O! Samuel Johnson was a clam,
And a very clever clam was he.
He’d quip up a storm twice a day at low tide,
With his pal named Edgar, a flea.
They’d joke and they’d laugh till the tide rolled in
And when it rolled out they’d begin again.
Behold them jesting, flea and clam!
Thus friendship formed upon the strand.
To fly above that chummy scene,
It made the bleach-white gulls turn green.
But O! how fate conspires to blast
The highest tides of friendships past!
For Sam misspoke and, thoughtless, blurt,
A word that Edgar’s flea-lings hurt!
And — quel domage! — there was no way
To remedy the rift that day.
For Samuel quipped he’d rather be
A bivalve with a speech defect,
Than chatter long and volubly
With perfect pitch and be a flea.
Then Edgar in flea-ish fit,
Declared a pox on clammy wit.
And then and there resolved to go
To inland clamless places, so
He leapt aboard a hairy dog
and fled to Germany.
Now Sam’s alone and I record,
This tale of friendship and discord.
Let’s pray this tale of clam-stung flea,
Trasmuted here in poesy,
Might grant Sam immortality!
(But don’t mix him up with the other Sam J.
That one had Boswell. This one has me.)