Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  A Rime for Priscilla

The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Frank Dempster Sherman (1860–1916)

A Rime for Priscilla

DEAR Priscilla, quaint and very

Like a modern Puritan,

Is a modest, literary,

Merry young American:

Horace she has read, and Bion

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—

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

On a rose.

Wise Priscilla, dilettante,

With a sentimental mind,

Doesn’t deign to dip in Dante,

And to Milton isn’t kind;

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

(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,

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

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—

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—

She has reveries at times—

Some delightful one of Austin

Dobson’s rimes.

Oh Priscilla, sweet Priscilla,

Writing of you makes me think,

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

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—

One whose fancy is a bright one,

Who is fond of poems fine,

And appreciates a light one

Such as mine.