cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Poet Appreciation #6: Eliza Lee Follen


While it’s grand to dig away at meaning, symbolism, and theme, it can refreshing to simply enjoy a poem for its bouncy rhythm and rhyme and wit.  This is the case for Eliza Lee Follen’s “Lines on Nonsense.”

Edward Lear renders an appropriate complement for today’s poem.

Lines on Nonsense

Yes, nonsense is a treasure!
I love it from my heart;
The only earthly pleasure
That never will depart.

But, as for stupid reason,
That stalking, ten-foot rule,
She’s always out of season,
A tedious, testy fool.

She’s like a walking steeple,
With a clock for face and eyes,
Still bawling to all people,
Time bids us to be wise.

While nonsense on the spire
A weathercock you’ll find,
Than reason soaring higher,
And changing with the wind.

The clock too oft deceives,
Says what it cannot prove;
While every one believes
The vane that turns above.

Reason oft speaks unbidden,
And chides us to our face;
For which she should be chidden,
And taught to know her place.

While nonsense smiles and chatters,
And says such charming things,
Like youthful hope she flatters;
And like a syren sings.

Her charm’s from fancy borrowed,
For she is fancy’s pet;
Her name is on her forehead,
In rainbow colors set.

Then, nonsense let us cherish,
Far, far from reason’s light;
Lest in her light she perish,
And vanish from our sight.

Eliza Lee Follen (1787-1860), was ten in a family of thirteen children. Born into an affluent Boston family she became a poet, children’s author, editor, and abolitionist. Her children’s verse offerings posed light and nonsensical images in contrast to the more serious ones of her time. She and her husband, Charles Follen had one son.

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One thought on “Poet Appreciation #6: Eliza Lee Follen

  1. Reblogged this on merlinspielen and commented:
    A sprightly silly verse to make us all remember to smile

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