golden truth or two don’t count for much. You […]

Tinker Dick

Story type: Poetry

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Good Parson Dickson preached, I’m told,A sermon–ah, ’twas very oldAnd very, very, bald!‘Twas all about–I know not whatIt was about, nor what ’twas not.“A Screw Loose” it was called. Whatever, Parson Dick, you say,The world will get each blessed dayStill more and more askew,And fall apart at last. Great snakes!What skillful tinker ever takesHis tongue […]

On The Platform

Story type: Poetry

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When Dr. Bill Bartlett stepped out of the humOf Mammon’s distracting and wearisome strifeTo stand and deliver a lecture on “SomeConditions of Intellectual Life,”I cursed the offender who gave him the hallTo lecture on any conditions at all! But he rose with a fire divine in his eye,Haranguing with endless abundance of breath,Till I slept; […]

[Charles Main, of the firm of Main & Winchester, has ordered a grand mausoleum for his plot in Mountain View Cemetery.–City Newspaper.] Charles Main, of Main & Winchester, attendWith friendly ear the chit-chat of a friendWho knows you not, yet knows that you and heTravel two roads that have a common end. We journey forward […]

A Dampened Ardor

Story type: Poetry

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The Chinatown at BakersfieldWas blazing bright and high;The flames to water would not yield,Though torrents drenched the skyAnd drowned the ground for miles around–The houses were so dry. Then rose an aged preacher manWhom all did much admire,Who said: “To force on you my planI truly don’t aspire,But streams, it seems, might quench these beamsIf […]

Ah, welcome, welcome! Sit you down, old friend;Your pipe I’ll serve, your bottle I’ll attend.‘Tis many a year since you and I have knownSociety more pleasant than our ownIn our brief respites from excessive work–I pointing out the hearts for you to dirk.What have you done since lately at this boardWe canvassed the deserts of […]

Montague Leverson

Story type: Poetry

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As some enormous violet that towersColossal o’er the heads of lowlier flowers–Its giant petals royally displayed,And casting half the landscape into shade;Delivering its odors, like the blowsOf some strong slugger, at the public nose;Pride of two Nations–for a single StateWould scarce suffice to sprout a plant so great;So Leverson’s humility, outgrownThe meaner virtues that he […]

The trumpet sounded and the deadCame forth from earth and ocean,And Pickering arose and spedAloft with wobbling motion. “What makes him fly lop-sided?” criedA soul of the elected.“One ear was wax,” a rogue replied,“And isn’t resurrected.” Below him on the pitted plain,By his abandoned hollow,His hair and teeth tried all in vainThe rest of him […]

Twin Unworthies

Story type: Poetry

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Ye parasites that to the rich men stick,As to the fattest sheep the thrifty tick–Ed’ard to Stanford and to Crocker Ben(To Ben and Ed’ard many meaner men,And lice to these)–who do the kind of workThat thieves would have the honesty to shirk–Whose wages are that your employers ownThe fat that reeks upon your every boneAnd […]

I should like, good friends, to mention the disaster which befellMr. William Perry Peters, of the town of Muscatel,Whose fate is full of meaning, if correctly understood–Admonition to the haughty, consolation to the good. It happened in the hot snap which we recently incurred,When ’twas warm enough to carbonize the feathers of a bird,And men […]

Good friend, it is with deep regret I noteThe latest, strangest turning of your coat;Though any way you wear that mental cloutThe seamy side seems always to be out.Who could have thought that you would e’er sustainThe Southern shotgun’s arbitrary reign!–Your sturdy hand assisting to replaceThe broken yoke on a delivered race;The ballot’s purity no […]

Another Plan

Story type: Poetry

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Editor Owen, of San Jose,Commonly known as “our friend J.J.”Weary of scribbling for daily bread,Weary of writing what nobody read,Slept one day at his desk and dreamedThat an angel before him stood and beamedWith compassionate eyes upon him there. Editor Owen is not so fairIn feature, expression, form or limbBut glances like that are familiar […]

Sweet Auburn! liveliest village of the plain,Where Health and Slander welcome every train,Whence smiling innocence, its tribute paid,Retires in terror, wounded and dismayed–Dear lovely bowers of gossip and disease,Whose climate cures us that thy dames may tease,How often have I knelt upon thy greenAnd prayed for death, to mitigate their spleen!How often have I paused […]

The apparel does not proclaim the man–Polonius lied like a partisan,And Salomon still would a hero seemIf (Heaven dispel the impossible dream!)He stood in a shroud on the hangman’s trap,His eye burning holes in the black, black cap.And the crowd below would exclaim amain:“He’s ready to fall for his country again!”

So, Estee, you are still alive! I thoughtThat you had died and were a blessed ghostI know at least your coffin once was boughtWith Railroad money; and ’twas said by mostHistorians that Stanford made a boastThe seller “threw you in.” That goes for naught–Man takes delight in fancy’s fine inventions,And woman too, ’tis said, if […]

Mr. Sheets

Story type: Poetry

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The Devil stood before the gateOf Heaven. He had a single mate:Behind him, in his shadow, slunkClay Sheets in a perspiring funk.“Saint Peter, see this season ticket,”Said Satan; “pray undo the wicket.”The sleepy Saint threw slight regardUpon the proffered bit of card,Signed by some clerical dead-beats:“Admit the bearer and Clay Sheets.”Peter expanded all his eyes:“‘Clay […]

My Lord Poet

Story type: Poetry

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“Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat;”Who sings for nobles, he should noble be.There’s no non sequitur, I think, in that,And this is logic plain as a, b, c.Now, Hector Stuart, you’re a Scottish prince,If right you fathom your descent–that fallFrom grace; and since you have no peers, and sinceYou have no kind of […]

An Interpretation

Story type: Poetry

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Now Lonergan appears upon the boards,And Truth and Error sheathe their lingual swords.No more in wordy warfare to engage,The commentators bow before the stage,And bookworms, militant for ages past,Confess their equal foolishness at last,Reread their Shakspeare in the newer lightAnd swear the meaning’s obvious to sight.For centuries the question has been hot:Was Hamlet crazy, or […]

A Soaring Toad

Story type: Poetry

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So, Governor, you would not serve againAlthough we’d all agree to pay you double.You find it all is vanity and pain–One clump of clover in a field of stubble–One grain of pleasure in a peck of trouble.‘Tis sad, at your age, having to complainOf disillusion; but the fault is whoseWhen pigmies stumble, wearing giants’ shoes? […]

Standing within the triple wall of Hell,And flattening his nose against a grateBehind whose brazen bars he’d had to dwellA thousand million ages to that date,Stoneman bewailed his melancholy fate,And his big tear-drops, boiling as they fell,Had worn between his feet, the record mentions,A deep depression in the “good intentions.” Imperfectly by memory taught how–For […]

An Ambitious Writer, distinguished for the condition of his linen, was travelling the high road to fame, when he met a Tramp. “What is the matter with your shirt?” inquired the Tramp. “It bears the marks of that superb unconcern which is the characteristic of genius,” replied the Ambitious Writer, contemptuously passing him by. Resting […]

Two Politicians

Story type: Literature

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Two Politicians were exchanging ideas regarding the rewards for public service. “The reward which I most desire,” said the First Politician, “is the gratitude of my fellow-citizens.” “That would be very gratifying, no doubt,” said the Second Politician, “but, alas! in order to obtain it one has to retire from politics.” For an instant they […]

A Policeman, finding a man that had fallen in a fit, said, “This man is drunk,” and began beating him on the head with his club. A passing Citizen said: “Why do you murder a man that is already harmless?” Thereupon the Policeman left the man in a fit and attacked the Citizen, who, after […]

A Statesman who had saved his country was returning from Washington on foot, when he met a Race Horse going at full speed, and stopped it. “Turn about and travel the other way,” said the Statesman, “and I will keep you company as far as my home. The advantages of travelling together are obvious.” “I […]

An Aerophobe

Story type: Literature

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A Celebrated Divine having affirmed the fallibility of the Bible, was asked why, then, he preached the religion founded upon it. “If it is fallible,” he replied, “there is the greater reason that I explain it, lest it mislead.” “Then am I to infer,” said his Questioner, “that you are not fallible?” “You are to […]

The Eligible Son-In-Law

Story type: Literature

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A Truly Pious Person who conducted a savings bank and lent money to his sisters and his cousins and his aunts of both sexes, was approached by a Tatterdemalion, who applied for a loan of one hundred thousand dollars. “What security have you to offer?” asked the Truly Pious Person. “The best in the world,” […]

The Fugitive Office

Story type: Literature

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A Traveller arriving at the capitol of the nation saw a vast plain outside the wall, filled with struggling and shouting men. While he looked upon the alarming spectacle an Office broke away from the Throng and took shelter in a tomb close to where he stood, the crowd being too intent upon hammering one […]

The Tyrant Frog

Story type: Literature

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A Snake swallowing a frog head-first was approached by a Naturalist with a stick. “Ah, my deliverer,” said the Snake as well as he could, “you have arrived just in time; this reptile, you see, is pitching into me without provocation.” “Sir,” replied the Naturalist, “I need a snakeskin for my collection, but if you […]

The Good Government

Story type: Literature

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“What a happy land you are!” said a Republican Form of Government to a Sovereign State. “Be good enough to lie still while I walk upon you, singing the praises of universal suffrage and descanting upon the blessings of civil and religious liberty. In the meantime you can relieve your feelings by cursing the one-man […]

The Thrift Of Strength

Story type: Literature

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A Weak Man going down-hill met a Strong Man going up, and said: “I take this direction because it requires less exertion, not from choice. I pray you, sir, assist me to regain the summit.” “Gladly,” said the Strong Man, his face illuminated with the glory of his thought. “I have always considered my strength […]

A bear, having spread him a notable feast,Invited a famishing fox to the place.“I’ve killed me,” quoth he, “an edible beastAs ever distended the girdle of priestWith ‘spread of religion,’ or ‘inward grace.’To my den I conveyed her,I bled her and flayed her,I hung up her skin to dry;Then laid her naked, to keep her […]

‘Twas an Injin chieftain, in feathers all fine,Who stood on the ocean’s rim;There were numberless leagues of excellent brine–But there wasn’t enough for him.So he knuckled a thumb in his painted eye,And added a tear to the scant supply. The surges were breaking with thund’rous voice,The winds were a-shrieking shrill;This warrior thought that a trifle […]

The Race at Left Bower

Story type: Literature

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“It’s all very well fer you Britishers to go assin’ about the country tryin’ to strike the trail o’ the mines you’ve salted down yer loose carpital in,” said Colonel Jackhigh, setting his empty glass on the counter and wiping his lips with his coat sleeve; “but w’en it comes to hoss racin’, w’y I’ve […]

Mr. Algernon Jarvis, of San Francisco, got up cross. The world of Mr. Jarvis had gone wrong with him overnight, as one’s world is likely to do when one sits up till morning with jovial friends, to watch it, and he was prone to resentment. No sooner, therefore, had he got himself into a neat, […]

The spectroscope is a singularly beautiful and delicate instrument, consisting, essentially, of a prism of glass, which, decomposing the light of any heavenly body to which the instrument is directed, presents a spectrum, or long bar of color. Crossing this are narrow, dark and bright lines produced by the gases of metals in combustion, whereby […]

From Mr. Jabez Hope, in Chicago, to Mr. Pike Wandel, of New Orleans, December 2, 1877. I will not bore you, my dear fellow, with a narrative of my journey from New Orleans to this polar region. It is cold in Chicago, believe me, and the Southron who comes here, as I did, without a […]

The Little Story

Story type: Literature

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DRAMATIS PERSONAE–A Supernumerary Editor. A Probationary Contributor. SCENE–“The Expounder” Office. PROBATIONARY CONTRIBUTOR–Editor in? SUPERNUMERARY EDITOR–Dead. P.C.–The gods favor me. (Produces roll of manuscript.) Here is a little story, which I will read to you. S.E.–O, O! P.C.–(Reads.) “It was the last night of the year–a naughty, noxious, offensive night. In the principal street of San […]

Jerome Bowles (said the gentleman called Swiddler) was to be hanged on Friday, the ninth of November, at five o’clock in the afternoon. This was to occur at the town of Flatbroke, where he was then in prison. Jerome was my friend, and naturally I differed with the jury that had convicted him as to […]

I. A certain Persian nobleman obtained from a cow gipsy a small oyster. Holding him up by the beard, he addressed him thus: “You must try to forgive me for what I am about to do; and you might as well set about it at once, for you haven’t much time. I should never think […]

The Man And The Snake

Story type: Literature

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I It is of veritabyll report, and attested of so many that there be nowe of wyse and learned none to gaynsaye it, that ye serpente hys eye hath a magnetick propertie that whosoe falleth into its svasion is drawn forwards in despyte of his wille, and perisheth miserabyll by ye creature hys byte. Stretched […]

Converting A Prodigal

Story type: Literature

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Little Johnny was a saving youth–one who from early infancy had cultivated a provident habit. When other little boys were wasting their substance in riotous gingerbread and molasses candy, investing in missionary enterprises which paid no dividends, subscribing to the North Labrador Orphan Fund, and sending capital out of the country gene rally, Johnny would […]

Feodora

Story type: Literature

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Madame Yonsmit was a decayed gentlewoman who carried on her decomposition in a modest wayside cottage in Thuringia. She was an excellent sample of the Thuringian widow, a species not yet extinct, but trying very hard to become so. The same may be said of the whole genus. Madame Yonsmit was quite young, very comely, […]

Nut-Cracking

Story type: Literature

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In the city of Algammon resided the Prince Champou, who was madly enamoured of the Lady Capilla. She returned his affection–unopened. In the matter of back-hair the Lady Capilla was blessed even beyond her deserts. Her natural pigtail was so intolerably long that she employed two pages to look after it when she walked out; […]

