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 Fragment
By Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790–1867)
 
*        *        *        *        *
HIS shop is a grocer’s—a snug, genteel place,
  Near the corner of Oak Street and Pearl;
He can dress, dance, and bow to the ladies with grace,
  And ties his cravat with a curl.
 
He’s asked to all parties—north, south, east and west,        5
  That take place between Chatham and Cherry,
And when he’s been absent full oft has the “best
  Society” ceased to be merry.
 
And nothing has darkened a sky so serene,
  Nor disordered his beauship’s Elysium,        10
Till this season among our élite there has been
  What is called by the clergy “a schism.”
 
’Tis all about eating and drinking—one set
  Gives sponge-cake, a few “kisses” or so,
And is cooled after dancing with classic sherbet,        15
  “Sublimed” [see Lord Byron] “with snow.”
 
Another insists upon punch and perdrix,
  Lobster salad, champagne, and, by way
Of a novelty only, those pearls of our sea,
  Stewed oysters from Lynn-Haven Bay.        20
 
Miss Flounce, the young milliner, blue-eyed and bright,
  In the front parlor over her shop,
“Entertains,” as the phrase is, a party to-night
  Upon peanuts and ginger pop.
 
And Miss Fleece, who’s a hosier and not quite as young,        25
  But is wealthier far than Miss Flounce,
She “entertains” also, to-night, with cold tongue,
  Smoked herring and cherry-bounce.
 
In praise of cold water the Theban bard spoke,
  He of Teos sang sweetly of wine;        30
Miss Flounce is a Pindar in cashmere and cloak,
  Miss Fleece an Anacreon divine.
 
The Montagues carry the day in Swamp Place,
  In Pike Street the Capulets reign;
A limonadière is the badge of one race,        35
  Of the other a flask of champagne.
 
Now as each the same evening her soirée announces,
  What better, he asks, can be done,
Than drink water from eight until ten with the Flounces,
  And then wine with the Fleeces till one!
*        *        *        *        *
        40
 
 
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