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

Eva L. Ogden

The Sea

From “The Century Magazine,” December, 1881

SHE was rich, and of high degree;

A poor and unknown artist he.

“Paint me,” she said, “a view of the sea.”

So he painted the sea as it looked the day

That Aphrodite arose from its spray;

And it broke, as she gazed on its face the while,

Into its countless-dimpled smile.

“What a poky, stupid picture!” said she;

“I don’t believe he can paint the sea!”

Then he painted a raging, tossing sea,

Storming, with fierce and sudden shock,

Wild cries, and writhing tongues of foam,

A towering, mighty fastness-rock.

In its sides, above those leaping crests,

The thronging sea-birds built their nests.

“What a disagreeable daub!” said she;

“Why, it isn’t anything like the sea!”

Then he painted a stretch of hot, brown sand,

With a big hotel on either hand,

And a handsome pavilion for the band—

Not a sign of the water to be seen

Except one faint little streak of green.

“What a perfectly exquisite picture!” said she;

“It’s the very image of the sea!”