The Grateful Bear

Story type: Literature

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I hope all my little readers have heard the story of Mr. Androcles and the lion; so I will relate it as nearly as I can remember it, with the caution that Androcles must not be confounded with the lion. If I had a picture representing Androcles with a silk hat, and the lion with […]

I. FOOL.–I have a question for you. PHILOSOPHER.–I have a number of them for myself. Do you happen to have heard that a fool can ask more questions in a breath than a philosopher can answer in a life? F.–I happen to have heard that in such a case the one is as great a […]

Dr. Deadwood, I Presume

Story type: Literature

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My name is Shandy, and this is the record of my Sentimental Journey. Mr. Ames Jordan Gannett, proprietor’s son of the “York—-,” with which paper I am connected by marriage, sent me a post-card in a sealed envelope, asking me to call at a well-known restaurant in Regent Street. I was then at a well-known […]

Four Jacks And A Knave

Story type: Literature

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In the “backwoods” of Pennsylvania stood a little mill. The miller appertaining unto this mill was a Pennsylvania Dutchman–a species of animal in which for some centuries sauerkraut has been usurping the place of sense. In Hans Donnerspiel the usurpation was not complete; he still knew enough to go in when it rained, but he […]

To a degree unprecedented in the Rollo family, of Illinois, Antony was an undutiful son. He was so undutiful that he may be said to have been preposterous. There were seven other sons–Antony was the eldest. His younger brothers were a nice, well-behaved bevy of boys as ever you saw. They always attended Sunday School […]

Seafaring

Story type: Literature

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My envious rivals have always sought to cast discredit upon the following tale, by affirming that mere unadorned truth does not constitute a work of literary merit. Be it so: I care not what they call it. A rose with any other smell would be as sweet. In the autumn of 1868 I wanted to […]

About the middle of the fifteenth century there dwelt in the Black Forest a pretty but unfashionable young maiden named Simprella Whiskiblote. The first of these names was hers in monopoly; the other she enjoyed in common with her father. Simprella was the most beautiful fifteenth-century girl I ever saw. She had coloured eyes, a […]

A Fowl Witch

Story type: Literature

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Frau Gaubenslosher was strongly suspected of witchcraft. I don’t think she was a witch, but would not like to swear she was not, in a court of law, unless a good deal depended upon my testimony, and I had been properly suborned beforehand. A great many persons accused of witchcraft have themselves stoutly disbelieved the […]

Mrs. Dennison’s Head

Story type: Literature

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While I was employed in the Bank of Loan and Discount (said Mr. Applegarth, smiling the smile with which he always prefaced a nice old story), there was another clerk there, named Dennison–a quiet, reticent fellow, the very soul of truth, and a great favourite with us all. He always wore crape on his hat, […]

Don Hemstitch Blodoza was an hidalgo–one of the highest dalgos of old Spain. He had a comfortably picturesque castle on the Guadalquiver, with towers, battlements, and mortages on it; but as it belonged, not to his own creditors, but to those of his bitterest enemy, who inhabited it, Don Hemstitch preferred the forest as a […]

Following The Sea

Story type: Literature

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At the time of “the great earthquake of ’68,” I was at Arica, Peru. I have not a map by me, and am not certain that Arica is not in Chili, but it can’t make much difference; there was earthquake all along there. As nearly as I can remember it occured in August–about the middle […]

Juniper

Story type: Literature

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He was a dwarf, was Juniper. About the time of his birth Nature was executing a large order for prime giants, and had need of all her materials. Juniper infested the wooded interior of Norway, and dwelt in a cave–a miserable hole in which a blind bat in a condition of sempiternal torpor would have […]

Pernicketty’s Fright

Story type: Literature

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“Sssssst!” Dan Golby held up his hand to enjoin silence; in a breath we were as quiet as mice. Then it came again, borne upon the night wind from away somewhere in the darkness toward the mountains, across miles of treeless plain–a low, dismal, sobbing sound, like the wail of a strangling child! It was […]

Near the road leading from Deutscherkirche to Lagerhaus may be seen the ruins of a little cottage. It never was a very pretentious pile, but it has a history. About the middle of the last century it was occupied by one Heinrich Schneider, who was a small farmer–so small a farmer his clothes wouldn’t fit […]

Bladud was the eldest son of a British King (whose name I perfectly remember, but do not choose to write) temp. Solomon–who does not appear to have known Bladud, however. Bladud was, therefore, Prince of Wales. He was more than that: he was a leper–had it very bad, and the Court physician, Sir William Gull, […]

John Smith

Story type: Literature

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AN EDITORIAL ARTICLE FROM A JOURNAL. OF MAY 3rd, A.D. 3873. At the quiet little village of Smithcester (the ancient London) will be celebrated to-day the twentieth, centennial anniversary of this remarkable man, the foremost figure of antiquity. The recurrence of what, no longer than six centuries ago, was a popular fete day, and which […]

A Tale Of The Bosphorus

Story type: Literature

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Pollimariar was the daughter of a Mussulman–she was, in fact, a Mussulgirl. She lived at Stamboul, the name of which is an admirable rhyme to what Pollimariar was profanely asserted to be by her two sisters, Djainan and Djulya. These were very much older than Pollimariar, and proportionately wicked. In wickedness they could discount her, […]

Colonel Bulper was of a slumberous turn. Most people are not: they work all day and sleep all night–are always in one or the other condition of unrest, and never slumber. Such persons, the Colonel used to remark, are fit only for sentry duty; they are good to watch our property while we take our […]

The Following Dorg

Story type: Literature

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Dad Petto, as everybody called him, had a dog, upon whom he lavished an amount of affection which, had it been disbursed in a proper quarter, would have been adequate to the sentimental needs of a dozen brace of lovers. The name of this dog was Jerusalem, but it might more properly have been Dan-to-Beersheba. […]

Stringing A Bear

Story type: Literature

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“I was looking for my horse one morning, up in the San Joaquin Valley,” said old Sandy Fowler, absently stirring the camp fire, “when I saw a big bull grizzly lying in the sunshine, picking his teeth with his claws, and smiling, as if he said, ‘You need not mind the horse, old fellow; he’s […]

Maud’s Papa

Story type: Literature

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That is she in the old black silk–the one with the gimlet curls and the accelerated lap-cat. Doesn’t she average about as I set her forth? “Never told you anything about her?” Well, I will. Twenty years ago, many a young man, of otherwise good character, would have ameliorated his condition for that girl; and […]

Snaking

Story type: Literature

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Very talkative people always seemed to me to be divided into two classes–those who lie for a purpose and those who lie for the love of lying; and Sam Baxter belonged, with broad impartiality, to both. With him falsehood was not more frequently a means than an end; for he would not only lie without […]

The Crimson Candle

Story type: Literature

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A man lying at the point of death called his wife to his bedside and said: “I am about to leave you forever; give me, therefore, one last proof of your affection and fidelity, for, according to our holy religion, a married man seeking admittance at the gate of Heaven is required to swear that […]

A Moral Principle met a Material Interest on a bridge wide enough for but one. “Down, you base thing!” thundered the Moral Principle, “and let me pass over you!” The Material Interest merely looked in the other’s eyes without saying anything. “Ah,” said the Moral Principle, hesitatingly, “let us draw lots to see which shall […]

Two Kings

Story type: Literature

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The King of Madagao, being engaged in a dispute with the King of Bornegascar, wrote him as follows: “Before proceeding further in this matter I demand the recall of your Minister from my capital.” Greatly enraged by this impossible demand, the King of Bornegascar replied: “I shall not recall my Minister. Moreover, if you do […]

The Ingenious Patriot

Story type: Literature

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Having obtained an audience of the King an Ingenious Patriot pulled a paper from his pocket, saying: “May it please your Majesty, I have here a formula for constructing armour-plating which no gun can pierce. If these plates are adopted in the Royal Navy our warships will be invulnerable, and therefore invincible. Here, also, are […]

A Blotted Escutcheon, rising to a question of privilege, said: “Mr. Speaker, I wish to hurl back an allegation and explain that the spots upon me are the natural markings of one who is a direct descendant of the sun and a spotted fawn. They come of no accident of character, but inhere in the […]

The Thoughtful Warden

Story type: Literature

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The Warden of a Penitentiary was one day putting locks on the doors of all the cells when a mechanic said to him: “Those locks can all be opened from the inside–you are very imprudent.” The Warden did not look up from his work, but said: “If that is called imprudence, I wonder what would […]

The Politicians

Story type: Literature

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An Old Politician and a Young Politician were travelling through a beautiful country, by the dusty highway which leads to the City of Prosperous Obscurity. Lured by the flowers and the shade and charmed by the songs of birds which invited to woodland paths and green fields, his imagination fired by glimpses of golden domes […]

The Moral Sentiment

Story type: Literature

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A Pugilist met the Moral Sentiment of the Community, who was carrying a hat-box. “What have you in the hat-box, my friend?” inquired the Pugilist. “A new frown,” was the answer. “I am bringing it from the frownery–the one over there with the gilded steeple.” “And what are you going to do with the nice […]

How Leisure Came

Story type: Literature

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A Man to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar-bowl and was reading as he ate. In his haste and abstraction he stuck a pickle-fork into his right eye, and on removing the fork the eye came with it. […]

An Officer And A Thug

Story type: Literature

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A Chief of Police who had seen an Officer beating a Thug was very indignant, and said he must not do so any more on pain of dismissal. “Don’t be too hard on me,” said the Officer, smiling; “I was beating him with a stuffed club.” “Nevertheless,” persisted the Chief of Police, “it was a […]

The Critics

Story type: Literature

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While bathing, Antinous was seen by Minerva, who was so enamoured of his beauty that, all armed as she happened to be, she descended from Olympus to woo him; but, unluckily displaying her shield, with the head of Medusa on it, she had the unhappiness to see the beautiful mortal turn to stone from catching […]

The Broom Of The Temple

Story type: Literature

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The city of Gakwak being about to lose its character of capital of the province of Ukwuk, the Wampog issued a proclamation convening all the male residents in council in the Temple of Ul to devise means of defence. The first speaker thought the best policy would be to offer a fried jackass to the […]

The Christian Serpent

Story type: Literature

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A Rattlesnake came home to his brood and said: “My children, gather about and receive your father’s last blessing, and see how a Christian dies.” “What ails you, Father?” asked the Small Snakes. “I have been bitten by the editor of a partisan journal,” was the reply, accompanied by the ominous death-rattle.

A Public Treasury, feeling Two Arms lifting out its contents, exclaimed: “Mr. Shareman, I move for a division.” “You seem to know something about parliamentary forms of speech,” said the Two Arms. “Yes,” replied the Public Treasury, “I am familiar with the hauls of legislation.”

The Lassoed Bear

Story type: Literature

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A Hunter who had lassoed a Bear was trying to disengage himself from the rope, but the slip-knot about his wrist would not yield, for the Bear was all the time pulling in the slack with his paws. In the midst of his trouble the Hunter saw a Showman passing by, and managed to attract […]

A Man Running for Office was overtaken by Lightning. “You see,” said the Lightning, as it crept past him inch by inch, “I can travel considerably faster than you.” “Yes,” the Man Running for Office replied, “but think how much longer I keep going!”

A Call To Quit

Story type: Literature

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Seeing that his audiences were becoming smaller every Sunday, a Minister of the Gospel broke off in the midst of a sermon, descended the pulpit stairs, and walked on his hands down the central aisle of the church. He then remounted his feet, ascended to the pulpit, and resumed his discourse, making no allusion to […]

A Judge having sentenced a Malefactor to the penitentiary was proceeding to point out to him the disadvantages of crime and the profit of reformation. “Your Honour,” said the Malefactor, interrupting, “would you be kind enough to alter my punishment to ten years in the penitentiary and nothing else?” “Why,” said the Judge, surprised, “I […]

Father And Son

Story type: Literature

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“My boy,” said an aged Father to his fiery and disobedient Son, “a hot temper is the soil of remorse. Promise me that when next you are angry you will count one hundred before you move or speak.” No sooner had the Son promised than he received a stinging blow from the paternal walking-stick, and […]

A Hasty Settlement

Story type: Literature

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“Your Honour,” said an Attorney, rising, “what is the present status of this case–as far as it has gone?” “I have given a judgment for the residuary legatee under the will,” said the Court, “put the costs upon the contestants, decided all questions relating to fees and other charges; and, in short, the estate in […]

The Foolish Woman

Story type: Literature

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A Married Woman, whose lover was about to reform by running away, procured a pistol and shot him dead. “Why did you do that, Madam?” inquired a Policeman, sauntering by. “Because,” replied the Married Woman, “he was a wicked man, and had purchased a ticket to Chicago.” “My sister,” said an adjacent Man of God, […]

The Holy Deacon

Story type: Literature

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An Itinerant Preacher who had wrought hard in the moral vineyard for several hours whispered to a Holy Deacon of the local church: “Brother, these people know you, and your active support will bear fruit abundantly. Please pass the plate for me, and you shall have one fourth.” The Holy Deacon did so, and putting […]

A Protagonist Of Silver

Story type: Literature

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Some Financiers who were whetting their tongues on their teeth because the Government had “struck down” silver, and were about to “inaugurate” a season of sweatshed, were addressed as follows by a Member of their honourable and warlike body: “Comrades of the thunder and companions of death, I cannot but regard it as singularly fortunate […]

The Ineffective Rooter

Story type: Literature

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A Drunken Man was lying in the road with a bleeding nose, upon which he had fallen, when a Pig passed that way. “You wallow fairly well,” said the Pig, “but, my fine fellow, you have much to learn about rooting.”

