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Category: Funny Cynicism Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems using cynicism and a disdain for general opinion, as well as distrust of the intentions of others.


It once might have been, once only:
    We lodged in a street together.
You, a sparrow on the house-top lonely,
    I, a lone she-bird of his feather.

Your trade was with sticks and clay,
    You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished,
Then laughed, "They will see some day
    Smith made, and Gibson demolished."

My business was song, song, song;
    I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered,
"Kate Brown's on the boards ere long,
    And Grisi's existence embittered!"

I earned no more by a warble
    Than you by a sketch in plaster;
You wanted a piece of marble,
    I needed a music-master.

We studied hard in our styles,
    Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos,
For air, looked out on the tiles,
    For fun watched each other's windows.

You lounged, like a boy of the South,
    Cap and blouse--nay, a bit of beard too;
Or you got it rubbing your mouth
    With fingers the clay adhered to.

And I--soon managed to find
    Weak points in the flower-fence facing,
Was forced to put up a blind
    And be safe in my corset-lacing.

No harm! It was not my fault
    If you never turned your eyes' tail up,
As I shook upon E in alt.,
    Or ran the chromatic scale up:

For spring bade the sparrows pair,
    And the boys and girls gave guesses,
And stalls in our streets looked rare
    With bulrush and watercresses.

Why did not you pinch a flower
    In a pellet of clay and fling it?
Why did I not put a power
    Of thanks in a look, or sing it?

I did look, sharp as a lynx,
    (And yet the memory rankles,)
When models arrived, some minx
    Tripped up-stairs, she and her ankles.

But I think I gave you as good!
    "That foreign fellow--who can know
How she pays, in a playful mood,
    For his tuning her that piano?"

Could you say so, and never say,
    "Suppose we join hands and fortunes,
And I fetch her from over the way,
    Her, piano, and long tunes and short tunes?"

No, no; you would not be rash,
    Nor I rasher and something over:
You've to settle yet Gibson's hash,
    And Grisi yet lives in clover.

But you meet the Prince at the Board,
    I'm queen myself at bals-parĂˆ,
I've married a rich old lord,
    And you're dubbed knight and an R. A.

Each life's unfulfilled, you see;
    It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
    Starved, feasted, despaired--been happy.

And nobody calls you a dunce,
    And people suppose me clever:
This could but have happened once,
    And we missed it, lost it forever.

                                    Robert Browning.

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