John Godfrey Saxe

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The Poet's License! — 't is the right,
Within the rule of duty,
To look on all delightful things
Throughout the world of beauty.

John Godfrey Saxe (2 June 181631 March 1887) was an American poet.

Sourced[edit]

And so these men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong.
  • Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.
    • As quoted in University Chronicle. University of Michigan (27 March 1869) books.google.de, Daily Cleveland Herald (29 March 1869), McKean Miner (22 April 1869), and "Quote... Misquote" by Fred R. Shapiro in The New York Times (21 July 2008); similar remarks have long been attributed to Otto von Bismarck, but this is the earliest known quote regarding laws and sausages, and according to Shapiro's research, such remarks only began to be attributed to Bismarck in the 1930s.
  • And so these men of Hindustan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right
    And all were in the wrong.

    So oft in theologic wars,
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

    • "The Blindmen and the Elephant".
  • Again I hear the creaking step! —
    He's rapping at the door! —
    Too well I know the boding sound
    That ushers in a bore.
    • "My Familiar".
  • In vain I speak of urgent tasks;
    In vain I scowl and pout;
    A frown is no extinguisher —
    It does not put him out!
    • "My Familiar".
  • He takes the strangest liberties —
    But never takes his leave!
    • "My Familiar".
  • Young men! it 's a critical thing to go
    Exactly right with a lady in tow;
    But when you are in the proper track,
    Just go ahead, and never look back!
    • "Orpheus and Eurydice".
  • Don't use strong drink, — pray let me advise, —
    It 's bad for the stomach, and ruins the eyes;
    • "Polyphemus and Ulysses".
  • INGLORIOUS friend! most confident I am
    Thy life is one of very little ease;
    Albeit men mock thee with their similes
    And prate of being "happy as a clam!"
    • "Sonnet to a Clam".
  • "God bless the man who first invented sleep!"
    So Sancho Panza said, and so say I.
    • "Early Rising".
  • But blast the man, with curses loud and deep,
    Whate'er the rascal's name, or age, or station,
    Who first invented, and went round advising,
    That artificial cut-off, — Early Rising!
    • "Early Rising".
  • I like the lad who, when his father thought
    To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase
    Of vagrant worm by early songster caught,
    Cried, "Served him right! — it's not at all surprising;
    The worm was punished, sir, for early rising!"
    • "Early Rising"; compare: "The healthy-wealthy-wise affirm, That early birds obtain the worm — (The worm rose early too!)", Frederick Locker-Lampson.
  • "Once more, my gallant boys!" he cried:
    "Three times! — you know the fable, —
    (I'll make it thirty," muttered he,
    "But I will lay the cable!")
    • "How Cyrus Laid the Cable".
  • NAY, weep not, dearest, though the child be dead;
    He lives again in Heaven's unclouded life,
    • "Bereavement".
  • What Lowely meant she didn't know
    For she always avoided "everything low,"
    • "The Proud Miss MacBride".
  • I'm growing fonder of my staff;
    I'm growing dimmer in the eyes;
    I'm growing fainter in my laugh;
    I'm growing deeper in my sighs;
    I'm growing careless of my dress;
    I'm growing frugal of my gold;
    I'm growing wise; I'm growing — yes, —
    I'm growing old!
    • "I'm growin old.
  • I asked of Echo 't other day
    (Whose words are few and often funny),
    What to a novice she could say
    Of courtship, love, and matrimony.
    Quoth Echo, plainly, — "Matter-o'-money."
    • "Echo".
  • 'T is wise to learn; 't is God-like to create.
    • "The Library".
  • A youth would marry a maiden,
    For fair and fond was she;
    But she was rich, and he was poor,
    And so it might not be.
    • "The Way of the World".
  • A youth would marry a maiden,
    For fair and fond was she;
    But he was high and she was low,
    And so it might not be.
    • "The Way of the World".
  • A youth would marry a maiden,
    For fair and fond was she;
    But their sires disputed about the Mass,
    And so it might not be.
    • "The Way of the World".
  • Bless me! this is pleasant
    Riding on the Rail.
    • "Hymn of the Rail".

The Masquerade and Other Poems (1866)[edit]

When Nature gives a gorgeous rose,
Or yields the simplest fern,
She writes this motto on the leaves, —
"To whom it may concern!"
And so it is the poet comes
And revels in her bowers,
And, — though another hold the land,
Is owner of the flowers.
  • The Poet's License! — 't is the right,
    Within the rule of duty,
    To look on all delightful things
    Throughout the world of beauty.

    To gaze with rapture at the stars
    That in the skies are glowing;
    To see the gems of perfect dye
    That in the woods are growing, —
    And more than sage astronomer,
    And more than learned florist,
    To read the glorious homilies
    Of Firmament and Forest.

    • "The Poet's License".
  • When Nature gives a gorgeous rose,
    Or yields the simplest fern,
    She writes this motto on the leaves, —
    "To whom it may concern!"
    And so it is the poet comes
    And revels in her bowers,
    And, — though another hold the land,
    Is owner of the flowers.
    • "The Poet's License".

External links[edit]

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