The Cat And The King

Story type: Literature

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A Cat was looking at a King, as permitted by the proverb. “Well,” said the monarch, observing her inspection of the royal person, “how do you like me?” “I can imagine a King,” said the Cat, “whom I should like better.” “For example?” “The King of the Mice.” The sovereign was so pleased with the […]

The Literary Astronomer

Story type: Literature

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The Director of an Observatory, who, with a thirty-six-inch refractor, had discovered the moon, hastened to an Editor, with a four-column account of the event. “How much?” said the Editor, sententiously, without looking up from his essay on the circularity of the political horizon. “One hundred and sixty dollars,” replied the man who had discovered […]

A Man having found a Lion in his path undertook to subdue him by the power of the human eye; and near by was a Rattlesnake engaged in fascinating a small bird. “How are you getting on, brother?” the Man called out to the other reptile, without removing his eyes from those of the Lion. […]

The Noser And The Note

Story type: Literature

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The Head Rifler of an insolvent bank, learning that it was about to be visited by the official Noser into Things, placed his own personal note for a large amount among its resources, and, gaily touching his guitar, awaited the inspection. When the Noser came to the note he asked, “What’s this?” “That,” said the […]

The Wooden Guns

Story type: Literature

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An Artillery Regiment of a State Militia applied to the Governor for wooden guns to practise with. “Those,” they explained, “will be cheaper than real ones.” “It shall not be said that I sacrificed efficiency to economy,” said the Governor. “You shall have real guns.” “Thank you, thank you,” cried the warriors, effusively. “We will […]

The Poet’s Doom

Story type: Literature

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An Object was walking along the King’s highway wrapped in meditation and with little else on, when he suddenly found himself at the gates of a strange city. On applying for admittance, he was arrested as a necessitator of ordinances, and taken before the King. “Who are you,” said the King, “and what is your […]

Jamrach the Rich, being anxious to reach the City of Political Distinction before nightfall, arrived at a fork of the road and was undecided which branch to follow; so he consulted a Wise-Looking Person who sat by the wayside. “Take that road,” said the Wise-Looking Person, pointing it out; “it is known as the Political […]

The Flying-Machine

Story type: Literature

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An Ingenious Man who had built a flying-machine invited a great concourse of people to see it go up. At the appointed moment, everything being ready, he boarded the car and turned on the power. The machine immediately broke through the massive substructure upon which it was builded, and sank out of sight into the […]

The Angel’s Tear

Story type: Literature

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An Unworthy Man who had laughed at the woes of a Woman whom he loved, was bewailing his indiscretion in sack-cloth-of-gold and ashes-of-roses, when the Angel of Compassion looked down upon him, saying: “Poor mortal!–how unblest not to know the wickedness of laughing at another’s misfortune!” So saying, he let fall a great tear, which, […]

“I see quite a number of rings on your tail,” said an Alderman to a Raccoon that he met in a zoological garden. “Yes,” replied the Raccoon, “and I hear quite a number of tales on your ring.” The Alderman, being of a sensitive, retiring disposition, shrank from further comparison, and, strolling to another part […]

The Man With No Enemies

Story type: Literature

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An Inoffensive Person walking in a public place was assaulted by a Stranger with a Club, and severely beaten. When the Stranger with a Club was brought to trial, the complainant said to the Judge: “I do not know why I was assaulted; I have not an enemy in the world.” “That,” said the defendant, […]

An Invitation

Story type: Literature

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A Pious Person who had overcharged his paunch with dead bird by way of attesting his gratitude for escaping the many calamities which Heaven had sent upon others, fell asleep at table and dreamed. He thought he lived in a country where turkeys were the ruling class, and every year they held a feast to […]

The republic of Madagonia had been long and well represented at the court of the King of Patagascar by an officer called a Dazie, but one day the Madagonian Parliament conferred upon him the superior rank of Dandee. The next day after being apprised of his new dignity he hastened to inform the King of […]

The Poetess Of Reform

Story type: Literature

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One pleasant day in the latter part of eternity, as the Shades of all the great writers were reposing upon beds of asphodel and moly in the Elysian fields, each happy in hearing from the lips of the others nothing but copious quotation from his own works (for so Jove had kindly bedeviled their ears), […]

The Party Over There

Story type: Literature

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A Man in a Hurry, whose watch was at his lawyer’s, asked a Grave Person the time of day. “I heard you ask that Party Over There the same question,” said the Grave Person. “What answer did he give you?” “He said it was about three o’clock,” replied the Man in a Hurry; “but he […]

A Distinguished Naturalist was travelling in Australia, when he saw a Kangaroo in session and flung a stone at it. The Kangaroo immediately adjourned, tracing against the sunset sky a parabolic curve spanning seven provinces, and evanished below the horizon. The Distinguished Naturalist looked interested, but said nothing for an hour; then he said to […]

One day an Opossum who had gone to sleep hanging from the highest branch of a tree by the tail, awoke and saw a large Snake wound about the limb, between him and the trunk of the tree. “If I hold on,” he said to himself, “I shall be swallowed; if I let go I […]

The Life-Savers

Story type: Literature

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Seventy-Five Men presented themselves before the President of the Humane Society and demanded the great gold medal for life-saving. “Why, yes,” said the President; “by diligent effort so many men must have saved a considerable number of lives. How many did you save?” “Seventy-five, sir,” replied their Spokesman. “Ah, yes, that is one each–very good […]

The two brightest lights of Theosophy being in the same place at once in company with the Ashes of Madame Blavatsky, an Inquiring Soul thought the time propitious to learn something worth while. So he sat at the feet of one awhile, and then he sat awhile at the feet of the other, and at […]

The Bumbo Of Jiam

Story type: Literature

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The Pahdour of Patagascar and the Gookul of Madagonia were disputing about an island which both claimed. Finally, at the suggestion of the International League of Cannon Founders, which had important branches in both countries, they decided to refer their claims to the Bumbo of Jiam, and abide by his judgment. In settling the preliminaries […]

The Two Poets

Story type: Literature

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Two Poets were quarrelling for the Apple of Discord and the Bone of Contention, for they were very hungry. “My sons,” said Apollo, “I will part the prizes between you. You,” he said to the First Poet, “excel in Art–take the Apple. And you,” he said to the Second Poet, “in Imagination–take the Bone.” “To […]

The Tried Assassin

Story type: Literature

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An Assassin being put upon trial in a New England court, his Counsel rose and said: “Your Honour, I move for a discharge on the ground of ‘once in jeopardy’: my client has been already tried for that murder and acquitted.” “In what court?” asked the Judge. “In the Superior Court of San Francisco,” the […]

The Pavior

Story type: Literature

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An Author saw a Labourer hammering stones into the pavement of a street, and approaching him said: “My friend, you seem weary. Ambition is a hard taskmaster.” “I’m working for Mr. Jones, sir,” the Labourer replied. “Well, cheer up,” the Author resumed; “fame comes at the most unexpected times. To-day you are poor, obscure, and […]

The Sagacious Rat

Story type: Literature

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A Rat that was about to emerge from his hole caught a glimpse of a Cat waiting for him, and descending to the colony at the bottom of the hole invited a Friend to join him in a visit to a neighbouring corn-bin. “I would have gone alone,” he said, “but could not deny myself […]

The Member And The Soap

Story type: Literature

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A Member of the Kansas Legislature meeting a Cake of Soap was passing it by without recognition, but the Cake of Soap insisted on stopping and shaking hands. Thinking it might possibly be in the enjoyment of the elective franchise, he gave it a cordial and earnest grasp. On letting it go he observed that […]

A Political Leader was walking out one sunny day, when he observed his Shadow leaving him and walking rapidly away. “Come back here, you scoundrel,” he cried. “If I had been a scoundrel,” answered the Shadow, increasing its speed, “I should not have left you.”

A Mind Reader made a wager that he would be buried alive and remain so for six months, then be dug up alive. In order to secure the grave against secret disturbance, it was sown with thistles. At the end of three months, the Mind Reader lost his money. He had come up to eat […]

The Witch’s Steed

Story type: Literature

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A Broomstick which had long served a witch as a steed complained of the nature of its employment, which it thought degrading. “Very well,” said the Witch, “I will give you work in which you will be associated with intellect–you will come in contact with brains. I shall present you to a housewife.” “What!” said […]

Two In Trouble

Story type: Literature

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Meeting a fat and patriotic Statesman on his way to Washington to beseech the President for an office, an idle Tramp accosted him and begged twenty- five cents with which to buy a suit of clothes. “Melancholy wreck,” said the Statesman, “what brought you to this state of degradation? Liquor, I suppose.” “I am temperate […]

Alarm And Pride

Story type: Literature

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“Good-Morning, my friend,” said Alarm to Pride; “how are you this morning?” “Very tired,” replied Pride, seating himself on a stone by the wayside and mopping his steaming brow. “The politicians are wearing me out by pointing to their dirty records with me, when they could as well use a stick.” Alarm sighed sympathetically, and […]

A Causeway

Story type: Literature

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A Rich Woman having returned from abroad disembarked at the foot of Knee- deep Street, and was about to walk to her hotel through the mud. “Madam,” said a Policeman, “I cannot permit you to do that; you would soil your shoes and stockings.” “Oh, that is of no importance, really,” replied the Rich Woman, […]

Physicians Two

Story type: Literature

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A Wicked Old Man finding himself ill sent for a Physician, who prescribed for him and went away. Then the Wicked Old Man sent for another Physician, saying nothing of the first, and an entirely different treatment was ordered. This continued for some weeks, the physicians visiting him on alternate days and treating him for […]

The Farmer’s Friend

Story type: Literature

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A Great Philanthropist who had thought of himself in connection with the Presidency and had introduced a bill into Congress requiring the Government to loan every voter all the money that he needed, on his personal security, was explaining to a Sunday-school at a railway station how much he had done for the country, when […]

The All Dog

Story type: Literature

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A Lion seeing a Poodle fell into laughter at the ridiculous spectacle. “Who ever saw so small a beast?” he said. “It is very true,” said the Poodle, with austere dignity, “that I am small; but, sir, I beg to observe that I am all dog.”

The Honest Cadi

Story type: Literature

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A Robber who had plundered a Merchant of one thousand pieces of gold was taken before the Cadi, who asked him if he had anything to say why he should not be decapitated. “Your Honour,” said the Robber, “I could do no otherwise than take the money, for Allah made me that way.” “Your defence […]

A Kangaroo hopping awkwardly along with some bulky object concealed in her pouch met a Zebra, and desirous of keeping his attention upon himself, said: “Your costume looks as if you might have come out of the penitentiary.” “Appearances are deceitful,” replied the Zebra, smiling in the consciousness of a more insupportable wit, “or I […]

A Racial Parallel

Story type: Literature

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Some White Christians engaged in driving Chinese Heathens out of an American town found a newspaper published in Peking in the Chinese tongue, and compelled one of their victims to translate an editorial. It turned out to be an appeal to the people of the Province of Pang Ki to drive the foreign devils out […]

The Overlooked Factor

Story type: Literature

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A Man that owned a fine Dog, and by a careful selection of its mate had bred a number of animals but a little lower than the angels, fell in love with his washerwoman, married her, and reared a family of dolts. “Alas!” he exclaimed, contemplating the melancholy result, “had I but chosen a mate […]

A Man was hanged by the neck until he was dead. “Whence do you come?” Saint Peter asked when the Man presented himself at the gate of Heaven. “From California,” replied the applicant. “Enter, my son, enter; you bring joyous tidings.” When the Man had vanished inside, Saint Peter took his memorandum-tablet and made the […]

A Kind-Hearted Physician sitting at the bedside of a patient afflicted with an incurable and painful disease, heard a noise behind him, and turning saw a cat laughing at the feeble efforts of a wounded mouse to drag itself out of the room. “You cruel beast!” cried he. “Why don’t you kill it at once, […]

A Matter Of Method

Story type: Literature

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A Philosopher seeing a Fool beating his Donkey, said: “Abstain, my son, abstain, I implore. Those who resort to violence shall suffer from violence.” “That,” said the Fool, diligently belabouring the animal, “is what I’m trying to teach this beast–which has kicked me.” “Doubtless,” said the Philosopher to himself, as he walked away, “the wisdom […]

The Man Of Principle

Story type: Literature

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During a shower of rain the Keeper of a Zoological garden observed a Man of Principle crouching beneath the belly of the ostrich, which had drawn itself up to its full height to sleep. “Why, my dear sir,” said the Keeper, “if you fear to get wet, you’d better creep into the pouch of yonder […]

A Cold Greeting

Story type: Literature

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This is a story told by the late Benson Foley of San Francisco: “In the summer of 1881 I met a man named James H. Conway, a resident of Franklin, Tennessee. He was visiting San Francisco for his health, deluded man, and brought me a note of introduction from Mr. Lawrence Barting. I had known […]

A Baffled Ambuscade

Story type: Literature

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Connecting Readyville and Woodbury was a good, hard turnpike nine or ten miles long. Readyville was an outpost of the Federal army at Murfreesboro; Woodbury had the same relation to the Confederate army at Tullahoma. For months after the big battle at Stone River these outposts were in constant quarrel, most of the trouble occurring, […]

Three And One Are One

Story type: Literature

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In the year 1861 Barr Lassiter, a young man of twenty-two, lived with his parents and an elder sister near Carthage, Tennessee. The family were in somewhat humble circumstances, subsisting by cultivation of a small and not very fertile plantation. Owning no slaves, they were not rated among “the best people” of their neighborhood; but […]

Present At A Hanging

Story type: Literature

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An old man named Daniel Baker, living near Lebanon, Iowa, was suspected by his neighbors of having murdered a peddler who had obtained permission to pass the night at his house. This was in 1853, when peddling was more common in the Western country than it is now, and was attended with considerable danger. The […]

A Man With Two Lives

Story type: Literature

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Here is the queer story of David William Duck, related by himself. Duck is an old man living in Aurora, Illinois, where he is universally respected. He is commonly known, however, as “Dead Duck.” “In the autumn of 1866 I was a private soldier of the Eighteenth Infantry. My company was one of those stationed […]

