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

William Cowper (1731–1800)

Report of an Adjudged Case

BETWEEN Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose;

The spectacles set them unhappily wrong.

The point in dispute was, as all the world knows,

To which the said spectacles ought to belong.

So Tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause

With a great deal of skill and a wig full of learning;

While chief Baron Ear sat to balance the laws,

So famed for his talent in nicely discerning.

“In behalf of the Nose it will quickly appear,

And your lordship,” he said, “will undoubtedly find,

That the nose has had spectacles always in wear,

Which amounts to possession time out of mind.”

Then holding the spectacles up to the Court—

“Your lordship observes they are made with a straddle,

As wide as the bridge of the Nose is; in short,

Design’d to sit close to it, just like a saddle.

“Again, would your lordship a moment suppose—

’Tis a case that has happen’d, and may be again—

That the visage or countenance had not a Nose,

Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles then?

“On the whole, it appears, and my argument shows,

With a reasoning the Court will never condemn,

That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose,

And the Nose was as plainly intended for them.”

Then shifting his side—as a lawyer knows how—

He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes.

But what were his arguments few people know,

For the Court did not think they were equally wise.

So his lordship decreed with a grave, solemn tone,

Decisive and clear, without one if or but:

That, whenever the Nose put his spectacles on,

By daylight or candlelight, Eyes should be shut!