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

Oliver Herford (1863–1935)


WHY and Wherefore set out one day

To hunt for a wild Negation;

They agreed to meet at a cool retreat

On the Point of Interrogation.

But the night was dark and they missed their mark,

And, driven well-nigh to distraction,

They lost their ways in a murky maze

Of utter abstruse abstraction.

Then they took a boat, and were soon afloat

On a sea of Speculation;

But the sea grew rough, and their boat, though tough,

Was split into an Equation.

As they floundered about in the waves of doubt,

Rose a fearful Hypothesis,

Who gibbered with glee as they sank in the sea,

And the last they saw was this:

On a rock-bound reef of Unbelief

There sat the wild Negation;

Then they sank once more and were washed ashore

At the Point of Interrogation.