An Arrest

Story type: Literature

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Having murdered his brother-in-law, Orrin Brower of Kentucky was a fugitive from justice. From the county jail where he had been confined to await his trial he had escaped by knocking down his jailer with an iron bar, robbing him of his keys and, opening the outer door, walking out into the night. The jailer […]

A Fruitless Assignment

Story type: Literature

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Henry Saylor, who was killed in Covington, in a quarrel with Antonio Finch, was a reporter on the Cincinnati Commercial. In the year 1859 a vacant dwelling in Vine street, in Cincinnati, became the center of a local excitement because of the strange sights and sounds said to be observed in it nightly. According to […]

A Wireless Message

Story type: Literature

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In the summer of 1896 Mr. William Holt, a wealthy manufacturer of Chicago, was living temporarily in a little town of central New York, the name of which the writer’s memory has not retained. Mr. Holt had had “trouble with his wife,” from whom he had parted a year before. Whether the trouble was anything […]

The Isle Of Pines

Story type: Literature

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For many years there lived near the town of Gallipolis, Ohio, an old man named Herman Deluse. Very little was known of his history, for he would neither speak of it himself nor suffer others. It was a common belief among his neighbors that he had been a pirate–if upon any better evidence than his […]

Two Military Executions

Story type: Literature

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In the spring of the year 1862 General Buell’s big army lay in camp, licking itself into shape for the campaign which resulted in the victory at Shiloh. It was a raw, untrained army, although some of its fractions had seen hard enough service, with a good deal of fighting, in the mountains of Western […]

The Other Lodgers

Story type: Literature

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“In order to take that train,” said Colonel Levering, sitting in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, “you will have to remain nearly all night in Atlanta. That is a fine city, but I advise you not to put up at the Breathitt House, one of the principal hotels. It is an old wooden building in urgent need […]

The Spook House

Story type: Literature

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On the road leading north from Manchester, in eastern Kentucky, to Booneville, twenty miles away, stood, in 1862, a wooden plantation house of a somewhat better quality than most of the dwellings in that region. The house was destroyed by fire in the year following- -probably by some stragglers from the retreating column of General […]

At Old Man Eckert’s

Story type: Literature

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Philip Eckert lived for many years in an old, weather-stained wooden house about three miles from the little town of Marion, in Vermont. There must be quite a number of persons living who remember him, not unkindly, I trust, and know something of the story that I am about to tell. “Old Man Eckert,” as […]

The family of Christian Ashmore consisted of his wife, his mother, two grown daughters, and a son of sixteen years. They lived in Troy, New York, were well-to-do, respectable persons, and had many friends, some of whom, reading these lines, will doubtless learn for the first time the extraordinary fate of the young man. From […]

A Vine On A House

Story type: Literature

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About three miles from the little town of Norton, in Missouri, on the road leading to Maysville, stands an old house that was last occupied by a family named Harding. Since 1886 no one has lived in it, nor is anyone likely to live in it again. Time and the disfavor of persons dwelling thereabout […]

An Unfinished Race

Story type: Literature

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James Burne Worson was a shoemaker who lived in Leamington, Warwickshire, England. He had a little shop in one of the by-ways leading off the road to Warwick. In his humble sphere he was esteemed an honest man, although like many of his class in English towns he was somewhat addicted to drink. When in […]

One morning in July, 1854, a planter named Williamson, living six miles from Selma, Alabama, was sitting with his wife and a child on the veranda of his dwelling. Immediately in front of the house was a lawn, perhaps fifty yards in extent between the house and public road, or, as it was called, the […]

The Thing At Nolan

Story type: Literature

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To the south of where the road between Leesville and Hardy, in the State of Missouri, crosses the east fork of May Creek stands an abandoned house. Nobody has lived in it since the summer of 1879, and it is fast going to pieces. For some three years before the date mentioned above, it was […]

John Bartine’s Watch

Story type: Literature

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“The exact time? Good God! my friend, why do you insist? One would think–but what does it matter; it is easily bedtime–isn’t that near enough? But, here, if you must set your watch, take mine and see for yourself.” With that he detached his watch–a tremendously heavy, old-fashioned one–from the chain, and handed it to […]

The Realm Of The Unreal

Story type: Literature

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For a part of the distance between Auburn and Newcastle the road– first on one side of a creek and then on the other–occupies the whole bottom of the ravine, being partly cut out of the steep hillside, and partly built up with bowlders removed from the creek- bed by the miners. The hills are […]

Haita The Shepherd

Story type: Literature

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In the heart of Haita the illusions of youth had not been supplanted by those of age and experience. His thoughts were pure and pleasant, for his life was simple and his soul devoid of ambition. He rose with the sun and went forth to pray at the shrine of Hastur, the god of shepherds, […]

For there be divers sorts of death–some wherein the body remaineth; and in some it vanisheth quite away with the spirit. This commonly occurreth only in solitude (such is God’s will) and, none seeing the end, we say the man is lost, or gone on a long journey–which indeed he hath; but sometimes it hath […]

An Optimist

Story type: Literature

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Two Frogs in the belly of a snake were considering their altered circumstances. “This is pretty hard luck,” said one. “Don’t jump to conclusions,” the other said; “we are out of the wet and provided with board and lodging.” “With lodging, certainly,” said the First Frog; “but I don’t see the board.” “You are a […]

A Man died leaving a large estate and many sorrowful relations who claimed it. After some years, when all but one had had judgment given against them, that one was awarded the estate, which he asked his Attorney to have appraised. “There is nothing to appraise,” said the Attorney, pocketing his last fee. “Then,” said […]

A Forfeited Right

Story type: Literature

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The Chief of the Weather Bureau having predicted a fine day, a Thrifty Person hastened to lay in a large stock of umbrellas, which he exposed for sale on the sidewalk; but the weather remained clear, and nobody would buy. Thereupon the Thrifty Person brought an action against the Chief of the Weather Bureau for […]

The Divided Delegation

Story type: Literature

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A Delegation at Washington went to a New President, and said: “Your Excellency, we are unable to agree upon a Favourite Son to represent us in your Cabinet.” “Then,” said the New President, “I shall have to lock you up until you do agree.” So the Delegation was cast into the deepest dungeon beneath the […]

The Man And The Wart

Story type: Literature

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A Person with a Wart on His Nose met a Person Similarly Afflicted, and said: “Let me propose your name for membership in the Imperial Order of Abnormal Proboscidians, of which I am the High Noble Toby and Surreptitious Treasurer. Two months ago I was the only member. One month ago there were two. To-day […]

Several Political Entities were dividing the spoils. “I will take the management of the prisons,” said a Decent Respect for Public Opinion, “and make a radical change.” “And I,” said the Blotted Escutcheon, “will retain my present general connection with affairs, while my friend here, the Soiled Ermine, will remain in the Judiciary.” The Political […]

The Basking Cyclone

Story type: Literature

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A Negro in a boat, gathering driftwood, saw a sleeping Alligator, and, thinking it was a log, fell to estimating the number of shingles it would make for his new cabin. Having satisfied his mind on that point, he stuck his boat-hook into the beast’s back to harvest his good fortune. Thereupon the saurian emerged […]

Equipped For Service

Story type: Literature

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During the Civil War a Patriot was passing through the State of Maryland with a pass from the President to join Grant’s army and see the fighting. Stopping a day at Annapolis, he visited the shop of a well-known optician and ordered seven powerful telescopes, one for every day in the week. In recognition of […]

Two Footpads

Story type: Literature

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Two Footpads sat at their grog in a roadside resort, comparing the evening’s adventures. “I stood up the Chief of Police,” said the First Footpad, “and I got away with what he had.” “And I,” said the Second Footpad, “stood up the United States District Attorney, and got away with–“ “Good Lord!” interrupted the other […]

A Valuable Suggestion

Story type: Literature

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A Big Nation having a quarrel with a Little Nation, resolved to terrify its antagonist by a grand naval demonstration in the latter’s principal port. So the Big Nation assembled all its ships of war from all over the world, and was about to send them three hundred and fifty thousand miles to the place […]

The Taken Hand

Story type: Literature

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A Successful Man of Business, having occasion to write to a Thief, expressed a wish to see him and shake hands. “No,” replied the Thief, “there are some things which I will not take–among them your hand.” “You must use a little strategy,” said a Philosopher to whom the Successful Man of Business had reported […]

A Man who had experienced the favours of fortune and was an Optimist, met a man who had experienced an optimist and was a Cynic. So the Cynic turned out of the road to let the Optimist roll by in his gold carriage. “My son,” said the Optimist, stopping the gold carriage, “you look as […]

The Poet And The Editor

Story type: Literature

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“My dear sir,” said the editor to the man, who had called to see about his poem, “I regret to say that owing to an unfortunate altercation in this office the greater part of your manuscript is illegible; a bottle of ink was upset upon it, blotting out all but the first line–that is to […]

At The Pole

Story type: Literature

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After a great expenditure of life and treasure a Daring Explorer had succeeded in reaching the North Pole, when he was approached by a Native Galeut who lived there. “Good morning,” said the Native Galeut. “I’m very glad to see you, but why did you come here?” “Glory,” said the Daring Explorer, curtly. “Yes, yes, […]

While the Owner of a Silver Mine was on his way to attend a convention of his species he was accosted by a Jackass, who said: “By an unjust discrimination against quadrupeds I am made ineligible to a seat in your convention; so I am compelled to seek representation through you.” “It will give me […]

A Dog that had seen a Physician attending the burial of a wealthy patient, said: “When do you expect to dig it up?” “Why should I dig it up?” the Physician asked. “When I bury a bone,” said the Dog, “it is with an intention to uncover it later and pick it.” “The bones that […]

A Needful War

Story type: Literature

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The people of Madagonia had an antipathy to the people of Novakatka and set upon some sailors of a Novakatkan vessel, killing two and wounding twelve. The King of Madagonia having refused either to apologise or pay, the King of Novakatka made war upon him, saying that it was necessary to show that Novakatkans must […]

An Unspeakable Imbecile

Story type: Literature

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A Judge said to a Convicted Assassin: “Prisoner at the bar, have you anything to say why the death-sentence should not be passed upon you?” “Will what I say make any difference?” asked the Convicted Assassin. “I do not see how it can,” the Judge answered, reflectively. “No, it will not.” “Then,” said the doomed […]

The Rainmaker

Story type: Literature

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An Officer of the Government, with a great outfit of mule-waggons loadedwith balloons, kites, dynamite bombs, and electrical apparatus, halted inthe midst of a desert, where there had been no rain for ten years, andset up a camp. After several months of preparation and an expenditure ofa million dollars all was in readiness, and a […]

An ex-Legislator asked a Most Respectable Citizen for a letter to the Governor recommending him for appointment as Commissioner of Shrimps and Crabs. “Sir,” said the Most Respectable Citizen, austerely, “were you not once in the State Senate?” “Not so bad as that, sir, I assure you,” was the reply. “I was a member of […]

A Party Manager said to a Gentleman whom he saw minding his own business: “How much will you pay for a nomination to office?” “Nothing,” the Gentleman replied. “But you will contribute something to the campaign fund to assist in your election, will you not?” asked the Party Manager, winking. “Oh, no,” said the Gentleman, […]

Baffled he stands upon the track–The automatic switches clack. Where’er he turns his solemn eyesThe interlocking signals rise. The trains, before his visage pale,Glide smoothly by, nor leave the rail. No splinter-spitted victim heHears uttering the note high C. In sorrow deep he hangs his head,A-weary–would that he were dead. Now suddenly his spirits rise–A […]

Psychographs

Story type: Poetry

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Says Gerald Massey: “When I write, a bandOf souls of the departed guides my hand.”How strange that poems cumbering our shelves,Penned by immortal parts, have none themselves!

For Wounds

Story type: Poetry

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O bear me, gods, to some enchanted isleWhere woman’s tears can antidote her smile.

Newman, in you two parasites combine:As tapeworm and as graveworm too you shine.When on the virtues of the quick you’ve dwelt,The pride of residence was all you felt(What vain vulgarian the wish ne’er knewTo paint his lodging a flamboyant hue?)And when the praises of the dead you’ve sung,‘Twas appetite, not truth, inspired your tongue;As ill-bred […]

Election Day

Story type: Poetry

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Despots effete upon tottering thronesUnsteadily poised upon dead men’s bones,Walk up! walk up! the circus is free,And this wonderful spectacle you shall see:Millions of voters who mostly are fools–Demagogues’ dupes and candidates’ tools,Armies of uniformed mountebanks,And braying disciples of brainless cranks.Many a week they’ve bellowed like beeves,Bitterly blackguarding, lying like thieves,Libeling freely the quick and […]

The Militiaman

Story type: Poetry

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“O warrior with the burnished arms–With bullion cord and tassel–Pray tell me of the lurid charmsOf service and the fierce alarms:The storming of the castle,The charge across the smoking field,The rifles’ busy rattle–What thoughts inspire the men who wieldThe blade–their gallant souls how steeledAnd fortified in battle.” “Nay, man of peace, seek not to knowWar’s […]

Thy gift, if that it be of God,Thou hast no warrant to appraise,Nor say: “Here part, O Muse, our ways,The road too stony to be trod.” Not thine to call the labor hardAnd the reward inadequate.Who haggles o’er his hire with FateIs better bargainer than bard. What! count the effort labor lostWhen thy good angel […]

The Tables Turned

Story type: Poetry

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Over the man the street car ran,And the driver did never grin.“O killer of men, pray tell me whenYour laughter means to begin. “Ten years to a day I’ve observed you slay,And I never have missed beforeYour jubilant peals as your crunching wheelsWere spattered with human gore. “Why is it, my boy, that you smother […]

The Humorist

Story type: Poetry

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“What is that, mother?”“The funny man, child.His hands are black, but his heart is mild.” “May I touch him, mother?”“‘T were foolishly done:He is slightly touched already, my son.” “O, why does he wear such a ghastly grin?”“That’s the outward sign of a joke within.” “Will he crack it, mother?”“Not so, my saint;‘T is meant […]

A Fool

Story type: Poetry

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Says Anderson, Theosophist:“Among the many that existIn modern halls,Some lived in ancient Egypt’s climeAnd in their childhood saw the primeOf Karnak’s walls.” Ah, Anderson, if that is true‘T is my conviction, sir, that youAre one of thoseThat once resided by the Nile,Peer to the sacred Crocodile,Heir to his woes. My judgment is, the holy CatMews […]

A Warning

Story type: Poetry

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Cried Age to Youth: “Abate your speed!–The distance hither’s brief indeed.”But Youth pressed on without delay–The shout had reached but half the way.

