Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  The Eternal Yawner

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

Marc-Antoine Désaugiers (1772–1827)

The Eternal Yawner

AH! well-a-day, in all the earth

What can one do?

Where for amusement seek, or mirth?

Ah! well-a-day, in all the earth

What can one do

To cease from yawning here below?

Of mortal man, what is the rôle?

To bustle, eat, and labor ply;

To plot, grow old, and then to die?

Not very lively this, or droll.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

No wonder in my mind begets

The sun, which poets call sublime;

Not this the first or second time

He rises, runs his race, and sets.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

To one dull course the seasons cling:

For full five thousand years we view

The summer following after spring,

And winter autumn’s close pursue.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

My watch (a friend of little use),

Whose hands their tedious circuit ply,

Tells me how slow the hours fly,

Not how I may my hours amuse.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

I half the world have traveled o’er,

To see if men diversion found;

But everywhere, on every ground,

I saw what I had seen before.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

In weariness which I abhorred,

Wishing to know how sped the great,

I dined with men of high estate,

And muttured as I left their board,
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

Wishing to see if, when in love,

Life some unworn amusement has,

Love I attempted, but alas!

Love in all climes the same doth prove.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

Thus being, at this early age,

Of all things sick, both night and day,

In hopes to be more blithe and gay

I did in settled life engage.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

The street where now my life I led,

By neighborhood my steps brought on

To th’ Institute and Odéon,

Which every day I visited.
Ah! well-a-day, etc.

By writing this (hope quickly gone),

To cheer my spirits I essayed;

But yawned the while this song was made,

And now I sing it, still I yawn:
Ah! well-a-day, etc.