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Title: At the Sign of the Sphinx
       Second series

Author: Carolyn Wells

Release Date: June 3, 2015 [EBook #49124]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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At the
Sign of the SPHINX


“Heyday a Riddle! Neither good nor bad!”
King Richard III. iv. 4.




Copyright, 1906, by
Published August, 1906




At the Sign of the Sphinx
Second Series


[Clicking on the number of the riddle will link to the answer.
(note of etext transcriber.)]


THE time has come. The waiting populace
Breathlessly watch him as he slowly mounts
The scaffold. Though his timid, trembling steps
Betoken fear, with calm and steady gaze
He sees my whole above his head. So bright!
So glittering! On that his eyes are fixed.
Garbed all in white, a rope about his waist,
My first upon his feet; silent, although
He suffers agonies untold. But hark!
He calls for drink. By some kind hand is passed
To him a brimming tumbler, and within
He sees my last and he is glad. He drinks,
Then once again turns to my whole. Brave man!
He fears not death, but murmurs to himself:
“This only I desire, that when I die
Men say I did my work and did it well.”


THE scene was merry, bright and gay
As I came to my first one day.
Beside my last I saw a lass
Dispense refreshment in a glass.
She was my first. “My last,” said I,
“I ’ll take a drink, for I am dry.”
Smiling, as she the goblet passed,
She said, “Here you my first my last.”
“My whole,” said I, “ere I depart,
I ’ll say that there is in my heart
(Just here the word must be reversed—)
A wish for your my last my first.”


MY first is now before us, my second is here too;
My whole is now here also,—and yet that ’s not quite true.
My first is,—no, what is it? That is for you to say;
And where ’s my second, tell me, yes, tell me that, I pray,
And I will tell you truly, that though you look around,
You cannot see my whole because it ’s nowhere to be found.


THE dusky shadows deepened and the night was drawing on,
A weary maiden watched my dying first, so nearly gone;
She mused awhile in silence, then to herself she spake,
“Ah, me, but when to-morrow dawns I know my first will break.”
The youth rode on. Like Scott’s brave knight he stayed not for my last;
He lingered not, nor faltered, but pressed onward hard and fast.
Alas! he took the downward course with many dangers rife;
But just in time he used my last and so he saved his life.
My whole, by artists painted and by poets often sung,
Thou hast across the Orient thy royal banners flung.
Thy wonders and thy glories we travel miles to see,
And the benighted wanderer oft sighs in vain for thee.


MY first, thou ’rt beautiful. Thy noble brow,
Thy curving mouth, and straight and classic nose,
All, all are dear to me. And though thou hast
But scanty raiment, though both arms are gone,
And though some toes are missing, even thus,
To those who know thee and who love thee well,
Thou art a thing of beauty and a joy.
An ancient poet, famous for his lyre,
With death was threatened by some wicked rogues.
Courageously escaping from their clutch,
He rode triumphantly upon my whole,
Swiftly propelled and balanced by my last.


MY first in childhood is unknown,
To us ’tis by experience shown;
It has a prominent position
Wherever there ’s an Exhibition.
My last, though old and like to die,
Perhaps possessing but one eye;
Are of small value, people say,
And pass them carelessly each day.
D stands for them, and I have found
Them often in the common pound.
My whole, men struggle to control,
And with my last they meet my whole.


MY first, although of use to men
Is scarcely worth a stiver;
But when a twin, it cannot then
Be managed by a driver.
My first ’s my second and my third,
A thread is wound around it;
I lost it once, and on my word,
’T was by my whole I found it.


MY first is a letter in juxtaposition;
My second ’s a letter in Syro-Phœnician;
My third is a letter in fanfaronade;
My fourth is a letter in rhodomontade;
My fifth is a letter in comicalness;
My whole combines gain and desirableness.


MY first was a hapless queen
Who died one day in Spring;
My first might stand before an Earl
But never before a King.
My second is Erin’s luck,
The end of all success;
My third is a Scandinavian god
Who succoured those in distress.
Scientists disagree
About the immortal soul;
But Evolution seems to prove
We ’re descended from my whole.


MY first was into prison cast,
An angel made my first my last.
My first was hanged; with silent tread
The mourners came to view the dead.
Fair Enid, so the legends say,
Upon my total rode away.


MY powerful first, thou standest in thy stall,
Many a man is held beneath thy thrall;
And men for thee will fortunes gladly spend,
And yet by man thou ’rt bound and boxed and penned.
He stamps upon thee, puts thee on the rack,
And markest thee with stripes across thy back.
My second, goodly joys thou canst convey,
Gladly we take thy round from day to day;
Made of coarse clay, and often underbred,
Dear to the heir, yet buried with the dead.
My whole, what honored titles thou hast borne,
Designed for use, thou also dost adorn;
Allowed to roam, yet kept within the bound,
By thine assistance oft the lost is found.


