Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > American
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. I–V: American
 
Ego et Echo
By John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
 
A Fantasy

From “Poetical Works”

I
I ASKED of Echo, t’other day
  (Whose words are few and often funny),
What to a novice she could say
  Of courtship, love, and matrimony?
  Quoth Echo, plainly: “Matter-o’-money!”        5
 
II
Whom should I marry? should it be
  A dashing damsel, gay and pert,
A pattern of inconsistency;
  Or selfish, mercenary flirt?
  Quoth Echo, sharply: “Nary flirt!”        10
 
III
What if, a-weary of the strife
  That long has lured the dear deceiver,
She promised to amend her life,
  And sin no more, can I believe her?
  Quoth Echo, very promptly: “Leave her!”        15
 
IV
But if some maiden with a heart,
  On me should venture to bestow it:
Pray, should I act the wiser part
  To take the treasure, or forego it?
  Quoth Echo, with decision: “Go it!”        20
 
V
Suppose a billet-doux (in rhyme),
  As warm as if Catullus penned it,
Declare her beauty so sublime
  That Cytherea’s can’t transcend it—
  Quoth Echo, very clearly: “Send it!”        25
 
VI
But what if, seemingly afraid
  To bind her fate in Hymen’s fetter,
She vow she means to die a maid—
  In answer to my loving letter?
  Quoth Echo, rather coolly: “Let her!”        30
 
VII
What if, in spite of her disdain,
  I find my heart entwined about
With Cupid’s dear delicious chain,
  So closely that I can’t get out?
  Quoth Echo, laughingly: “Get out!”        35
 
VIII
But if some maid with beauty blest,
  As pure and fair as Heaven can make her,
Will share my labor and my rest,
  Till envious Death shall overtake her?
  Quoth Echo (sotto voce): “Take her!”        40
 
 
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