Montefiore

Story type: Poetry

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I saw–’twas in a dream, the other night–A man whose hair with age was thin and white:One hundred years had bettered by his birth,And still his step was firm, his eye was bright. Before him and about him pressed a crowd.Each head in reverence was bared and bowed,And Jews and Gentiles in a hundred tonguesExtolled […]

Discretion

Story type: Poetry

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SHE: I’m told that men have sometimes gotToo confidential, andHave said to one another whatThey–well, you understand.I hope I don’t offend you, sweet,But are you sure that you’re discreet? HE: ‘Tis true, sometimes my friends in wineTheir conquests do recall,But none can truly say that mineAre known to him at all.I never, never talk you […]

An Exile

Story type: Poetry

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‘Tis the census enumeratorA-singing all forlorn:It’s ho! for the tall potater,And ho! for the clustered corn.The whiffle-tree bends in the breeze and the fineLarge eggs are a-ripening on the vine. “Some there must be to till the soilAnd the widow’s weeds keep down.I wasn’t cut out for rural toilBut they won’t let me live in […]

Not Guilty

Story type: Poetry

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“I saw your charms in another’s arms,”Said a Grecian swain with his blood a-boil;“And he kissed you fair as he held you there,A willing bird in a serpent’s coil!” The maid looked up from the cinctured cupWherein she was crushing the berries red,Pain and surprise in her honest eyes–“It was only one o’ those gods,” […]

A Study In Gray

Story type: Poetry

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I step from the door with a shiver(This fog is uncommonly cold)And ask myself: What did I give her?–The maiden a trifle gone-old,With the head of gray hair that was gold. Ah, well, I suppose ’twas a dollar,And doubtless the change is correct,Though it’s odd that it seems so much smallerThan what I’d a right […]

Presentiment

Story type: Poetry

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With saintly grace and reverent tread,She walked among the graves with me;Her every foot-fall seemed to beA benediction on the dead. The guardian spirit of the placeShe seemed, and I some ghost forlornSurprised in the untimely mornShe made with her resplendent face. Moved by some waywardness of will,Three paces from the path apartShe stepped and […]

For Merit

Story type: Poetry

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To Parmentier Parisians raiseA statue fine and large:He cooked potatoes fifty ways,Nor ever led a charge. “Palmam qui meruit”–the restYou knew as well as I;And best of all to him that bestOf sayings will apply. Let meaner men the poet’s baysOr warrior’s medal wear;Who cooks potatoes fifty waysShall bear the palm–de terre.

A Paradox

Story type: Poetry

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“If life were not worth having,” said the preacher,“‘T would have in suicide one pleasant feature.”“An error,” said the pessimist, “you’re making:What’s not worth having cannot be worth taking.”

A Bit Of Science

Story type: Poetry

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What! photograph in colors? ‘Tis a dreamAnd he who dreams it is not overwise,If colors are vibration they but seem,And have no being. But if Tyndall lies,Why, come, then–photograph my lady’s eyes.Nay, friend, you can’t; the splendor of their blue,As on my own beclouded orbs they rest,To naught but vibratory motion’s due,As heart, head, limbs […]

A Poet’s Hope

Story type: Poetry

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‘Twas a weary-looking mortal, and he wandered near the portalOf the melancholy City of the Discontented Dead.He was pale and worn exceeding and his manner was unheeding,As if it could not matter what he did nor what he said. “Sacred stranger”–I addressed him with a reverence befittingThe austere, unintermitting, dread solemnity he wore;‘Tis the custom, […]

When Man and Woman had been made,All but the disposition,The Devil to the workshop strayed,And somehow gained admission. The Master rested from his work,For this was on a Sunday,The man was snoring like a Turk,Content to wait till Monday. “Too bad!” the Woman cried; “Oh, why,Does slumber not benumb me?A disposition! Oh, I dieTo know […]

Beecher

Story type: Poetry

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So, Beecher’s dead. His was a great soul, too–Great as a giant organ is, whose reedsHold in them all the souls of all the creedsThat man has ever taught and never knew. When on this mighty instrument He laidHis hand Who fashioned it, our common moanWas suppliant in its thundering. The toneGrew more vivacious when […]

Two Rogues

Story type: Poetry

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Dim, grim, and silent as a ghost,The sentry occupied his post,To all the stirrings of the nightAlert of ear and sharp of sight.A sudden something–sight or sound,About, above, or underground,He knew not what, nor where–ensued,Thrilling the sleeping solitude.The soldier cried: “Halt! Who goes there?”The answer came: “Death–in the air.”“Advance, Death–give the countersign,Or perish if you […]

The Aesthetes

Story type: Poetry

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The lily cranks, the lily cranks,The loppy, loony lasses!They multiply in rising ranksTo execute their solemn pranks,They moon along in masses.Blow, sweet lily, in the shade! O,Sunflower decorate the dado! The maiden ass, the maiden ass,The tall and tailless jenny!In limp attire as green as grass,She stands, a monumental brass,The one of one too many.Blow, […]

Cheeta Raibama Chunder Sen,The wisest and the best of men,Betook him to the place where satWith folded feet upon a matOf precious stones beneath a palm,In sweet and everlasting calm,That ancient and immortal gent,The God of Rational Content.As tranquil and unmoved as Fate,The deity reposed in state,With palm to palm and sole to sole,And beaded […]

Constancy

Story type: Poetry

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Dull were the days and sober,The mountains were brown and bare,For the season was sad OctoberAnd a dirge was in the air. The mated starlings flew overTo the isles of the southern sea.She wept for her warrior lover–Wept and exclaimed: “Ah, me! “Long years have I mourned my darlingIn his battle-bed at rest;And it’s O, […]

Time was the local poets sang their songsBeneath their breath in terror of the thongsI snapped about their shins. Though mild the strokeBards, like the conies, are “a feeble folk,”Fearing all noises but the one they makeThemselves–at which all other mortals quake.Now from their cracked and disobedient throats,Like rats from sewers scampering, their notesPour forth […]

Sires And Sons

Story type: Poetry

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Wild wanton Luxury lays waste the landWith difficulty tilled by Thrift’s hard hand!Then dies the State!–and, in its carcass found,The millionaires, all maggot-like, abound.Alas! was it for this that Warren died,And Arnold sold himself to t’ other side,Stark piled at Bennington his British dead,And Gates at Camden, Lee at Monmouth, fled?–For this that Perry did […]

Two Shows

Story type: Poetry

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The showman (blessing in a thousand shapes!)Parades a “School of Educated Apes!”Small education’s needed, I opine,Or native wit, to make a monkey shine;The brute exhibited has naught to doBut ape the larger apes who come to view–The hoodlum with his horrible grimace,Long upper lip and furtive, shuffling pace,Significant reminders of the timeWhen hunters, not policemen, […]

A Challenge

Story type: Poetry

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A bull imprisoned in a stallBroke boldly the confining wall,And found himself, when out of bounds,Within a washerwoman’s grounds.Where, hanging on a line to dry,A crimson skirt inflamed his eye.With bellowings that woke the dead,He bent his formidable head,With pointed horns and gnarly forehead;Then, planting firm his shoulders horrid,Began, with rage made half insane,To paw […]

Authority

Story type: Poetry

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“Authority, authority!” they shoutWhose minds, not large enough to hold a doubt,Some chance opinion ever entertain,By dogma billeted upon their brain.“Ha!” they exclaim with choreatic glee,“Here’s Dabster if you won’t give in to me–Dabster, sir, Dabster, to whom all men lookWith reverence!” The fellow wrote a book.It matters not that many another wightHas thought more […]

“Let music flourish!” So he said and died.Hark! ere he’s gone the minstrelsy begins:The symphonies ascend, a swelling tide,Melodious thunders fill the welkin wide–The grand old lawyers, chinning on their chins!

The Psoriad

Story type: Poetry

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The King of Scotland, years and years ago,Convened his courtiers in a gallant rowAnd thus addressed them: “Gentle sirs, from youAbundant counsel I have had, and true:What laws to make to serve the public weal;What laws of Nature’s making to repeal;What old religion is the only true one,And what the greater merit of some new […]

Oneiromancy

Story type: Poetry

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I fell asleep and dreamed that IWas flung, like Vulcan, from the sky;Like him was lamed–another part:His leg was crippled and my heart.I woke in time to see my loveConceal a letter in her glove.

L’audace

Story type: Poetry

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Daughter of God! Audacity divine–Of clowns the terror and of brains the sign–Not thou the inspirer of the rushing fool,Not thine of idiots the vocal drool:Thy bastard sister of the brow of brass,Presumption, actuates the charging ass.Sky-born Audacity! of thee who singsShould strike with freer hand than mine the strings;The notes should mount on pinions […]

Incurable

Story type: Poetry

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From pride, joy, hate, greed, melancholy–From any kind of vice, or folly,Bias, propensity or passionThat is in prevalence and fashion,Save one, the sufferer or loverMay, by the grace of God, recover:Alone that spiritual tetter,The zeal to make creation better,Glows still immedicably warmer.Who knows of a reformed reformer?

An Average

Story type: Poetry

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I ne’er could be entirely fondOf any maiden who’s a blonde,And no brunette that e’er I sawHad charms my heart’s wholewarmth to draw. Yet sure no girl was ever madeJust half of light and half of shade.And so, this happy mean to get,I love a blonde and a brunette.

O statesmen, what would you be at,With torches, flags and bands?You make me first throw up my hat,And then my hands.

The Pun

Story type: Poetry

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Hail, peerless Pun! thou last and best,Most rare and excellent bequestOf dying idiot to the witHe died of, rat-like, in a pit! Thyself disguised, in many a wayThou let’st thy sudden splendor play,Adorning all where’er it turns,As the revealing bull’s-eye burns,Of the dim thief, and plays its trickUpon the lock he means to pick. Yet […]

To Nanine

Story type: Poetry

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Dear, if I never saw your face again;If all the music of your voice were muteAs that of a forlorn and broken lute;If only in my dreams I might attainThe benediction of your touch, how vainWere Faith to justify the old pursuitOf happiness, or Reason to confuteThe pessimist philosophy of pain.Yet Love not altogether is […]

Vice Versa

Story type: Poetry

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Down in the state of Maine, the story goes,A woman, to secure a lapsing pension,Married a soldier–though the good Lord knowsThat very common act scarce calls for mention.What makes it worthy to be writ and read–The man she married had been nine hours dead! Now, marrying a corpse is not an actFamiliar to our daily […]

A Black-List

Story type: Poetry

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“Resolved that we will post,” the tradesmen say,“All names of debtors who do never pay.”“Whose shall be first?” inquires the ready scribe–“Who are the chiefs of the marauding tribe?”Lo! high Parnassus, lifting from the plain,Upon his hoary peak, a noble fane!Within that temple all the names are scrolledOf village bards upon a slab of gold;To […]

The New Enoch

Story type: Poetry

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Enoch Arden was an ableSeaman; hear of his mishap–Not in wild mendacious fable,As ‘t was told by t’ other chap; For I hold it is a youthfulIndiscretion to tell lies,And the writer that is truthfulHas the reader that is wise. Enoch Arden, able seaman,On an isle was cast away,And before he was a freemanTime had […]

Tempora Mutantur

Story type: Poetry

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“The world is dull,” I cried in my despair:“Its myths and fables are no longer fair. “Roll back thy centuries, O Father Time.To Greece transport me in her golden prime. “Give back the beautiful old Gods again–The sportive Nymphs, the Dryad’s jocund train, “Pan piping on his reeds, the Naiades,The Sirens singing by the sleepy […]

Disavowal

Story type: Poetry

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Two bodies are lying in Phoenix Park,Grim and bloody and stiff and stark,And a Land League man with averted eyeCrosses himself as he hurries by.And he says to his conscience under his breath:“I have had no hand in this deed of death!” A Fenian, making a circuit wideAnd passing them by on the other side,Shudders […]

Upon this quarter-eagle’s leveled face,The Lord’s Prayer, legibly inscribed, I trace.“Our Father which”–the pronoun there is funny,And shows the scribe to have addressed the money–“Which art in Heaven”–an error this, no doubt:The preposition should be stricken out.Needless to quote; I only have designedTo praise the frankness of the pious mindWhich thought it natural and right […]

The Royal Jester

Story type: Poetry

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Once on a time, so ancient poets sing,There reigned in Godknowswhere a certain king.So great a monarch ne’er before was seen:He was a hero, even to his queen,In whose respect he held so high a placeThat none was higher,–nay, not even the ace.He was so just his Parliament declaredThose subjects happy whom his laws had […]

A Lacking Factor

Story type: Poetry

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“You acted unwisely,” I cried, “as you seeBy the outcome.” He calmly eyed me:“When choosing the course of my action,” said he,“I had not the outcome to guide me.”

When Liberverm resigned the chairOf This or That in college, whereFor two decades he’d gorged his brainWith more than it could well contain,In order to relieve the stressHe took to writing for the press.Then Pondronummus said, “I’ll helpThis mine of talent to devel’p;”And straightway bought with coin and creditThe Thundergust for him to edit. The […]

“I’ve found the secret of your charm,” I said,Expounding with complacency my guess.Alas! the charm, even as I named it, fled,For all its secret was unconsciousness.