WHEN out from the clouds the sun had burst,
My first of the people went to my first.
My second and third may be covered with sod,
And one in each town is given to God.
My whole is a dire and terrible deed
Of which in History we may read.


’T WAS not my whole,—and yet the King was there.
A fate hung in the balance. Suddenly
My second fell! A burning flush of shame
Showed on the man’s pale face. He looked aghast,
And cried, “I can’t retract, but I confess
My fault, and beg forgiveness of my first.”


WHEN at an inn I stopped to dine
Mine host brought out some rare old wine,
It was a bottle of his best,
My first and second it possessed,
In peace I ate and drank my fill,
Then asked the waiter for my bill,
My whole was charged! I looked quite blank,
My whole I neither ate nor drank.


I HAD two gardeners who to work were loath,
But straightway to my first I sent them both.
Such lazy fellows! Yet I must admit
A lazier one could be,—my second ’s it.
The ancients’ art my whole doth represent,
A perfect figure softly curved and bent.


HENRY the Eighth grew tired of life
With Catherine, his lawful wife.
But for divorce he ’d no decree;
Enraged, the King cried, “One, two, three!”
But soon my first gave up her soul,
Her body was no more my whole.


A SAD, mad maiden, with a fair, sweet face
Offered my first, and called it herb of grace.
My last is made of common clay, but then
He ’s liked extremely by his fellow-men.
When I would seek instruction for my soul,
I take my prayer-book down and read my whole.


ONE gained and kept the foremost place,
And by my first he won the race.
My second is exceeding black
And often follows after Jack.
In old mythology we read
My whole was served by Ganymede.


AN old philosopher was my last,
And his wife was my first in the distant past.
Select two sticks that are smooth and straight,
Lay them with care and precision great,
One north and south, one east and west,
They are my whole, it must be confessed.


TO the grandest of monarchs that ever was seen
My first was presented by Sheba’s fair queen.
Far, far away back in the ages long past,
According to science, the earth was my last.
My whole, on a rock, is reputed to be
A danger encountered by sailors at sea.


A WISE old proverb advises all
To catch my last if my first should fall.
A poet, who with genius glowed,
Wrote to my whole a famous ode.


MY last are celebrated, noted, learned:
Some will not come for years, and some are gone—
Ah, never to return. And only one
We may with truthfulness assert, exists.
And yet my first can buy them, eat them too,
And set them if he choose; and upon one
Of them he may perhaps send forth my whole;
Or on it may perhaps inscribe my whole;
Or on my whole he may inscribe my last.


WHETHER in winter’s cold or summer’s heat
My lady trails my first along the street.
My second figures in a certain nine;
One of a celebrated Roman line.
Scientists have a theory that my third
Makes music,—but it never has been heard.
A couple of my whole go to a ball;
And on my whole is room enough for all.


MY first is made of clay
And holds a growing palm;
My second brings a day
When all the air seems balm;
My whole is quite a clever feat
Performed by many a young athlete.


MY first ’s possessed by men and dogs and goats,
By houses, churches, books and hats and coats.
My second was a maiden young and fair,
Entrusted to a guardian’s watchful care.
He who ’s my whole cannot achieve great fame;
Read my whole backward and it spells the same.


MY first, though scrutinized with close inspections
Is found above all human imperfections.
I hold it in my hand,—yet though polite,
’T is of no use to me while in my sight.
But still ’tis felt, and in my secret soul
Upon reflection, I commend my whole.
Now nothing can describe my second better
Than the last part of a well-written letter.
My whole cannot escape his fate so sad,
Tradition tells us all his race goes mad.


MY first ’s a sum of money that I have never seen
Though I have earned it often and spent it too, I ween.
When money is my second ’t is often hard to get;
My second is a pretty sight, although it ’s rather wet.
My whole ’s a sad misfortune caused by a summer rain;
It makes much trouble in my first, and goes against the grain.


TO Sodom and Gomorrah on the plain
Was sent a fiery storm of brimstone rain;
When o’er the towns the fearful torrent burst,
One was destroyed, the other was my first.
My last we waste and spend, but cannot save;
And on it we ’ll be carried to our grave.
My whole the rich and poor alike may claim,
But soon it will possess another name.


TO win my first men struggle all their lives,—
Yet willingly present it to their wives.
The wise man no great fortune has amassed,
But lives his life contented with my last.
An infant is my whole at early age;
And Lot’s wife was my whole on Scripture’s page.


