I'm a strange composition as e'er was in nature

First Line I'm a strange composition as e'er was in nature
Author Elizabeth Amherst Thomas
Date 1740

Riddle [Women]. 

Transcribed from Thomas, Elizabeth Amherst. "A Prize Riddle on Herself when 24." Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. ed. Roger Lonsdale, Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 180.


I'm a strange composition as e'er was in nature,

Being wondrously studious and yet a great prater.

Retirement and quiet I love beyond measure,

Yet always am ready for parties of pleasure.

I can cry till I laugh, or laugh till I cry,

Yet few have a temper more equal than I.


My shape is but clumsy, I see it and know it,

Yet always am dancing and skipping to show it.

My visage is round, just the shape of a bowl,

With a great pair of grey eyes resembling an owl.

My nose and my mouth are none of the least,

Though one serves me to smell and the other to taste.


What I gain in these features makes up for no chin,

But here's my misfortune, my smile's a broad grin.

My temper is rather addicted to satire,

And yet, without vanity, fraught with good nature.

My friends I can laugh at, but most at myself.

I've no inclination for titles or pelf;

And this I can vouch for, believe me or nay,

To my friend's my own interest does always give sway.


I really am cleanly, but yet my discourse,

If you're squeamish, may make you as sick as a horse.

Without any voice, I can sing you a song,

And though I grow old, I shall always be young.

I put on assurance, though nat'rally shy,

And most people love me, though none can tell why.

I'm not yet disposed of: come bid for a blessing,

For those who first guess me shall have me for guessing.