Monday, August 25, 2008


LYRE, n. An ancient instrument of torture. The word is now used in a figurative sense to denote the poetic faculty, as in the following fiery lines of our great poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
I sit astride Parnassus with my lyre,
And pick with care the disobedient wire.
That stupid shepherd lolling on his crook
With deaf attention scarcely deigns to look.
I bide my time, and it shall come at length,
When, with a Titan's energy and strength,
I'll grab a fistful of the strings, and O,
The word shall suffer when I let them go!
—Farquharson Harris
2008 Update:  The musical instrument plucked by muses in heaven until the Christian era advanced angels with harps, more expansive instruments better suited to lamenting the sinfulness of the churched.


Anonymous said...

LYRE, n. Soap. So called because it is made from lye. This explains the aversion of many worthy persons and cultures to the use of soap, as they fear it will make a lyre of them.

TLP said...

Lyrer, lyrer, harps on fire. That's what the angels chant.

Anonymous said...

Diogenes' "clothes".

Really Doug, I shouldn't have had to tell you that!

(TLP's answer is great!)

Tom & Icy said...

Maybe a lyre is for people who can't afford a harp, and are tone death.

Anonymous said...

Great last line re sinfullness of "the churched." It's a common joke in amishland that some people need to go to church more often than the rest of us. Especially if they grow tobacco and operate puppy mills.

Jamie Dawn said...

I was gonna say Lyre, lyre, Pants on fyre, then I read TLP's comment and decided to say it any way.


I believe Lyre's sister's name is Zither.

Jim said...

Lyre: The first Lyre doesn't have a chance."

Lyre: That's what people from Iowa are (Lyres) when they try to tell you that "the excitement begins in Iowa." :-)

Lyre: I'd really rather play my harp. Especially because you said us angels play those.
Oh I know, LIAR.

Doug The Una said...

Amoeba, I think you've washed your mouth recently, haven't you?

TLP, are you sure they don't chant "Gloria in exelcis Deo?" Are you putting me on?

That's funny, Quilly and I should have known.

Or for dogs who make puns, Icy.

Sauerkraut, the amish always seem wise until you're driving behind a buggy.

Sister Zither, JD? I like it and think J. should call you that from now on.

Now, Jim, when I left "Is this heaven?" was still the slogan but I still say the Zadar omelet at the Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City is exciting.

Actonbell, in case you really wanted an explanation the joke is that the accordion is an instrument of torture. As a sneak preview of coming attractions, here's Bierce defending Gary Larson: ACCORDION, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin.

Of course, by the time Larson drew that cartoon, Bierce must have had an accordion of his own.

TLP said...

How the hell would I know what angels chant?

hxjrwfig: how'd junior get that fig he's wearing?

Ariel the Thief said...

"Bierce defending Gary Larson: ACCORDION, n. An instrument in harmony with the sentiments of an assassin."


It is so wrong, though. Accordion is wonderful.

Cooper said...

I have nothing really for lyre. For your information I've gathered some simple directions for making one, not "one out of me", but out of wood.

All good muses have one, and so shall you.

Please send pictures when complete.

The Boy from S.A.C.A.D.A. said...

You cant call me a lyre and thats the trooth!

Anonymous said...

Personaly I think we will have ONNEST instramant's in HEAVEN such as the Electrick Gitar!!!

Doug The Una said...

TLP, don't Unitarian atheists chant with angels over whiskey and cards?

Ariel, Americans and Europeans hear the accordion differently. If I turn on my TV and hear accordion I know the movie takes place in Budapest and features gypsies, vampires and/or spies stealing golden icons.

Well thank you, Cooper. I bet I could learn to accompany my singing pretty quick.

Boy, of course you're a Lute.

Pansi, but will there be drummers?

Anonymous said...

Well there woud be the Little Drumer Boy of coarse and there must be other's cuz ware do you think Thunder come's from????

Doug The Una said...

Heaven's tuba?