MEN travel in my first,
Although perhaps it ’s risky;
My first goes round on wheels,
Though not exactly frisky.
Some may detest charades,
And puzzles may distress them,
But still they must admit
It takes my last to guess them.
Now all that I have said
Is useless in the telling,
Unless you take the word
According to its spelling.
But if you would prefer
A varied information,
We ’ll now divide it up
By its pronunciation.
And then we see my first,
Scaly and sticky-jointed
Upon a rounded base,
And very neatly jointed.
My second then becomes
A horned beast, and hairy;
Or else a lovely lace,
Fit to bedeck a fairy.
When merry Yuletide comes,
And Christmas joys returning,
In the old hall we ’ll sit,
And watch my total burning.


THERE was a bachelor in days of old,
Who wished to get himself a wife, we ’re told.
And so desirous of a wife was he,
He started off to London, one, two, three.
He must have found one to delight his soul,
Because soon after they returned my whole.


MY first, before the fray had ceased,
Offered my whole for my last beast;
Or Shakespeare tells us so at least.


MY first is given and received, a blessing and a bane;
You may buy it at the station, get it gratis on the train;
You may find it in a puppet-booth or in a banquet-hall,
And I think perhaps the Roman is the noblest of them all.
’Twas in my second, long ago, brave men put out to sea;
And at a garden-fête I saw my second flowing free;
And I leaned against my second of strong and solid oak,
But as I grasped my second, alas, it dropped and broke.
My whole at Christmas seasons with holly we entwine;
Upon the old Whig taverns ’t was painted as a sign;
But in its depths lurk dangers, from its floating cakes of ice
To its balmy breath of sugar-cane, its tropic fruits and spice.


ONCE I passed through my whole. ’T was beautiful;
’T was like a fairy-land, so gay, so glad,
So free from care and sorrow. For a time
I staid. Yet eagerly desired the day
When I might leave its simple joys. Ah me,
If but I might return to them again!
My first is always in my whole. Sometimes
My first is in my last. When, long ago,
Red Ridinghood on kindly errand bent,
Walked to her grandam’s cot across the wood,
My last was on my first.


A SPIRIT rising in the air, continued still to fight;
It was my first, who, when alive, put savage hordes to flight.
And for my total, years had filled the Romans with my last,
And at his grim and ghastly blade the conquerors looked aghast.


MY first a well known character on ancient history’s page;
His wooden effigy is sold for youth of tender age.
My second ’s very wicked, and Holy Writ declares
Of those who made my second and the punishing she bears.
My whole hangs from the branching trees,
Swayed lightly by a passing breeze.


IN gorgeous splendor, once upon a time
My second reigned in Afric’s sunny clime;
A slave provoked his monarch’s royal ire,
And stood before him under sentence dire.
“My first, my last,” he stammered, “pity me!
Must I obey thy horrible decree?
Oh, thou who over millions hast control—”
One word the magnate uttered, ’t was my whole.


GREAT Shakespeare was my first; yet when he died
He left my first. By loving hands his clay
Was laid my second in the tomb. And now
His tombstone to the traveler seems to speak,
And say, “My second! here ’s my first!”
The fair Ophelia, gentle, hapless soul,
Sank to a watery grave beneath my whole.


MY first was a scholarly Scotchman of note,
Discourses and essays he learnedly wrote,
My second was found in the post, such a scrawl!
That letter never was opened at all.
My third ’s made of flesh and sinew and bone,
My first, I suppose had two of his own;
My whole is a man delightful to folks
Who enjoy reading jocular jingles and jokes.


AT my first was my friend.
We went for my last;
I ’d a half-hour to spend,
At my first was my friend;
As we went round the bend
O’er my total we passed.
At my first was my friend,
We went for my last.


AH, distinctly I remember
’T was my first and not December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor,
Eagerly I wished the morrow,
Vainly I had sought to borrow
In my last, surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore.
For my whole so rare and radiant,
Whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here forevermore.


SAFE from the cold December storm,
I sat by my whole so bright and warm,
When the cry of my first I plainly heard.
My last sprang up without a word;
And panic-stricken, in sudden fright,
We rushed out into the winter night.


MEN often strive my first to gain
By strength or skill, by speed or worth;
It causes deepest woe and pain,
It causes also joy and mirth.
I watched a tennis-player serve,
And through the air the ball whizzed fast,
But took an unexpected curve;
The umpire said it was my last.
With thoughtful eyes and puzzled brow,
It is my whole you ’re reading now.


BENEATH the Roman Eagle’s glory,
Great Cæsar, famed in song and story,
Triumphant banners floating o’er him,
Carried my Roman first before him.
In springtime days of sunny weather,
When lads and lassies dance together,
Around the May-pole gaily flying,
They are my last, there ’s no denying.
A gallant knight and lovely lady
Were sauntering down a pathway shady;
He offered her, with words beguiling,
My whole, which she accepted, smiling.