O very remarkable mortal,What food is engaging your jawsAnd staining with amber their portal?“It’s ‘baccy I chaws.” And why do you sway in your walking,To right and left many degrees,And hitch up your trousers when talking?“I follers the seas.” Great indolent shark in the rollers,Is “‘baccy,” too, one of your faults?–You, too, display maculate molars.“I […]

To Maude

Story type: Poetry

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Not as two errant spheres together grindWith monstrous ruin in the vast of space,Destruction born of that malign embrace,Their hapless peoples all to death consigned–Not so when our intangible worlds of mind,Even mine and yours, each with its spirit raceOf beings shadowy in form and face,Shall drift together on some blessed wind.No, in that marriage […]

The sullen church-bell’s intermittent moan,The dirge’s melancholy monotone,The measured march, the drooping flags, attestA great man’s progress to his place of rest.Along broad avenues himself decreedTo serve his fellow men’s disputed need–Past parks he raped away from robbers’ thriftAnd gave to poverty, wherein to liftIts voice to curse the giver and the gift–Past noble structures […]

When, long ago, the young world circling flewThrough wider reaches of a richer blue,New-eyed, the men and maids saw, manifest,The thoughts untold in one another’s breast:Each wish displayed, and every passion learned–A look revealed them as a look discerned.But sating Time with clouds o’ercast their eyes;Desire was hidden, and the lips framed lies.A goddess then, […]

The Scurril Press

Story type: Poetry

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TOM JONESMITH (loquitur): I’ve slept right throughThe night–a rather clever thing to do.How soundly women sleep (looks at his wife.)They’re all alike. The sweetest thing in lifeIs woman when she lies with folded tongue,Its toil completed and its day-song sung.(Thump) That’s the morning paper. What a boreThat it should be delivered at the door.There ought […]

The Seraphs came to Christ, and said: “Behold!The man, presumptuous and overbold,Who boasted that his mercy could excelThine own, is dead and on his way to Hell.” Gravely the Saviour asked: “What did he doTo make his impious assertion true?” “He was a Governor, releasing allThe vilest felons ever held in thrall.No other mortal, since […]

She stood at the ticket-seller’sSerenely removing her glove,While hundreds of strugglers and yellers,And some that were good at a shove,Were clustered behind her like bats ina cave and unwilling to speak their love. At night she still stood at that windowEndeavoring her money to reach;The crowds right and left, how they sinned–O,How dreadfully sinned in […]

When at your window radiant you’ve stoodI’ve sometimes thought–forgive me if I’ve erred–That some slight thought of me perhaps has stirredYour heart to beat less gently than it should.I know you beautiful; that you are goodI hope–or fear–I cannot choose the word,Nor rightly suit it to the thought. I’ve heardReason at love’s dictation never could.Blindly […]

A is defrauded of his land by B,Who’s driven from the premises by C.D buys the place with coin of plundered E.“That A’s an Anarchist!” says F to G.

The Debtor Abroad

Story type: Poetry

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Grief for an absent lover, husband, friend,Is barely felt before it comes to end:A score of early consolations serveTo modify its mouth’s dejected curve.But woes of creditors when debtors fleeForever swell the separating sea.When standing on an alien shore you markThe steady course of some intrepid bark,How sweet to think a tear for you abides,Not […]

A Fair Division

Story type: Poetry

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Another Irish landlord gone to grass,Slain by the bullets of the tenant class!Pray, good agrarians, what wrong requiresSuch foul redress? Between you and the squiresAll Ireland’s parted with an even hand–For you have all the ire, they all the land.

Foresight

Story type: Poetry

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An “actors’ cemetery”! SureThe devil never tiresOf planning places to procureThe sticks to feed his fires.

God said: “Let there be Man,” and from the clayAdam came forth and, thoughtful, walked away.The matrix whence his body was obtained,An empty, man-shaped cavity, remainedAll unregarded from that early timeTill in a recent storm it filled with slime.Now Satan, envying the Master’s powerTo make the meat himself could but devour,Strolled to the place and, […]

The New "Ulalume"

Story type: Poetry

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The skies they were ashen and sober, The leaves they were crisped and sere,– ” ” ” withering ” ” It was night in the lonesome October Of my most immemorial year; It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,– ” ” down ” ” dark tarn ” ” In the misty mid region […]

Philosopher Bimm

Story type: Poetry

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Republicans think Jonas BimmA Democrat gone mad,And Democrats consider himRepublican and bad. The Tough reviles him as a DudeAnd gives it him right hot;The Dude condemns his crassitudeAnd calls him sans culottes. Derided as an AnglophileBy Anglophobes, forsooth,As Anglophobe he feels, the while,The Anglophilic tooth. The Churchman calls him Atheist;The Atheists, rough-shod,Have ridden o’er him […]

Come, gentlemen–your gold.Thanks: welcome to the show.To hear a story toldIn words you do not know. Now, great Salvini, riseAnd thunder through your tears,Aha! friends, let your eyesInterpret to your ears. Gods! ‘t is a goodly game.Observe his stride–how grand!When legs like his declaimWho can misunderstand? See how that arm goes round.It says, as plain […]

Reminded

Story type: Poetry

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Beneath my window twilight madeFamiliar mysteries of shade.Faint voices from the darkening downWere calling vaguely to the town.Intent upon a low, far gleamThat burned upon the world’s extreme,I sat, with short reprieve from grief,And turned the volume, leaf by leaf,Wherein a hand, long dead, had wroughtA million miracles of thought.My fingers carelessly unclungThe lettered pages, […]

Another Way

Story type: Poetry

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I lay in silence, dead. A woman cameAnd laid a rose upon my breast and said:“May God be merciful.” She spoke my name,And added: “It is strange to think him dead. “He loved me well enough, but ‘t was his wayTo speak it lightly.” Then, beneath her breath:“Besides”–I knew what further she would say,But then […]

Of a person known as Peters I will humbly crave your leaveAn unusual adventure into narrative to weave–Mr. William Perry Peters, of the town of Muscatel,A public educator and an orator as well.Mr. Peters had a weakness which, ’tis painful to relate,Was a strong predisposition to the pleasures of debate.He would foster disputation wheresoever he […]

One thousand years I slept beneath the sod,My sleep in 1901 beginning,Then, by the action of some scurvy godWho happened then to recollect my sinning,I was revived and given another inning.On breaking from my grave I saw a crowd–A formless multitude of men and women,Gathered about a ruin. Clamors loudI heard, and curses deep enough […]

To My Laundress

Story type: Poetry

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Saponacea, wert thou not so fairI’d curse thee for thy multitude of sins–For sending home my clothes all full of pins–A shirt occasionally that’s a snareAnd a delusion, got, the Lord knows where,The Lord knows why–a sock whose outs and insNone know, nor where it ends nor where begins,And fewer cuffs than ought to be […]

Omnes Vanitas

Story type: Poetry

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Alas for ambition’s possessor!Alas for the famous and proud!The Isle of Manhattan’s best dresserIs wearing a hand-me-down shroud. The world has forgotten his glory;The wagoner sings on his wain,And Chauncey Depew tells a story,And jackasses laugh in the lane.

I died. As meekly in the earth I lay,With shriveled fingers reverently folded,The worm–uncivil engineer!–my clayTunneled industriously, and the mole did.My body could not dodge them, but my soul did;For that had flown from this terrestrial ballAnd I was rid of it for good and all. So there I lay, debating what to do–What measures […]

Oft from a trading-boat I purchased spiceAnd shells and corals, brought for my inspectionFrom the fair tropics–paid a Christian priceAnd was content in my fool’s paradise,Where never had been heard the word “Protection.” ‘T was my sole island; there I dwelt alone–No customs-house, collector nor collection,But a man came, who, in a pious toneCondoled with […]

The Statesmen

Story type: Poetry

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How blest the land that counts amongHer sons so many good and wise,To execute great feats of tongueWhen troubles rise. Behold them mounting every stumpOur liberty by speech to guard.Observe their courage:–see them jumpAnd come down hard! “Walk up, walk up!” each cries aloud,“And learn from me what you must doTo turn aside the thunder […]

Corrected News

Story type: Poetry

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‘T was a maiden lady (the newspapers say)Pious and prim and a bit gone-gray.She slept like an angel, holy and white,Till ten o’ the clock in the shank o’ the night(When men and other wild animals prey)And then she cried in the viewless gloom:“There’s a man in the room, a man in the room!”And this […]

In that fair city, Ispahan,There dwelt a problematic man,Whose angel never was released,Who never once let out his beast,But kept, through all the seasons’ round,Silence unbroken and profound.No Prophecy, with ear appliedTo key-hole of the future, triedSuccessfully to catch a hintOf what he’d do nor when begin ‘t;As sternly did his past defyMild Retrospection’s backward […]

An Explanation

Story type: Poetry

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“I never yet exactly could determineJust how it is that the judicial ermineIs kept so safely from predacious vermin.” “It is not so, my friend: though in a garret‘Tis kept in camphor, and you often air it,The vermin will get into it and wear it.”

Christmas, you tell me, comes but once a year.One place it never comes, and that is here.Here, in these pages no good wishes spring,No well-worn greetings tediously ring–For Christmas greetings are like pots of ore:The hollower they are they ring the more.Here shall no holly cast a spiny shade,Nor mistletoe my solitude invade,No trinket-laden vegetable […]

Liars for witnesses; for lawyers brutesWho lose their tempers to retrieve their suits;Cowards for jurors; and for judge a clownWho ne’er took up the law, yet lays it down;Justice denied, authority abused,And the one honest person the accused–Thy courts, my country, all these awful years,Move fools to laughter and the wise to tears.

Here lies Greer Harrison, a well cracked louse–So small a tenant of so big a house!He joyed in fighting with his eyes (his fistPrudently pendent from a peaceful wrist)And loved to loll on the Parnassian mount,His pen to suck and all his thumbs to count,–What poetry he’d written but for lackOf skill, when he had […]

For a Proposed Monument in Washington to Him who Made it Beautiful. Erected to “Boss” Shepherd by the dearGood folk he lived and moved among in peace–Guarded on either hand by the police,With soldiers in his front and in his rear.

The Politician

Story type: Poetry

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“Let Glory’s sons manipulateThe tiller of the Ship of State.Be mine the humble, useful toilTo work the tiller of the soil.”

The polecat, sovereign of its native wood,Dashes damnation upon bad and good;The health of all the upas trees impairsBy exhalations deadlier than theirs;Poisons the rattlesnake and warts the toad–The creeks go rotten and the rocks corrode!She shakes o’er breathless hill and shrinking daleThe horrid aspergillus of her tail!From every saturated hair, till dry,The spargent fragrances […]

“O, I’m the Unaverage Man,But you never have heard of me,For my brother, the Average Man, outranMy fame with rapiditee,And I’m sunk in Oblivion’s sea,But my bully big brother the world can spanWith his wide notorietee.I do everything that I canTo make ’em attend to me,But the papers ignore the Unaverage ManWith a weird uniformitee.” […]

Technology

Story type: Poetry

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‘Twas a serious person with locks of grayAnd a figure like a crescent;His gravity, clearly, had come to stay,But his smile was evanescent. He stood and conversed with a neighbor, andWith (likewise) a high falsetto;And he stabbed his forefinger into his handAs if it had been a stiletto. His words, like the notes of a […]

Nanine

Story type: Poetry

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We heard a song-bird trilling–‘T was but a night ago.Such rapture he was rillingAs only we could know. This morning he is flingingHis music from the tree,But something in the singingIs not the same to me. His inspiration fails him,Or he has lost his skill.Nanine, Nanine, what ails himThat he should sing so ill? Nanine […]

O nonsense, parson–tell me not they thriveAnd jubilate who follow your dictation.The good are the unhappiest lot alive–I know they are from careful observation.If freedom from the terrors of damnationLengthens the visage like a telescope,And lacrymation is a sign of hope,Then I’ll continue, in my dreadful plight,To tread the dusky paths of sin, and gropeContentedly […]

Fear not in any tongue to callUpon the Lord–He’s skilled in all.But if He answereth my pleaHe speaketh one unknown to me.

To Oscar Wilde

Story type: Poetry

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Because from Folly’s lips you gotSome babbled mandate to subdueThe realm of Common Sense, and youMade promise and considered not– Because you strike a random blowAt what you do not understand,And beckon with a friendly handTo something that you do not know, I hold no speech of your desert,Nor answer with porrected shieldThe wooden weapon […]

Tuckerton Tamerlane Morey MahoshIs a statesman of world-wide fame,With a notable knack at rhetorical boshTo glorify somebody’s name–Somebody chosen by Tuckerton’s mastersTo succor the country from divers disastersPortentous to Mr. Mahosh. Percy O’Halloran Tarpy CabeeIs in the political swim.He cares not a button for men, not he:Great principles captivate him–Principles cleverly cut out and fittedTo […]

O Liberty, God-gifted–Young and immortal maid–In your high hand uplifted;The torch declares your trade. Its crimson menace, flamingUpon the sea and shore,Is, trumpet-like, proclaimingThat Law shall be no more. Austere incendiary,We’re blinking in the light;Where is your customaryGrenade of dynamite? Where are your staves and switchesFor men of gentle birth?Your mask and dirk for riches?Your […]

Rebuke

Story type: Poetry

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When Admonition’s hand essaysOur greed to curse,Its lifted finger oft displaysOur missing purse.

An Alibi

Story type: Poetry

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A famous journalist, who longHad told the great unheaded throngWhate’er they thought, by day or night.Was true as Holy Writ, and right,Was caught in–well, on second thought,It is enough that he was caught,And being thrown in jail becameThe fuel of a public flame. “Vox populi vox Dei,” saidThe jailer. Inxling bent his headWithout remark: that […]

J.F.B.

