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Literature and Ideas



The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

A book that is commonly edited by a fool. Many persons of some small distinction compile scrap-books containing whatever they happen to read about themselves or employ others to collect. One of these egotists was addressed in the lines following, by Agamemnon Melancthon Peters:

Dear Frank, that scrap-book where you boast
    You keep a record true
Of every kind of peppered roast
        That's made of you;

Wherein you paste the printed gibes
    That revel round your name,
Thinking the laughter of the scribes
        Attests your fame;

Where all the pictures you arrange
    That comic pencils trace —
Your funny figure and your strange
        Semitic face —

Pray lend it me.  Wit I have not,
    Nor art, but there I'll list
The daily drubbings you'd have got
        Had God a fist.