A SOLDIER of the rebels lay dying in the field;
A brave but sturdy fighter, he could fall but could not yield.
But a comrade stood beside him while his life-blood trickled fast,
And bent, with pitying glances, to wrap him in my last,
Seeking his country’s glory, e’en in the cannon’s mouth.
Though in the midst of bloodshed, my first stood for the South.
The dying soldier faltered as he took his comrade’s hand,
Saying, “Make my whole, my brother, it is my last command.”


HOPING my first kind Heaven will send her,
The suppliant prays on bended knee.
Like Little Billee, “young and tender,”
We all desire my last shall be.
So that she might become my whole
God breathed in Eve a living soul.


DOROTHY Dauber sat serene,
Painting my total on a screen,
When a little mouse went scampering o’er
Dorothy Dauber’s yellow floor.
Dorothy, with a piercing cry,
Clambered up on a table high;
My first went madly rushing past
Waving vigorously my last.
Such a commotion in the house,
And all on account of a little mouse.


My first, of high degree,
Thousands succumb to thee—
In Oriental countries thou art found;
Beneath thy mighty power
Thy fainting victims cower,
Thy greatness brings them prostrate to the ground.
Unhonored and unsung,
My second was, when young,
Beheaded by a tyrant’s stern decree;
Her home and friends she left,
Her children were bereft,
Yet martyred in a worthy cause was she.
In far Afghanistan,
In China and Japan,
On Greenland’s ice and India’s coral strands;
My whole in mighty hordes,
So history records,
Worship their idols in barbaric bands.


IN a little old school-house that stood on a hill
A little old schoolmaster taught with a will.
But over his pupils he had no control;
They said he was crusty and cross and my whole.
And the rascals declared it would serve him just right
To play him a practical joke some fine night.
So down to the river they went, and they took
My first from my last of the dark, muddy brook.
Then they eagerly hurried, yet still as a mouse,
Till they came to the little old schoolmaster’s house.
They smuggled my first in my last with great glee,
And chuckled to think how irate he would be.


LEAVING my whole with grief and pain
Columbus sailed across the main.
He came at last to western lands
And saw the Red Men’s savage bands.
They were my last, they were my first,
Columbus’ fears were then dispersed.


FROM history’s truthful page,
We all of us may know
My first was strongly built
Thousands of years ago.
The books of ancient lore
We read again and see
That long before my first
My whole was said to be.
And people who lived then,
Had surely never heard
Of the 20th century
My second and my third.


MY grandsire in the Mayflower came across the raging waters,
And so I sought to join the Revolutionary Daughters.
I studied up my pedigree, and when my search was ended,
I learned to my chagrin that from my first I had descended.
The cashier left his books in wild confusion and disorder,
And started to my last across the far Canadian border.
My whole is used by artisans of every clime and nation,
The blacksmith’s need, the mason’s pride, the school-girl’s detestation.


THE breaking waves dashed high,
The vessel rose and fell;
My first was drenched from end to end
With every heavy swell.
The vivid lightning flashed,
The awful thunder boomed.
“Unless my last is sent to us,”
The captain said, “we ’re doomed.”
The tempest cleared away
Before the morning light.
“Within my whole,” the captain said,
“I ’ve not seen such a night.”


MY first, with the meek brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies,
Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet,
If where wild-flowers blossom rank,
You my last upon the bank,
Down the hillside you may roll
And play havoc with my whole.


MY first, men call thee wicked, and perhaps they may be right,
Yet I contend thou shouldst be judged according to thy light.
My last, thou art a messenger received with joy or dread,—
Frequently driven, very deaf, found in an humble shed.
My whole, of upright bearing, and found in many lands,
In order to be seen of men, upon street-corners stands.


THE vast hosts of Egypt, at Pharaoh’s decree,
All blazing in armor marched down to the sea.
The plot was devised in a moment of rage,
By my last, who committed my first ’gainst a sage.
A dry way through the sea for the hosts was revealed;
But this availed naught, for their dark doom was sealed;
The furious billows no power could control,
And ’neath the dark waters they soon were my whole.


CLAD in his ermine and his robes of state,
The haughty king in pomp and splendor sate.
And ’mong the crowds which thronged the regal chair,
My first approached, and looked upon him there,
She, too, with white-furred robe and gentle mien,
And noble air and countenance serene.
“What does she here?” grumbled a doughty knight.
The king replied, “The world hath said she might.”
I walked across a sunny field one day,
And saw an old man working by the way.
“How is my last, old man?” I gaily said.
“My last?” said he, and bent his grizzled head.
“How is my last?” I said it o’er again.
“My last?” he said (he seemed perplexed), and then—
“Is my last good?” I asked of him once more.
“Fine, sir,” he said; “better than e’er before.”
Across the ocean’s wave my total lies;
And, as Lord Tennyson in verse implies,
Is dull and undesirable; but still,
I ’d gladly travel there, had I my will.