Story type: Poetry

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How well this man unfolded to our viewThe world’s beliefs of Death and Heaven and Hell–This man whose own convictions none could tell,Nor if his maze of reason had a clew.Dogmas he wrote for daily bread, but knewThe fair philosophies of doubt so wellThat while we listened to his words there fellSome that were strangely […]

It is a politician man–He draweth near his end,And friends weep round that partisan,Of every man the friend. Between the Known and the UnknownHe lieth on the strand;The light upon the sea is thrownThat lay upon the land. It shineth in his glazing eye,It burneth on his face;God send that when we come to dieWe […]

Of Hans Pietro Shanahan(Who was a most ingenious man)The Muse of History recordsThat he’d get drunk as twenty lords. He’d get so truly drunk that menStood by to marvel at him whenHis slow advance along the streetWas but a vain cycloidal feat. And when ’twas fated that he fallWith a wide geographical sprawl,They signified assent […]

Father! whose hard and cruel lawIs part of thy compassion’s plan,Thy works presumptuously we scanFor what the prophets say they saw. Unbidden still the awful slopeWalling us in we climb to gainAssurance of the shining plainThat faith has certified to hope. In vain!–beyond the circling hillThe shadow and the cloud abide.Subdue the doubt, our spirits […]

Laus Lucis

Story type: Poetry

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Theosophists are about to build a “Temple for the revival of the Mysteries of Antiquity.”–Vide the Newspapers, passim. Each to his taste: some men prefer to playAt mystery, as others at piquet.Some sit in mystic meditation; someParade the street with tambourine and drum.One studies to decipher ancient loreWhich, proving stuff, he studies all the more;Another […]

A Possibility

Story type: Poetry

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If the wicked gods were willing(Pray it never may be true!)That a universal chillingShould ensueOf the sentiment of loving,–If they made a great undoingOf the plan of turtle-doving,Then farewell all poet-lore,Evermore.If there were no more of billingThere would be no more of cooingAnd we all should be but owls–Lonely fowlsBlinking wonderfully wise,With our great round […]

Business

Story type: Poetry

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Two villains of the highest rankSet out one night to rob a bank.They found the building, looked it o’er,Each window noted, tried each door,Scanned carefully the lidded holeFor minstrels to cascade the coal–In short, examined five-and-twentyGood paths from poverty to plenty.But all were sealed, they saw full soon,Against the minions of the moon.“Enough,” said one: […]

To A Censor

Story type: Poetry

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“The delay granted by the weakness and good nature of our judges is responsible for half the murders.”–Daily Newspaper. Delay responsible? Why, then; my friend,Impeach Delay and you will make an end.Thrust vile Delay in jail and let it rotFor doing all the things that it should not.Put not good-natured judges under bond,But make Delay […]

When I was young and full of faithAnd other fads that youngsters cherishA cry rose as of one that saithWith unction: “Help me or I perish!”‘Twas heard in all the land, and menThe sound were each to each repeating.It made my heart beat faster thenThan any heart can now be beating. For the world is […]

Slain as they lay by the secret, slow,Pitiless hand of an unseen foe,Two score thousand old soldiers have crossedThe river to join the loved and lost.In the space of a year their spirits fled,Silent and white, to the camp of the dead. One after one, they fall asleepAnd the pension agents awake to weep,And orphaned […]

Every religion is important. When men rise above existing conditions a new religion comes in, and it is better than the old one.–Professor Howison. Professor dear, I think it queerThat all these good religions(‘Twixt you and me, some two or threeAre schemes for plucking pigeons)– I mean ’tis strange that every changeOur poor minds to […]

Magnanimity

Story type: Poetry

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“To the will of the people we loyally bow!”That’s the minority shibboleth now.O noble antagonists, answer me flat–What would you do if you didn’t do that?

Arthur Mcewen

Story type: Poetry

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Posterity with all its eyesWill come and view him where he lies.Then, turning from the scene awayWith a concerted shrug, will say:“H’m, Scarabaeus Sisyphus–What interest has that to us?We can’t admire at all, at all,A tumble-bug without its ball.”And then a sage will rise and say:“Good friends, you err–turn back, I pray:This freak that you […]

Contemplation

Story type: Poetry

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I muse upon the distant townIn many a dreamy mood.Above my head the sunbeams crownThe graveyard’s giant rood.The lupin blooms among the tombs.The quail recalls her brood. Ah, good it is to sit and traceThe shadow of the cross;It moves so still from place to placeO’er marble, bronze and moss;With graves to mark upon its […]

Charles And Peter

Story type: Poetry

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Ere Gabriel’s note to silence diedAll graves of men were gaping wide. Then Charles A. Dana, of “The Sun,”Rose slowly from the deepest one. “The dead in Christ rise first, ‘t is writ,”Quoth he–“ick, bick, ban, doe,–I’m It!” (His headstone, footstone, counted slow,Were “ick” and “bick,” he “ban” and “doe”: Of beating Nick the subtle […]

Creation

Story type: Poetry

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God dreamed–the suns sprang flaming into place,And sailing worlds with many a venturous race!He woke–His smile alone illumined space.

A Demand

Story type: Poetry

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You promised to paint me a picture,Dear Mat,And I was to pay you in rhyme.Although I am loth to inflict yourMost easy of consciences, I’mOf opinion that fibbing is awful,And breaking a contract unlawful,Indictable, too, as a crime,A slight and all that. If, Lady Unbountiful, anyOf thatBy mortals called pity has partIn your obdurate soul–if […]

T.A.H.

Story type: Poetry

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Yes, he was that, or that, as you prefer–Did so and so, though, faith, it wasn’t all;Lived like a fool, or a philosopher.And had whatever’s needful for a fall.As rough inflections on a planet mergeIn the true bend of the gigantic sphere,Nor mar the perfect circle of its verge,So in the survey of his worth […]

The Weather Wight

Story type: Poetry

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The way was long, the hill was steep,My footing scarcely I could keep. The night enshrouded me in gloom,I heard the ocean’s distant boom– The trampling of the surges vastWas borne upon the rising blast. “God help the mariner,” I cried,“Whose ship to-morrow braves the tide!” Then from the impenetrable darkA solemn voice made this […]

My Monument

Story type: Poetry

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It is pleasant to think, as I’m watching my inkA-drying along my paper,That a monument fine will surely be mineWhen death has extinguished my taper. From each rhyming scribe of the journalist tribePurged clean of all sentiments narrow,A pebble will mark his respect for the starkStiff body that’s under the barrow. By fellow-bards thrown, thus […]

Hospitality

Story type: Poetry

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Why ask me, Gastrogogue, to dine(Unless to praise your rascal wine)Yet never ask some luckless sinnerWho needs, as I do not, a dinner?

Mad

Story type: Poetry

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O ye who push and fightTo hear a wanton sing–Who utter the delightThat has the bogus ring,– O men mature in years,In understanding young,The membranes of whose earsShe tickles with her tongue,– O wives and daughters sweet,Who call it love of artTo kiss a woman’s feetThat crush a woman’s heart,– O prudent dams and sires,Your […]

Let lowly themes engage my humble pen–Stupidities of critics, not of men.Be it mine once more the maunderings to traceOf the expounders’ self-directed race–Their wire-drawn fancies, finically fine,Of diligent vacuity the sign.Let them in jargon of their trade rehearseThe moral meaning of the random verseThat runs spontaneous from the poet’s penTo be half-blotted by ambitious […]

An Anarchist

Story type: Poetry

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False to his art and to the high commandGod laid upon him, Markham’s rebel handBeats all in vain the harp he touched before:It yields a jingle and it yields no more.No more the strings beneath his finger-tipsSing harmonies divine. No more his lips,Touched with a living coal from sacred fires,Lead the sweet chorus of the […]

The Town Of Dae

Story type: Poetry

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Swains and maidens, young and old,You to me this tale have told. Where the squalid town of DaeIrks the comfortable sea,Spreading webs to gather fish,As for wealth we set a wish,Dwelt a king by right divine,Sprung from Adam’s royal line,Town of Dae by the sea,Divers kinds of kings there be. Name nor fame had Picklepip:Ne’er […]

Once I “dipt into the future far as human eye could see,”And saw–it was not Sandow, nor John Sullivan, but she–The Emancipated Woman, who was weeping as she ranHere and there for the discovery of Expurgated Man.But the sun of Evolution ever rose and ever set,And that tardiest of mortals hadn’t evoluted yet.Hence the tears […]

When a fair bridge is builded o’er the gulfBetween two cities, some ambitious fool,Hot for distinction, pleads for earliest leaveTo push his clumsy feet upon the span,That men in after years may single him,Saying: “Behold the fool who first went o’er!”So be it when, as now the promise is,Next summer sees the edifice completeWhich some […]

Arma Virumque

Story type: Poetry

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“Ours is a Christian Army”; so he saidA regiment of bangomen who led.“And ours a Christian Navy,” added heWho sailed a thunder-junk upon the sea.Better they know than men unwarlike doWhat is an army and a navy, too.Pray God there may be sent them by-and-byThe knowledge what a Christian is, and why.For somewhat lamely the […]

A Morning Fancy

Story type: Poetry

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I drifted (or I seemed to) in a boatUpon the surface of a shoreless seaWhereon no ship nor anything did float,Save only the frail bark supporting me;And that–it was so shadowy–seemed to beAlmost from out the very vapors wroughtOf the great ocean underneath its keel;And all that blue profound appeared as naughtBut thicker sky, translucent […]

Visions Of Sin

Story type: Poetry

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KRASLAJORSK, SIBERIA, March 29. “My eyes are better, and I shall travel slowly toward home.”DANENHOWER. From the regions of the Night,Coming with recovered sight–From the spell of darkness free,What will Danenhower see? He will see when he arrives,Doctors taking human lives.He will see a learned judgeWhose decision will not budgeTill both litigants are fleecedAnd his […]

An Invocation

Story type: Poetry

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[Read at the Celebration of Independence Day in San Francisco, in 1888.] Goddess of Liberty! O thouWhose tearless eyes behold the chain,And look unmoved upon the slain,Eternal peace upon thy brow,– Before thy shrine the races press,Thy perfect favor to implore–The proudest tyrant asks no more,The ironed anarchist no less. Thine altar-coals that touch the […]

Poesy

Story type: Poetry

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Successive bards pursue Ambition’s fireThat shines, Oblivion, above thy mire.The latest mounts his predecessor’s trunk,And sinks his brother ere himself is sunk.So die ingloriously Fame’s elite,But dams of dunces keep the line complete.

In Defense

Story type: Poetry

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You may say, if you please, Johnny Bull, that our girlsAre crazy to marry your dukes and your earls;But I’ve heard that the maids of your own little isleGreet bachelor lords with a favoring smile. Nay, titles, ’tis said in defense of our fair,Are popular here because popular there;And for them our ladies persistently goBecause […]

Novum Organum

Story type: Poetry

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In Bacon see the culminating primeOf Anglo-Saxon intellect and crime.He dies and Nature, settling his affairs,Parts his endowments among us, his heirs:To every one a pinch of brain for seed,And, to develop it, a pinch of greed.Each thrifty heir, to make the gift suffice,Buries the talent to manure the vice.

Yorick

Story type: Poetry

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Hard by an excavated street one satIn solitary session on the sand;And ever and anon he spake and spatAnd spake again–a yellow skull in hand,To which that retrospective PioneerAddressed the few remarks that follow here: “Who are you? Did you come ‘der blains agross,’Or ‘Horn aroundt’? In days o’ ’49Did them thar eye-holes see the […]

Geotheos

Story type: Poetry

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As sweet as the look of a loverSaluting the eyes of a maid,That blossom to blue as the maidIs ablush to the glances above her,The sunshine is gilding the gladeAnd lifting the lark out of shade. Sing therefore high praises, and thereforeSing songs that are ancient as gold,Of Earth in her garments of gold;Nor ask […]

A Vision Of Doom

Story type: Poetry

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I stood upon a hill. The setting sunWas crimson with a curse and a portent,And scarce his angry ray lit up the landThat lay below, whose lurid gloom appearedFreaked with a moving mist, which, reeking upFrom dim tarns hateful with some horrid ban,Took shapes forbidden and without a name.Gigantic night-birds, rising from the reedsWith cries […]

The Passing Show

Story type: Poetry

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I. I know not if it was a dream. I viewedA city where the restless multitude,Between the eastern and the western deepHad roared gigantic fabrics, strong and rude. Colossal palaces crowned every height;Towers from valleys climbed into the light;O’er dwellings at their feet, great golden domesHung in the blue, barbarically bright. But now, new-glimmering to-east, […]

What! “Out of danger?” Can the slighted DameOr canting Pharisee no more defame?Will Treachery caress my hand no more,Nor Hatred He alurk about my door?–Ingratitude, with benefits dismissed,Not close the loaded palm to make a fist?Will Envy henceforth not retaliateFor virtues it were vain to emulate?Will Ignorance my knowledge fail to scout,Not understanding what ’tis […]

Elixer Vitae

Story type: Poetry

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Of life’s elixir I had writ, when sleep(Pray Heaven it spared him who the writing read!)Sealed upon my senses with so deepA stupefaction that men thought me dead.The centuries stole by with noiseless tread,Like spectres in the twilight of my dream;I saw mankind in dim procession sweepThrough life, oblivion at each extreme.Meanwhile my beard, like […]

‘Twas a Venerable Person, whom I met one Sunday morning,All appareled as a prophet of a melancholy sect;And in a jeremaid of objurgatory warningHe lifted up his jodel to the following effect: O ye sanguinary statesmen, intermit your verbal tusslesO ye editors and orators, consent to hear my lay!And a little while the digital and […]

