The Seven Ages.

The lives of three Wattles, the life of a hound.
The lives of three Hounds the life of a Steed.
The lives of three Steeds the life of a Man.
The lives of three Men, the life of an Eagle.
The lives of three Eagles the life of a Yew.
The lives of three Yews, The length of of an Age,
Seven Ages from Creation to doom.

Mark Twain

Poor Huck was too distressed to smile, but the old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man’s pocket, because it cut down on the doctor’s bills like everything.

Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all doing direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

opening paragrapgh of “A Tale of Two Cities”

Edward Thomas


Yes, I remember Adlestrop —
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop — only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Who Killed Cock Robin

Who killed Cock Robin?
“I,” said the Sparrow
With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin”

Who saw him die?
“I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye,
I saw him die”

Who caught his blood?
“I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish,
I caught his blood …”

Who’ll make his shroud?
“I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle,
I’ll make his shroud.”

Who’ll dig his grave?
“I,” said the Owl,
“With my spade and trowel,
I’ll dig his grave.”

Who’ll be the parson?
“I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book.
I’ll be the parson.”

Who’ll be the clerk?
“I,” said the Lark,
“I’ll say Amen in the dark;
I’ll be the clerk.”

Who’ll be chief mourner?
“I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love;
I’ll be chief mourner.”

Who’ll bear the torch?
“I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll come in a minute,
I’ll bear the torch.”

Who’ll sing his dirge?
“I,” said the Thrush,
“As I sing in the bush
I’ll sing his dirge.”

Who’ll bear the pall?
“We,” said the Wren,
Both the Cock and the Hen;
“We’ll bear the pall.”

Who’ll carry his coffin?
“I,” said the Kite,
“If it be in the night,
I’ll carry his coffin.”

Who’ll toll the bell?
“I,” said the Bull,
“Because I can pull,
I’ll toll the bell.”

All the birds of the air
Fell to sighing and sobbing
When they heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.

Wendy Cope

The Uncertainty of the poet

I am a poet.
I am very fond of bananas.

I am bananas.
I am very fond of a poet.

I am a poet of bananas.
I am very fond.

A fond poet of ‘I am, I am’-
Very bananas.

Fond of ‘Am I bananas?
Am I?’-a very poet.

Bananas of a poet!
Am I fond? Am I very?

Poet bananas! I am.
I am fond of a ‘very.’

I am of very fond bananas.
Am I a poet?