MY first, a graceful shape, a lady fair,
Walking the earth, suspended in the air;
Shrill-voiced and brazen-tongued, low-toned and sweet,
Shining and dull, discordant and discreet.
The jolly fisherman, his day’s work o’er,
Walks with his string of fish along the shore;
Knowing they ’ll make a bountiful repast,
He proudly takes them homeward to my last.
Once in my whole a lovely maiden swung,
And ever since we ’ve heard her praises sung.


A WELL known ballad has rehearsed
The placid waters of my first.
The hero bold, his noble friend,
The heroine’s sad, untimely end,
Why by a traitor was immersed
Beneath the waters of my first.
Another ballad I could name
Describes the doings of a dame;
Her home-life, and her walks abroad,
And her companions. We are awed
At all the tales her memories tell,
And what strange happenings befell.
’T is said that she went to my last.
Now this we know: that if she passed
Into my last, and did n’t hand
My last, according to demand,
’T was not my last, and we may say
She was a deadhead in her day.
My whole ’s desired by every one
From day to day, from sun to sun.
For it we pray, we work, we earn;
Look out for it at every turn.
And when at last we ’ve had our day,
My last my first we ’ll have to say.


I MET my whole in a far-distant land,
Shiftless and wild he roamed upon the sand.
“Are you my last?” with sudden fear I said.
He only said my first, and wagged his head.
Yet but reverse the letters of my whole,
A friend we see, a noble loving soul.


THE banners were waving, gems glittered and shone,
When my first and my second ascended the throne,
And peacefully reigned with a merciful sway
In glory and splendor. But one summer day
A message was brought to the court and the state
That the king was not coming, the session must wait.
A great consternation o’er all faces spread;
They whispered in sorrow, “Alack for his head!”
And the courtiers echoed, “Alas for his poll!
Oh, who can now help him, his head is my whole!”


I KNOW a boy; his name ’s my last.
And yet he is my first,
Because of all the scamps I know,
He really is the worst.
I saw him tumble down to-day
And on the pavement roll;
I saw him fight another boy,
I saw him get my whole.
His old cap was my whole, I think;
A tattered coat he had,
And yet, withal, he seemed to be
A very merry lad.


MY first, untidy though thou art,
A noted writer, and a scribe,
This trait of thine hath won my heart:
Thy kindness to the feathered tribe.
My second dwells among the hills,
Or lives on India’s coral strand;
And many hearts with fear it thrills
When marching in a mighty band.
Sailing upon the summer seas,
I watch the yachts and pleasure boats
Spurred on by the propelling breeze—
How gracefully my total floats!


MY first is good when it ’s alone;
The best ones are our mothers’;
And though we have it of our own,
We ’re apt to take another’s.
In many devious paths we stray
When by my first we ’re beckoned;
And by my first we ’re dragged away,
Or else we are my second.
Sometimes my second may be shot,
Which brings much grief and dole;
But when my second’s very hot
It cannot be my whole.


FIRST sign of Liberty! My first has stood
For half a hundred years, and still is good
For half a hundred more. My last, though thin,
Though old and bent, yet lithe and strong, has been
Strung up for killing U. S. Army men,
Perhaps deprived them of my whole; and when
My whole is lacking, he would be a goose
Who said most stovepipes are of any use.


WHEN hunting my last in the forest I heard
In my first, as I passed, the song of a bird;
If you seek in my whole you ’ll discover the word.


MY second once again is running clear,
The young green of my whole begins to appear,
All things my first to show that spring is here.


My whole was a queen
Of disconsolate mien
Who built a large pile in the past;
In sorrow immersed,
She vowed to my first,
And that ’s what she vowed to my last.


IF my last could be placed upon my first,
The world would be the better;
My whole must be carefully rehearsed
If you ’d write a perfect letter.
My last has been laid upon my last;
Bad men in my first are living;
My whole ’s a doctor who may be classed
Among the pleasure-giving.


MY first is the well known historical home
Of a noted historical lady;
My first in strange countries is oft known to roam,
Or along a green path cool and shady.
My first is my lady’s great pride and delight,
Yet they say the fair sex cannot do it;
My first stamps the home, though ’t is oft out of sight;
When I was a child I went through it.
My last is a very queer book, so men say,
So scarce that we rarely can find it;
A most welcome caller, a place far away,
’T is twisted, yet still we can wind it.
My whole, a great healer, thy power I allow,
Though others thy help may be scorning;
For ere I go worldward, to thee I must bow,
And beseech thine assistance each morning.


