Youre here: Home » Funny Poems » Funny Satire Poems » THE SPLENDID SHILLING


FUNNY POEMS MENU

   » Animal (34)

   » Banter (80)

   » Bathos (17)

   » Burlesque (58)

   » Cynicism (22)

   » Epigrams (29)

   » Immortal Stanzas (14)

   » Juniors (17)

   » Love & Courtship (23)

   » Narrative (64)

   » Nonsense (46)

   » Parody (62)

   » Satire (89)

   » Tribute (16)

   » Whimsical (83)

   » Women (77)

Category: Funny Satire Poems
       Classic humorous and funny poems using irony, exaggeration and ridicule, to expose and criticize stupidity and vices.

  THE SPLENDID SHILLING  

    "... Sing, heavenly Muse!
    Things unattempted yet, in prose or rhyme,"
    A shilling, breeches, and chimeras dire.

Happy the man, who, void of cares and strife,
In silken or in leather purse retains
A Splendid Shilling: he nor hears with pain
New oysters cried, nor sighs for cheerful ale;
But with his friends, when nightly mists arise,
To Juniper's Magpie, or Town-hall repairs:
Where, mindful of the nymph, whose wanton eye
Transfix'd his soul, and kindled amorous flames,
Chloe, or Phillis, he each circling glass
Wisheth her health, and joy, and equal love.
Meanwhile, he smokes, and laughs at merry tale,
Or pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint.
But I, whom griping penury surrounds,
And Hunger, sure attendant upon Want,
With scanty offals, and small acid tiff,
(Wretched repast!) my meagre corpse sustain:
Then solitary walk, or doze at home
In garret vile, and with a warming puff
Regale chill'd fingers: or from tube as black
As winter-chimney, or well-polish'd jet,
Exhale mundungus, ill-perfuming scent:
Not blacker tube, nor of a shorter size,
Smokes Cambro-Briton (vers'd in pedigree,
Sprung from Cadwallador and Arthur, kings
Full famous in romantic tale) when he,
O'er many a craggy hill and barren cliff,
Upon a cargo of fam'd Cestrian cheese,
High over-shadowing rides, with a design
To vend his wares, or at th' Avonian mart,
Or Maridunum, or the ancient town
Yelep'd Brechinia, or where Vaga's stream
Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil!
Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vie
With Massic, Setin, or renown'd Falern.
    Thus while my joyless minutes tedious flow,
With looks demure, and silent pace, a Dun,
Horrible monster! hated by gods and men,
To my aÎrial citadel ascends,
With vocal heel thrice thundering at my gate,
With hideous accent thrice he calls; I know
The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound.
What should I do? or whither turn? Amaz'd,
Confounded, to the dark recess I fly
Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect
Through sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedews
My shuddering limbs, and (wonderful to tell!)
My tongue forgets her faculty of speech;
So horrible he seems! His faded brow,
Intrench'd with many a frown, and conic beard,
And spreading band, admir'd by modern saints,
Disastrous acts forbode; in his right hand
Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves,
With characters and figures dire inscrib'd,
Grievous to mortal eyes; (ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous men!) Behind him stalks
Another monster, not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar call'd
A catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods,
With force incredible, and magic charms,
First have endued: if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch
Obsequious (as whilom knights were wont,)
To some enchanted castle is convey'd,
Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains,
In durance strict detain him, till, in form
Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.
    Beware, ye debtors! when ye walk, beware,
Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken
The caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and oft
Lies perdu in a nook or gloomy cave,
Prompt to enchant some inadvertent wretch
With his unhallowed touch. So, (poets sing)
Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky gap,
Portending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
Sure ruin. So her disembowell'd web
Arachne, in a hall or kitchen, spreads
Obvious to vagrant flies: she secret stands
Within her woven cell: the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly, proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make; with eager strides,
She towering flies to her expected spoils;
Then, with envenomed jaws, the vital blood
Drinks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcasses triumphant drags.
    So pass my days. But when nocturnal shades
This world envelop, and th' inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood;
Me, lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk
Of loving friend, delights: distress'd, forlorn,
Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,
Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts
My anxious mind: or sometimes mournful verse
Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,
Or desperate lady near a purling stream,
Or lover pendent on a willow tree.
Meanwhile I labor with eternal drought,
And restless wish, and rave; my parched throat
Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose:
But if a slumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy's still awake,
Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale,
In vain; awake I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.
    Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarred,
Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays
Mature, john-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,
Nor medlar, fruit delicious in decay;
Afflictions great! yet greater still remain:
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
By time subdued (what will not time subdue!)
An horrid chasm disclos'd with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship,
Long sail'd secure, or through th' Agean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla, or Charybdis (dangerous rocks!)
She strikes rebounding; whence the shatter'd oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea: in at the gaping side
The crowding waves gush with impetuous rage
Resistless, overwhelming; horrors seize
The mariners; Death in their eyes appears,
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they pray
(Vain efforts!) still the battering waves rush in,
Implacable, till, delug'd by the foam,
The ship sinks foundering in the vast abyss.

                                                         John Philips.


Previous Funny Satire Poem | Funny Satire Poems Index | Next Funny Satire Poem

Email this funny poem to a friend

Privacy Policy
Copyright © 1999-2008 eDigg.com. All rights reserved.