I Captain Parrol Hartroy stood at the advanced post of his picket-guard, talking in low tones with the sentinel. This post was on a turnpike which bisected the captain’s camp, a half-mile in rear, though the camp was not in sight from that point. The officer was apparently giving the soldier certain instructions–was perhaps merely […]

“Prisoner, what is your name?” “As I am to lose it at daylight to-morrow morning it is hardly worth while concealing it. Parker Adderson.” “Your rank?” “A somewhat humble one; commissioned officers are too precious to be risked in the perilous business of a spy. I am a sergeant.” “Of what regiment?” “You must excuse […]

An Affair Of Outposts

Story type: Literature

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I CONCERNING THE WISH TO BE DEAD Two men sat in conversation. One was the Governor of the State. The year was 1861; the war was on and the Governor already famous for the intelligence and zeal with which he directed all the powers and resources of his State to the service of the Union. […]

“Do you think, Colonel, that your brave Coulter would like to put one of his guns in here?” the general asked. He was apparently not altogether serious; it certainly did not seem a place where any artillerist, however brave, would like to put a gun. The colonel thought that possibly his division commander meant good-humoredly […]

The Coup De Grace

Story type: Literature

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The fighting had been hard and continuous; that was attested by all the senses. The very taste of battle was in the air. All was now over; it remained only to succor the wounded and bury the dead–to “tidy up a bit,” as the humorist of a burial squad put it. A good deal of […]

A Son Of The Gods

Story type: Literature

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A STUDY IN THE PRESENT TENSE A breezy day and a sunny landscape. An open country to right and left and forward; behind, a wood. In the edge of this wood, facing the open but not venturing into it, long lines of troops, halted. The wood is alive with them, and full of confused noises–the […]

AN ADVENTURE AT BROWNVILLE[1] [1] This story was written in collaboration with Miss Ina Lillian Peterson, to whom is rightly due the credit for whatever merit it may have. I taught a little country school near Brownville, which, as every one knows who has had the good luck to live there, is the capital of […]

It was rough on Gilson. Such was the terse, cold, but not altogether unsympathetic judgment of the better public opinion at Mammon Hill–the dictum of respectability. The verdict of the opposite, or rather the opposing, element–the element that lurked red-eyed and restless about Moll Gurney’s “deadfall,” while respectability took it with sugar at Mr. Jo. […]

George Thurston

Story type: Literature

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THREE INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A MAN George Thurston was a first lieutenant and aide-de-camp on the staff of Colonel Brough, commanding a Federal brigade. Colonel Brough was only temporarily in command, as senior colonel, the brigadier-general having been severely wounded and granted a leave of absence to recover. Lieutenant Thurston was, I believe, […]

The Man Out Of The Nose

Story type: Literature

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At the intersection of two certain streets in that part of San Francisco known by the rather loosely applied name of North Beach, is a vacant lot, which is rather more nearly level than is usually the case with lots, vacant or otherwise, in that region. Immediately at the back of it, to the south, […]

One Kind Of Officer

Story type: Literature

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I OF THE USES OF CIVILITY “Captain Ransome, it is not permitted to you to know anything. It is sufficient that you obey my order–which permit me to repeat. If you perceive any movement of troops in your front you are to open fire, and if attacked hold this position as long as you can. […]

One Officer, One Man

Story type: Literature

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Captain Graffenreid stood at the head of his company. The regiment was not engaged. It formed a part of the front line-of-battle, which stretched away to the right with a visible length of nearly two miles through the open ground. The left flank was veiled by woods; to the right also the line was lost […]

A Lady From Redhorse

Story type: Literature

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CORONADO, JUNE 20. I find myself more and more interested in him. It is not, I am sure, his–do you know any good noun corresponding to the adjective “handsome”? One does not like to say “beauty” when speaking of a man. He is beautiful enough, Heaven knows; I should not even care to trust you […]

The Eyes Of The Panther

Story type: Literature

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I ONE DOES NOT ALWAYS MARRY WHEN INSANE A man and a woman–nature had done the grouping–sat on a rustic seat, in the late afternoon. The man was middle-aged, slender, swarthy, with the expression of a poet and the complexion of a pirate–a man at whom one would look again. The woman was young, blonde, […]

A Holy Terror

Story type: Literature

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I There was an entire lack of interest in the latest arrival at Hurdy-Gurdy. He was not even christened with the picturesquely descriptive nick-name which is so frequently a mining camp’s word of welcome to the newcomer. In almost any other camp thereabout this circumstance would of itself have secured him some such appellation as […]

THE NIGHT One midsummer night a farmer’s boy living about ten miles from the city of Cincinnati was following a bridle path through a dense and dark forest. He had lost himself while searching for some missing cows, and near midnight was a long way from home, in a part of the country with which […]

The Applicant

Story type: Literature

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Pushing his adventurous shins through the deep snow that had fallen overnight, and encouraged by the glee of his little sister, following in the open way that he made, a sturdy small boy, the son of Grayville’s most distinguished citizen, struck his foot against something of which there was no visible sign on the surface […]

A Watcher By The Dead

Story type: Literature

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I In an upper room of an unoccupied dwelling in the part of San Francisco known as North Beach lay the body of a man, under a sheet. The hour was near nine in the evening; the room was dimly lighted by a single candle. Although the weather was warm, the two windows, contrary to […]

Four Days In Dixie

Story type: Literature

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During a part of the month of October, 1864, the Federal and Confederate armies of Sherman and Hood respectively, having performed a surprising and resultless series of marches and countermarches since the fall of Atlanta, confronted each other along the separating line of the Coosa River in the vicinity of Gaylesville, Alabama. Here for several […]

There is a class of events which by their very nature, and despite any intrinsic interest that they may possess, are foredoomed to oblivion. They are merged in the general story of those greater events of which they were a part, as the thunder of a billow breaking on a distant beach is unnoted in […]

On A Mountain

Story type: Literature

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They say that the lumberman has looked upon the Cheat Mountain country and seen that it is good, and I hear that some wealthy gentlemen have been there and made a game preserve. There must be lumber and, I suppose, sport, but some things one could wish were ordered otherwise. Looking back upon it through […]

For The Akhoond

Story type: Literature

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In the year 4591 I accepted from his gracious Majesty the Ahkoond of Citrusia a commission to explore the unknown region lying to the eastward of the Ultimate Hills, the range which that learned archaeologist, Simeon Tucker, affirms to be identical with the “Rocky Mountains” of the ancients. For this proof of his Majesty’s favor […]

John Smith, Liberator

Story type: Literature

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JOHN SMITH, LIBERATOR (FROM A NEWSPAPER OF THE FAR FUTURE) At the quiet little village of Smithcester, which certain archaeologists have professed to “identify” as the ancient London, will be celebrated to-day the thirtieth centennial anniversary of the birth of this remarkable man, the foremost figure of antiquity. The recurrence of what no more than […]

Ashes Of The Beacon

Story type: Literature

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ASHES OF THE BEACON AN HISTORICAL MONOGRAPH WRITTEN IN 4930 Of the many causes that conspired to bring about the lamentable failure of “self-government” in ancient America the most general and comprehensive was, of course, the impracticable nature of the system itself. In the light of modern culture, and instructed by history, we readily discern […]

A Bottomless Grave

Story type: Literature

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My name is John Brenwalter. My father, a drunkard, had a patent for an invention, for making coffee-berries out of clay; but he was an honest man and would not himself engage in the manufacture. He was, therefore, only moderately wealthy, his royalties from his really valuable invention bringing him hardly enough to pay his […]

The Mirage

Story type: Literature

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Since the overland railways have long been carrying many thousands of persons across the elevated plateaus of the continent the mirage in many of its customary aspects has become pretty well known to great numbers of persons all over the Union, and the tales of early observers who came “der blains agross” are received with […]

A Sole Survivor

Story type: Literature

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Among the arts and sciences, the art of Sole Surviving is one of the most interesting, as (to the artist) it is by far the most important. It is not altogether an art, perhaps, for success in it is largely due to accident. One may study how solely to survive, yet, having an imperfect natural […]

Working For An Empress

Story type: Literature

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In the spring of 1874 I was living in the pretty English town of Leamington, a place that will be remembered by most Americans who have visited the grave of Shakespeare at Stratford-on-Avon, or by personal inspection of the ruins of Kenilworth Castle have verified their knowledge of English history derived from Scott’s incomparable romance. […]

Across The Plains

Story type: Literature

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That noted pioneer, General John Bidwell, of California, once made a longish step up the western slope of our American Parnassus by an account of his journey “across the plains” seven years before the lamented Mr. Marshall had found the least and worst of all possible reasons for making the “trek.” General Bidwell had not […]

For several days, in snow and rain, General Schofield’s little army had crouched in its hastily constructed defenses at Columbia, Tennessee. It had retreated in hot haste from Pulaski, thirty miles to the south, arriving just in time to foil Hood, who, marching from Florence, Alabama, by another road, with a force of more than […]

At the break-up of the great Rebellion I found myself at Selma, Alabama, still in the service of the United States, and although my duties were now purely civil my treatment was not uniformly so, and I am not surprised that it was not. I was a minor official in the Treasury Department, engaged in […]

Curried Cow

Story type: Literature

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My Aunt Patience, who tilled a small farm in the state of Michigan, had a favorite cow. This creature was not a good cow, nor a profitable one, for instead of devoting a part of her leisure to secretion of milk and production of veal she concentrated all her faculties on the study of kicking. […]

A Revolt Of The Gods

Story type: Literature

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My father was a deodorizer of dead dogs, my mother kept the only shop for the sale of cats’-meat in my native city. They did not live happily; the difference in social rank was a chasm which could not be bridged by the vows of marriage. It was indeed an ill-assorted and most unlucky alliance; […]

I was born of poor because honest parents, and until I was twenty-three years old never knew the possibilities of happiness latent in another person’s coin. At that time Providence threw me into a deep sleep and revealed to me in a dream the folly of labor. “Behold,” said a vision of a holy hermit, […]

The Major’s Tale

Story type: Literature

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In the days of the Civil War practical joking had not, I think, fallen into that disrepute which characterizes it now. That, doubtless, was owing to our extreme youth–men were much younger than now, and evermore your very young man has a boisterous spirit, running easily to horse-play. You cannot think how young the men […]

From the Secretary of War to the Hon. Jupiter Doke, Hardpan Crossroads, Posey County, Illinois. WASHINGTON, November 3, 1861. Having faith in your patriotism and ability, the President has been pleased to appoint you a brigadier-general of volunteers. Do you accept? From the Hon. Jupiter Doke to the Secretary of War. HARDPAN, ILLINOIS, November 9, […]

The Widower Turmore

Story type: Literature

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The circumstances under which Joram Turmore became a widower have never been popularly understood. I know them, naturally, for I am Joram Turmore; and my wife, the late Elizabeth Mary Turmore, is by no means ignorant of them; but although she doubtless relates them, yet they remain a secret, for not a soul has ever […]

A Shipwreckollection

Story type: Literature

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As I left the house she said I was a cruel old thing, and not a bit nice, and she hoped I never, never would come back. So I shipped as mate on the Mudlark, bound from London to wherever the captain might think it expedient to sail. It had not been thought advisable to […]

This ship was named the Camel. In some ways she was an extraordinary vessel. She measured six hundred tons; but when she had taken in enough ballast to keep her from upsetting like a shot duck, and was provisioned for a three months’ voyage, it was necessary to be mighty fastidious in the choice of […]

Corrupting The Press

Story type: Literature

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When Joel Bird was up for Governor of Missouri, Sam Henly was editing the Berrywood Bugle; and no sooner was the nomination made by the State Convention than he came out hot against the party. He was an able writer, was Sam, and the lies he invented about our candidate were shocking! That, however, we […]

"The Bubble Reputation"

Story type: Literature

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HOW ANOTHER MAN’S WAS SOUGHT AND PRICKED It was a stormy night in the autumn of 1930. The hour was about eleven. San Francisco lay in darkness, for the laborers at the gas works had struck and destroyed the company’s property because a newspaper to which a cousin of the manager was a subscriber had […]

While I was in Kansas I purchased a weekly newspaper–the Claybank Thundergust of Reform. This paper had never paid its expenses; it had ruined four consecutive publishers; but my brother-in-law, Mr. Jefferson Scandril, of Weedhaven, was going to run for the Legislature, and I naturally desired his defeat; so it became necessary to have an […]

J. Munniglut, Proprietor, to Peter Pitchin, Editor. “STINGER” OFFICE, Monday, 9 A.M. A man has called to ask “who wrote that article about Mr. Muskler.” I told him to find out, and he says that is what he means to do. He has consented to amuse himself with the exchanges while I ask you. I […]

The Baptism Of Dobsho

Story type: Literature

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It was a wicked thing to do, certainly. I have often regretted it since, and if the opportunity of doing so again were presented I should hesitate a long time before embracing it. But I was young then, and cherished a species of humor which I have since abjured. Still, when I remember the character […]

A Cargo Of Cat

Story type: Literature

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On the 16th day of June, 1874, the ship Mary Jane sailed from Malta, heavily laden with cat. This cargo gave us a good deal of trouble. It was not in bales, but had been dumped into the hold loose. Captain Doble, who had once commanded a ship that carried coals, said he had found […]

The Man Overboard

Story type: Literature

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I The good ship Nupple-duck was drifting rapidly upon a sunken coral reef, which seemed to extend a reasonless number of leagues to the right and left without a break, and I was reading Macaulay’s “Naseby Fight” to the man at the wheel. Everything was, in fact, going on as nicely as heart could wish, […]

A Tough Tussle

Story type: Literature

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One night in the autumn of 1861 a man sat alone in the heart of a forest in western Virginia. The region was one of the wildest on the continent–the Cheat Mountain country. There was no lack of people close at hand, however; within a mile of where the man sat was the now silent […]