WHEN brave Leander was immersed,
And through the waters passed,
We ’re very sure he was my first,
But he was not my last.
And my whole garments which he wore,—
This young enthusiast,—
Laid in my first upon the shore,
Would have become my last.


MY first is my last, and my first is my whole;
My whole is my last and my first;
My whole is a ball I attempted to roll,
But I think of all balls ’t was the worst.


MY first is old and yellow,
Withered and seamed by age;
A most discerning fellow,
Oracular and sage.
My last comes in the winter,
But not in storm or blast;
The sluggard and the printer
Will often take my last.
My whole is a goddess of fabulous fame.
Or a long line of articles, somewhat the same.


A KING had many wives,
Of whom my first was one;
He spoiled their happy lives,
Apparently for fun.
And some he sent away,
Of home and friends bereft;
Of some, ere they could pray,
The steel my last had cleft.
With each, successively,
The King found some pretext
For banishment; and he
Would then my whole the next.


A TRAVELER rode hard and fast,
Shivering with cold and dread.
“If I can but reach my first in my last,
I shall then be safe,” he said.
The way was rocky and dark and steep,
My last was flying past;
He sought for an inn where he might sleep,
Sheltered from storm and blast.
He traveled on, through mud and mire,
When, to his great delight,
He saw an inn and a friendly fire,
And went there for the night.
And from him shouts of laughter burst—
He reveled in my whole,
Which quickly made my last my first,
And cheered his lonely soul.


NOW glory to the Lord of Hosts, from whom all glories are,
And glory to our sovereign liege, King Henry of Navarre!
He was my first, a mighty man, a warrior for the right;
He showed my whole, and went my first when he my last to fight.
Although my last is duty’s cry, with some it goes for naught;
In all adventures have my whole, if you would not be caught.


HIGH in my first they waved the flag,
’Mid shouts of wild applause;
And soldiers brave marched to my first,
And fought to win the cause.
Without my second we could not
Assert that “Right is might,”
Nor “Virtue is its own reward,”
Nor other proverbs trite.
My last we all admit to be
A blessing unsurpassed;
Though some would give my last for all,
Some give all for my last.
We often pass my total by
With but a hurried look;
And though we cannot read it, yet
We find it in a book.


I WAS sitting in my study—
In my first the fire was ruddy,
And I watched it as I idly clasped my whole;
Though a sober man I ’m reckoned,
To my lips I raised my second,
For I never was addicted to the bowl.
I was waiting for my daughter,
And at last I went and sought her—
She has tresses like a golden aureole;
But she hastily retreated,
For her face was flushed and heated,
And her pretty curls were clustering round my whole.


MY first did my last
To make my whole;
His day is past,
Poor, restless soul!


SOME things we could well do without;
In my total we gather with care.
If my last ever lived, I ’ve no doubt
That he is my first, now, somewhere.


MY whole ’s very narrow, but oft it may be
A way of escape that is welcomed with glee.
My first, although swift, sometimes loses the race;
It is seen when we look a friend in the face.
My last we may estimate, measure, or guess,
The width of a coat and the length of a dress.


ALTHOUGH his course the captain could my whole to a degree,
Called to my first, he was my last upon a stormy sea.


YOU can turn my first, and it gives a nod;
You can turn my last if you will;
But the more you try to turn my whole,
The more it stands stock-still.


WHEN the story about Looking Backward we read,
We learn of a strange human being,
Who turned to my first; unlike many deed,
The trouble was caused by far-seeing.
In my second (though flowing with honey, I ’ve heard)
I hope I shall ne’er be a dweller;
And yet from my first to my second and third
Is as far as from attic to cellar.
My whole comes in pairs, and is useful to all,
Though its style may be out of all reason;
Its fashions are changing, now large and now small,
And we ’re glad if it holds but a season.


THE sparkling wine was bright and red; ’t was tempting, but, alas!
Full well I knew my whole, unseen, was lurking in the glass.
And when, with wily argument, they offered it to me,
I said I would not drink, and what I one, two, three!


MY first, when full, holds many a pound;
In my last of my first a duke was drowned.
My first of Troy is much renowned;
My last an obstacle oft is found;
’Mid songs and dances they heard the sound
Of my whole one time when a king was crowned.


MY first can boast a head and tail,
Has feathers and an eye,
And sometimes wings; yet what avail?
It cannot walk or fly.
And St. Paul was my first, we ’re told;
And my first may be bought
In bottles,—but though rare and old,
Its value ’s almost naught.
Out of my last my first is made,
My last is in a crown;
And heroes wield its shining blade
For glory and renown.
My whole, a marvel of brute force
With human power combined;
We never see it now, of course,
We ’ve left it far behind.


