Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > French
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. X–XI: French
The Eternal Yawner
By Marc-Antoine Désaugiers (1772–1827)
AH! well-a-day, in all the earth
        What can one do?
Where for amusement seek, or mirth?
Ah! well-a-day, in all the earth
        What can one do        5
To cease from yawning here below?
Of mortal man, what is the rôle?
  To bustle, eat, and labor ply;
  To plot, grow old, and then to die?
Not very lively this, or droll.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
No wonder in my mind begets
  The sun, which poets call sublime;
  Not this the first or second time
He rises, runs his race, and sets.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
To one dull course the seasons cling:        15
  For full five thousand years we view
  The summer following after spring,
And winter autumn’s close pursue.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
My watch (a friend of little use),
  Whose hands their tedious circuit ply,        20
  Tells me how slow the hours fly,
Not how I may my hours amuse.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
I half the world have traveled o’er,
  To see if men diversion found;
  But everywhere, on every ground,        25
I saw what I had seen before.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
In weariness which I abhorred,
  Wishing to know how sped the great,
  I dined with men of high estate,
And muttured as I left their board,
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
Wishing to see if, when in love,
  Life some unworn amusement has,
  Love I attempted, but alas!
Love in all climes the same doth prove.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
Thus being, at this early age,        35
  Of all things sick, both night and day,
  In hopes to be more blithe and gay
I did in settled life engage.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
The street where now my life I led,
  By neighborhood my steps brought on        40
  To th’ Institute and Odéon,
Which every day I visited.
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.
By writing this (hope quickly gone),
  To cheer my spirits I essayed;
  But yawned the while this song was made,        45
And now I sing it, still I yawn:
        Ah! well-a-day, etc.

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