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Category: Funny Narrative Poems
       Classic humorous and funny story poems. Narrative poems are written accounts of connected events in poetry format.

  SAYING NOT MEANING  

Two gentlemen their appetite had fed,
When opening his toothpick-case, one said,
"It was not until lately that I knew
That anchovies on terr' firm' grew."
"Grow!" cried the other, "yes, they grow, indeed,
    Like other fish, but not upon the land;
You might as well say grapes grow on a reed,
    Or in the Strand!"

"Why, sir," returned the irritated other,
                            "My brother,
        When at Calcutta
Beheld them bon' fide growing;
        He wouldn't utter
A lie for love or money, sir; so in
    This matter you are thoroughly mistaken."
"Nonsense, sir! nonsense! I can give no credit
To the assertion--none e'er saw or read it;
    Your brother, like his evidence, should be shaken."

"Be shaken, sir! let me observe, you are
    Perverse--in short--"
"Sir," said the other, sucking his cigar,
    And then his port--
"If you will say impossibles are true,
    You may affirm just anything you please--
That swans are quadrupeds, and lions blue,
    And elephants inhabit Stilton cheese!
Only you must not force me to believe
What's propagated merely to deceive."

"Then you force me to say, sir, you're a fool,"
        Return'd the bragger.
Language like this no man can suffer cool:
        It made the listener stagger;
    So, thunder-stricken, he at once replied,
    "The traveler lied
    Who had the impudence to tell it you;"
"Zounds! then d'ye mean to swear before my face
That anchovies don't grow like cloves and mace?"
        "I do!"

Disputants often after hot debates
    Leave the contention as they found it--bone,
And take to duelling or thumping tÍtes;
    Thinking by strength of artery to atone
For strength of argument; and he who winces
From force of words, with force of arms convinces!

With pistols, powder, bullets, surgeons, lint,
    Seconds, and smelling-bottles, and foreboding,
    Our friends advanced; and now portentous loading
(Their hearts already loaded) serv'd to show
It might be better they shook hands--but no;
    When each opines himself, though frighten'd, right,
    Each is, in courtesy, oblig'd to fight!
And they did fight: from six full measured paces
    The unbeliever pulled his trigger first;
And fearing, from the braggart's ugly faces,
    The whizzing lead had whizz'd its very worst,
Ran up, and with a duelistic fear
    (His ire evanishing like morning vapors),
Found him possess'd of one remaining ear,
    Who in a manner sudden and uncouth,
    Had given, not lent, the other ear to truth;
For while the surgeon was applying lint,
He, wriggling, cried--"The deuce is in't--
    Sir, I meant--|CAPERS|!"

                                         William Basil Wake.


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