Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
247. The Height of the Ridiculous
 
By Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
 
I WROTE some lines once on a time
    In wondrous merry mood,
And thought, as usual, men would say
    They were exceeding good.
 
They were so queer, so very queer,        5
    I laughed as I would die;
Albeit, in the general way,
    A sober man am I.
 
I called my servant, and he came;
    How kind it was of him        10
To mind a slender man like me,
    He of the mighty limb.
 
“These to the printer,” I exclaimed,
    And, in my humorous way,
I added (as a trifling jest,)        15
    “There ’ll be the devil to pay.”
 
He took the paper, and I watched,
    And saw him peep within;
At the first line he read, his face
    Was all upon the grin.        20
 
He read the next; the grin grew broad,
    And shot from ear to ear;
He read the third; a chuckling noise
    I now began to hear.
 
The fourth; he broke into a roar;        25
    The fifth; his waistband split;
The sixth; he burst five buttons off,
    And tumbled in a fit.
 
Ten days and nights, with sleepless eye,
    I watched that wretched man,        30
And since, I never dare to write
    As funny as I can.
 

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