Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Italian & Spanish
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XIII: Italian—Spanish
 
In Praise of Small People
By Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni (1692–1768)
 
LITTLE people, hear my song;
In your praise I’m very strong;
Great big people, go along!
 
In the first place, you’re best made;
That’s a truth can’t be gainsaid,        5
And if it should be, who’s afraid?
 
Beauty shows most art and grace
When she works in little space:
’Tis her most praiseworthy case.
 
For the force, you see, compressed,        10
Is forced to do its very best,
And so it’s famed from east to west.
 
As to folk that threat the skies,
I never could, for all their size,
See whereabouts their merit lies.        15
 
Their make’s all antisymmetry,
All legs and arms; and grant they be
Handsome in face, what’s that, per se?
 
They look like steeples, more extensive
Than of brain-pan comprehensive.        20
Their clothing must be quite expensive.
 
And then their riding, dancing! Oh,
For my part I should like to know
How ever they could be “the go.”
 
Now, your small man does all smugly,        25
Fits in every corner snugly;
And if he’s ugly, he’s less ugly.
 
In peril, who comes off so clean?
In a fight, who more serene?
Besides, he’s very little seen.        30
 
Oh, littleness gives half their worth
To the rarest things on earth!
Pearls are ocean’s prettiest birth.
 
But the big are rocks. To spy ’em
Makes the bravest that go nigh ’em        35
Pale, to think of passing by ’em.
 
Oranges are but small trees,
Yet in pots, lo! how they please;
They’re the garden’s protégés.
 
But your mountain pines, that throw one        40
At such distance, who would grow one
To adorn his window? No one.
 
Lastly, mastiffs. See how they,
Being big, must slink away,
Or, at best, fill kennels—eh?—        45
 
While your lap-dog, who refuses
To be larger than grace chooses,
All in ladies’ linen snoozes.
 
Little people, one and all,
See if now your praise sings small;        50
See if now ye mind the tall!
 
To such reasons cut and dry,
Let their heads be ne’er so high,
What can they possibly reply?
 
 
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