MY first, the Scriptures say, in Eden grew.
Pronounce its letters—there ’s my whole for you!
My last name to myself I can’t apply;
My whole, tradition says, could never lie.


MY last was very tall and very slim
So all his people made a mock of him;
Their jeerings worried him and grieved his soul;
And when a clown with jest and laughter passed,
And said, “Aha! you are my first, my last!”
He said, “Don’t speak to me; I am my whole.”


I ’d oft be thankful, could I be my whole;
And yet I would not always be my whole;
I woo my first, that I may be my whole;
Cockneys call her my last; but in my whole
When to my first I go, I am my whole.


“A BIRD in the hand is worth two in the bush,”
How often we ’ve heard those old words,
And my total, I have it on evidence strong,
Is exactly the worth of two birds.
The dome of St. Paul’s is my first, my last;
The dome of St. Peter’s is, too;
But if you should go there and see for yourself,
You would say that this is n’t true.


’TIS growing dusk, yet in the gathering gloom
I still can see two faces in the room.
On one face two of my first I can spy,
And on the other twenty I descry.
And of my second, one face shows me none
While I see five upon the other one.
My whole is on one face; but placed with care
Above the other rests on shining hair.


MY first grows by the riverside,
And in the fields it has been seen;
’T is raised on poles, the country’s pride,
Dear to the peasant and the queen.
The men had many battles braved,
And on my last I saw them sit,
Beside the General, who waved
My last, and read aloud a writ.
Beside a river flowing free,
The spot marked by a grassy mound,
My whole, nicknamed “Old Hickory,”
Was long ago put in the ground.


MY whole drops from trees.
My last is a season,
When as every one sees
My whole drops from trees.
My first is a breeze,
And that is the reason
My whole drops from trees.
My last is a season.


MY first is black and white and blue and red,
’T is yellow, yes, and sometimes it is gray;
’T is high and low, ’t is restless and ’t is dead,
’T is writ for us to read and sing and play.
My last is greeted with delight and dread,
The farmer’s solace and the farmer’s bane;
Trod by his feet, yet worn upon his head,
Refreshed and ruined by a drenching rain.
My whole lay deep beneath the waves, they said,
But bravely rescued from the billow’s roll,
Though dripping wet upon the sands outspread,
With gladness and delight I pressed my whole.


THE melancholy days have come, the saddest of the year;
There ’s not a flower on all the hills because my first is here.
And through the keen and wintry air I watch the leaves my last;
I shall not see my whole again until the winter ’s past.


THE jolly old farmer was my last;
As he went to my first, o’er my total he passed.


AN artist stepped into an office one day,
And held up my first for the clerk to survey;
“It ’s a good black and white,
But it is n’t quite right,
For I just drew it off in a hurry last night.
It ’s not very fine,
Nor of novel design,
But I hope ’t will be taken and hung on the line.”
He had scarcely gone out when a lady came by,
And she stopped in to ask if my second was dry.
“ ’T was a canvas,” she said,
“And it fills me with dread,
To think that the colors have faded or spread.”
Well, I sat there all day,
In that very same way,
Amazed at the endless and changing array
Of my whole that appeared in a motley display;
Percale and piqué,
Some green and some gray,
Worn in all colors and worn in all shades,
Worn by the ladies and worn by the maids,
By large and by small,
By short and by tall,
Till I ran away home to get out of it all.


AS my first was walking with weary step, on a drear and lonely road,
With a heavy heart and a downcast glance, of my second be bore a load;
He saw my third, he was soon my third, he had reached his welcome goal,
And with song and dance and merry jest, he listened to my whole.


BENEATH the gaslight’s brilliant glare
The feast was spread with dainties rare.
My whole was set with silver fine,
And shining glass and sparkling wine.
A wise professor, old and staid,
Was talking to a chattering maid.
In ancient lore she was not versed,
She was my last, and he my first;
While I across the table sat,
Wishing I could enjoy her chat.


OLD Deacon Griggs made money fast;
His greatest virtue was my last.
But his son John turned out my whole,
Which grieved the deacon’s sordid soul;
For hast’ning to my first, the son
Disbursed the gold that Griggs had won.


AN ancient family of Chaldee
Went from my first to Canaan’s land.
My second I can never see,
But I can hold it in my hand.
My whole is found on the ocean’s bed,
Though often on pillows he rests his head.


UPON my last I saw a yacht;
My last is smooth, my first is not.
My first felt Alexander’s blade,
My last has formed a strong blockade;
Both can be broken, cut or made;
And when you see my whole displayed
Upon my last, oh, then beware!
To venture near it do not dare.


