January 12, 2014
Lines on Nonsense
by Eliza Lee Follen

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.


Today's poem is in the public domain.

About This Poem 

Eliza Lee Follen's "Lines on Nonsense" was first published in 1839 in Follen's fifth publication, Poems (1839). 

Poetry by Follen

(The Perfect Library, 2013)





Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

Eliza Lee Follen was born on August 15, 1787, in Boston. A poet and abolitionist, Follen is the author of The Skeptic (1835), 

Sketches of Married Life (1838), and several works for children. Follen died in 1860.


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