Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
A Rime for Priscilla
By Frank Dempster Sherman (1860–1916)
 
DEAR Priscilla, quaint and very
  Like a modern Puritan,
Is a modest, literary,
  Merry young American:
Horace she has read, and Bion        5
  Is her favorite in Greek;
Shakespeare is a mighty lion
  In whose den she dares but peek;
Him she leaves to some sage Daniel,
  Since of lions she’s afraid—        10
She prefers a playful spaniel,
  Such as Herrick or as Praed;
And it’s not a bit satiric
  To confess her fancy goes
From the epic to a lyric        15
  On a rose.
 
Wise Priscilla, dilettante,
  With a sentimental mind,
Doesn’t deign to dip in Dante,
  And to Milton isn’t kind;        20
L’Allegro, Il Penseroso,
  Have some merits, she will grant,
All the rest is only so-so—
  Enter Paradise she can’t!
She might make a charming angel        25
  (And she will if she is good),
But it’s doubtful if the change’ll
  Make the epic understood:
Honeysuckling, like a bee, she
  Goes and pillages his sweets,        30
And it’s plain enough to see she
  Worships Keats.
 
Gay Priscilla—just the person
  For the Locker whom she loves;
What a captivating verse on        35
  Her neat-fitting gowns or gloves
He could write in catching measure,
  Setting all the heart astir!
And to Aldrich what a pleasure
  It would be to sing of her—        40
He, whose perfect songs have won her
  Lips to quote them day by day.
She repeats the rimes of Bunner
  In a fascinating way,
And you’ll often find her lost in—        45
  She has reveries at times—
Some delightful one of Austin
  Dobson’s rimes.
 
Oh Priscilla, sweet Priscilla,
  Writing of you makes me think,        50
As I burn my brown Manila
  And immortalize my ink,
How well satisfied these poets
  Ought to be with what they do
When, especially, they know it’s        55
  Read by such a girl as you.
I who sing of you would marry
  Just the kind of girl you are—
One who doesn’t care to carry
  Her poetic taste too far—        60
One whose fancy is a bright one,
  Who is fond of poems fine,
And appreciates a light one
  Such as mine.
 
 
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