MY first is often broken, ’t is so frail;
Sometimes it has a head, sometimes a tail;
Lives in the water, worn upon the hand,
Dooms the offender, represents a land.
My last is found on mankind and on brute,
Possessed alike by fish and fowl and fruit.
The daring mariner who seeks the pole,
Failing to find it, may secure my whole.


A SOLDIER and a sailor met
One day upon the shore;
And one was my first with a coat of my last,
And my whole the other wore.


MAID of Athens, ere we part,
Hear my first with tender heart;
Ere another hour is past,
Let me be of thee my last.
Then behold my very soul
Filled o’erflowing with my whole.


THE yacht was flying fast; the day was fair;
The sky was clear and blue; and my first, white
Upon the sailors and upon the sea.
I stood upon the deck, and with my last
I saw the distant shores of Barnegat,
I watched the heaving billows roll and toss,
I thought that we were going to my whole.


IT was my whole, a thunder-storm had burst;
My last was fierce, and filled us with my first.


A COLLEGE youth toward magic yearned,
And all the wizard’s arts he learned.
He had the mumbo-jumbo pat,
And made my first in his silk hat,
Sorcery, black art, and all the rest
He could accomplish with the best;
And when, as wizard, he fell flat,
He made my last in his silk hat.
Dressed for the street, he chanced to pass
One day, before his cheval-glass;
With faultless garb and new cravat,
He saw my whole in his silk hat.


WHEN Pope remarked, “Whatever is, is right,”
His words were half my first. When Hamlet said,
“To be or not to be,” my first was part
Of his great speech, and even now
My first is plain before your eyes. My last,
Provides a home and sustenance for all;
A welcome shout; an exclamation used
By country folk or those of little wit.
My whole my first my last.


NO one can work as fast
As my first my last.
My whole presents at will
An enormous bill.


WHEN from my ivied casement I look down
Upon the garden bathed in sunset glow
I see my first ranged in imposing rows
Yet distant as the poles,
I hear the noise
Of merry children romping in their glee;
I hear their laughter and I hear my last.
A hero of my youthful days there was,
Who, with inquiring mind and hatchet sharp,
Upon my whole reached everlasting fame.


MY first was ground beneath the oppressor’s wheel,
Subjected unto barbarous tyrannies;
With ears cut off, encaged in netted wire
Into a burning fiery furnace thrust.
My first take from my second, and my whole
My second is a faithful friend.
Gaily with him across the moors I go
From morn to dewy eve.
I went one day
To visit an old man. Beside the fire
He sate. His well-loved pipe, made of my whole,
He smoked in calm and undisturbed content.


MY first ’s a very common thing,—
It has been worn by cat and king;
Part of my lady’s fine attire,
The soldier’s pride, the tramp’s desire.
My second, with a vacant stare,
Jaunty red cap and curling hair,
Once at a gay and festive scene,
Captured a bright and smiling queen.
My whole is very often used
To hit a beast that ’s much abused.


MY dogs I love, my horses I adore;
They ’re much to me, and yet my last is more.
And though my first is less, my whole I know,
Has ever been my last’s unconquered foe.


A BRAVE man looked forth and a figure he saw;
’T was bound to my first—he surveyed it with awe.
And as it was fast disappearing from sight,
He began to my second with furious might.
An often-fought foe, very hard to control,
In the Scriptures we read of the fall of my whole.


IN certain realms men have to bring
My first to earth before their king;
In others, they are only bound
To make my second touch the ground.
My whole ’s a curious little man—
One of a most amusing clan.


THOUGH some one spoke this truthful word,
“The pen is mightier than the sword,”
Without my first, you ’ll all agree,
Of little use the pen would be.
Deep in my second, long ago,
Young Mr. Green was said to throw
A victim innocent of wrong,
The hero of a well-known song.
What products of what mighty brains!
What wond’rous books my whole contains!
What reams of prose and verse! Yet all
Tinged with the bitterness of gall!


EAGERLY I my first the pack
So that we might pursue the game;
I made a good deal, but the lack
Of interest made the sport seem tame.
My second ladies richly gowned
May see in patterns of their silk,
My second also may be found
In terrapin and buttermilk.
My whole will fly right merrily
O’er many a cold and chilly mile;
’T is only one, yet verily
’T would equally describe a file.


MY first bears many a noble name,
Two letters add, ’t is still the same.
I saw my second in dark waters
It was the last of noble daughters.
My whole, though very picturesque,
May be quite ugly and grotesque;
And Shakespeare used the word to mean
The witches in a ghastly scene.



8.Expediency (X pd n c)
39.Humorist (Hume o wrist)
73.Ceres (Series)

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