by Griffith Alexander
When students came, full of ambition, to the great scientist Agassiz, he
gave each a fish and told him to find out what he could about it. They
went to work and in a day or two were ready for their report. But
Agassiz didn't come round. To kill time they went to work again,
observed, dissected, conjectured, and when at the end of a fortnight
Agassiz finally appeared, they felt that their knowledge was really
exhaustive. The master's brief comment was that they had made a fair
beginning, and again he left. They then fell to in earnest and after
weeks and months of investigation declared that a fish was the most
fascinating of studies. If our interest in life fails, it is not from
material to work on. No two leaves are alike, not two human beings are
alike, and if we are discerning, the attraction of any one of them is
The Grumpy Guy
The Grumpy Guy was feeling blue; the Grumpy Guy was
The Grumpy Guy with baleful eye took Misery for a chum.
He hailed misfortunes as his pals, and murmured, "Let 'em come!"
"Oh, what's the blooming use?" he yelped, his face
an angry red,
"When everything's been thought before and everything's been said?
And what's a Grumpy Guy to do except to go to bed?
"And where's the joy the poets sing, the merriment
How can one start a thing that's new when everything's begun?
When everything's been planned before and everything's been done?
"When everything's been dreamed before and
everything's been sought?
When everything that ever ran has, so to speak, been caught?
When every game's been played before and every battle fought?"
I started him at solitaire, a fooling, piffling
He played it ninety-seven hours and failed to find it tame.
In all the times he dealt the cards no two games were the same.
He never tumbled to its tricks nor mastered all its
He grunted, "Well, this takes the cake, the pickles and preserves!
Its infinite variety is getting on my nerves."
"Its infinite variety!" I scoffed. "Just fifty-two
Poor trifling bits of pasteboard - -their
Compared to what there is in man - the poorest - even you!
"Variety! You'll never find in forty-seven decks
One tenth of the variety found in the gentler sex.
Card combinations are but frills to hang around their necks.
"The sun won't rise to-morrow as it came to us
'Twill be older, we'll be older, and to Time this debt we pay.
For nothing can repeat itself, for nothing knows the way."
Then the Grumpy Guy was silent as a miser hoarding
He knew 'twas time to put his grouch away upon the shelf.
And so he did - you see, I was just talking to myself!