The Anatomy of Wit


—for John Lyly

It is Wit, yes Wit, my dears—
That maketh us Ladies of Leisure 

That maketh the poor Rich—
The base-born into the tres-Noble

The mere Subject into a Sovereign—
The Peon into a gracious Queen Bee

The Deformed into the Beautiful—
The Sick Whole, the Weak Strong

The most Miserable into—
The Most Happy and the Most Gay


I try to be Gaceful and Witty—
Just like that Queen John Lyly

I try to illustrate Intellectual Fashions—
And favorite Themes of Renaissance Society

Can there be Wit in today’s England?—
Can Prince Harry possibly be my Pomopdour? 

Can I be Artificial and Mannered like—
Back then when it was so Gay, my dears?

Highly Artificial and Mannered in Style—
Tres Moderne and Petite Pallace of Pettie?

The plots so Unimportant & Existing merely—
As Conversations, Discourses and Letters? 

Mostly concerning the Subject of Love—
As in George Pettie's "A Petite Pallace of Pettie” 

My Pleasure in Tacky Sermon Literature—
And all those Boring, Closeted Vatican tracts

Perfecting the Distinctive Rhetorical Devices—
On which the Gay Style will be Perfected


There are two principal and peculiar gifts—
In the nature of man: Knowledge and Reason

The one Commandeth, my dears—
And the Other obeyeth down on her knees

These things neither the—
Whirling Wheel of Fortune can change

Nor the deceitful cavillings of worldlings—
Separate, nor sickness abate, nor age abolish


Is it not far better to abhor Heteronormatives—
By the remembrance of their Tacky Faults?

After all my dears, the Repentance of thine—
Own Follies surely can’t compare to the Straights?


Can any treasure in this transitory pilgrimmage—
Be of more value than a treasured gay friend? 

In whose bosom thou mayest sleep secure—
Without fear, whom thou mayest make Partner?

All thy secrets without suspicion of Fraud—
Partaker of all thy Misfortune without Mistrust

Who will account thy Bale his Bane—
Thy Mishap his Misery and Sympathy?

The Pricking of thy Finger—
The Piercing of your Heart?


How Frantic are those Lovers carried away—
With the gay glissening of the fine Face? 

The Beauty whereof so Parched with the—
Summer's blaze and Cool of the Winter's Blast

Which is of so short Continuance—
That it Fadeth before one Perceive it Flourish


My dear coy Neapolitan Ladies of Leisure—
Let us Discuss the Queenly Qualities of Mind

And whether the Composition of the Man—
Is more worthy of our astute Attention

Time hath weaned us from Mommy Dearest—
And Age rid us from our Father's Correction 


Lucilla, considering her father's reaction in—
Abandoning her fiance Philanthus for Euphues

A sharp Sore hath a short cure, my dear—
The fickle Fervency of Men is Commonplace

It may be hard won without Trial—
But be of great Faith, they are so Fickle

Alas, my dears, what Truth can be—
Found in a mere One Night Stand even now?

What could be more like the Wind than—
Our own ever fleeting Plighted Perjury 

When We and They hoist sail?

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