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

John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)

Ego et Echo

A Fantasy

From “Poetical Works”

I ASKED of Echo, t’other day

(Whose words are few and often funny),

What to a novice she could say

Of courtship, love, and matrimony?

Quoth Echo, plainly: “Matter-o’-money!”

Whom should I marry? should it be

A dashing damsel, gay and pert,

A pattern of inconsistency;

Or selfish, mercenary flirt?

Quoth Echo, sharply: “Nary flirt!”

What if, a-weary of the strife

That long has lured the dear deceiver,

She promised to amend her life,

And sin no more, can I believe her?

Quoth Echo, very promptly: “Leave her!”

But if some maiden with a heart,

On me should venture to bestow it:

Pray, should I act the wiser part

To take the treasure, or forego it?

Quoth Echo, with decision: “Go it!”

Suppose a billet-doux (in rhyme),

As warm as if Catullus penned it,

Declare her beauty so sublime

That Cytherea’s can’t transcend it—

Quoth Echo, very clearly: “Send it!”

But what if, seemingly afraid

To bind her fate in Hymen’s fetter,

She vow she means to die a maid—

In answer to my loving letter?

Quoth Echo, rather coolly: “Let her!”

What if, in spite of her disdain,

I find my heart entwined about

With Cupid’s dear delicious chain,

So closely that I can’t get out?

Quoth Echo, laughingly: “Get out!”

But if some maid with beauty blest,

As pure and fair as Heaven can make her,

Will share my labor and my rest,

Till envious Death shall overtake her?

Quoth Echo (sotto voce): “Take her!”