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
 
My Familiar
By John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
 
AGAIN I hear that creaking step—
  He’s rapping at the door!—
Too well I know the boding sound
  That ushers in a bore.
I do not tremble when I meet        5
  The stoutest of my foes,
But Heaven defend me from the friend
  Who comes—but never goes!
 
He drops into my easy chair,
  And asks about the news;        10
He peers into my manuscript,
  And gives his candid views;
He tells me where he likes the line,
  And where he’s forced to grieve;
He takes the strangest liberties—        15
  But never takes his leave!
 
He reads my daily paper through
  Before I’ve seen a word;
He scans the lyric that I wrote
  And thinks it quite absurd;        20
He calmly smokes my last cigar,
  And coolly asks for more;
He opens everything he sees—
  Except the entry door!
 
He talks about his fragile health,        25
  And tells me of his pains;
He suffers from a score of ills
  Of which he ne’er complains;
And how he struggled once with death
  To keep the fiend at bay;        30
On themes like those away he goes—
  But never goes away!
 
He tells me of the carping words
  Some shallow critic wrote;
And every precious paragraph        35
  Familiarly can quote;
He thinks the writer did me wrong;
  He’d like to run him through!
He says a thousand pleasant things—
  But never says “Adieu!”        40
 
Whene’er he comes—that dreadful man—
  Disguise it as I may,
I know that, like an autumn rain,
  He’ll last throughout the day.
In vain I speak of urgent tasks;        45
  In vain I scowl and pout;
A frown is no extinguisher—
  It does not put him out!
 
I mean to take the knocker off,
  Put crape upon the door,        50
Or hint to John that I am gone
  To stay a month or more.
I do not tremble when I meet
  The stoutest of my foes,
But Heaven defend me from the friend        55
  Who never, never goes!
 
 
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