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Comic Miseries



My dear young friend, whose shining wit
Sets all the room a-blaze,
Don't think yourself a "happy dog,"
For all your merry ways;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid, if you can,
It's such a very serious thing
To be a funny man!

You're at an evening party, with
A group of pleasant folks, -
You venture quietly to crack
The least of little jokes, -
A lady doesn't catch the point,
And begs you to explain -
Alas for one that drops a jest
And takes it up again!

You're talking deep philosophy
With very special force,
To edify a clergyman
With suitable discourse, -
You think you've got him - when he calls
A friend across the way,
And begs you'll say that funny thing
You said the other day!

You drop a pretty jeu-de-mot
Into a neighbor's ears,
Who likes to give you credit for
The clever thing he hears,
And so he hawks your jest about,
The old authentic one,
Just breaking off the point of it,
And leaving out the pun!

By sudden change in politics,
Or sadder change in Polly,
You, lose your love, or loaves, and fall
A prey to melancholy,
While everybody marvels why
Your mirth is under ban, -
They think your very grief "a joke,"
You're such a funny man!

You follow up a stylish card
That bids you come and dine,
And bring along your freshest wit
(To pay for musty wine),
You're looking very dismal, when
My lady bounces in,
And wonders what you're thinking of
And why you don't begin!

You're telling to a knot of friends
A fancy-tale of woes
That cloud your matrimonial sky,
And banish all repose -
solemn lady overhears
The story of your strife,
And tells the town the pleasant news:
You quarrel with your wife!

My dear young friend, whose shining wit
Sets all the room a-blaze,
Don't think yourself "a happy dog,"
For all your merry ways;
But learn to wear a sober phiz,
Be stupid, if you can,
It's such a very serious thing
To be a funny man!

John G. Saxe.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:53 min read
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John Godfrey Saxe

John Godfrey Saxe I was an American poet best known for his re-telling of the Indian parable "The Blind Men and the Elephant", which introduced the story to a Western audience. more…

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    "Comic Miseries" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 7 Oct. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/55913/comic-miseries>.

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