The Pin, Needle, and Scissors by Eliza Lee Follen

‘Tis true, although ’tis sad to say,
Disputes are rising every day.
You’d think, if no one did deny it,
A little work-box might be quiet;
But ’tis not so, for I did hear,
Or else I dreamed it, ’tis so queer,
A Pin and Needle in the cushion
Maintain the following discussion.

The Needle, “extra fine gold-eyed,”
Was very sharp and full of pride,
And thus, methought, she did begin:—
You clumsy, thick, short, ugly Pin,
I wish you were not quite so near;
How could my mistress stick me here?
She should have put me in my place,
With my bright sisters in the case.”

“Would you were there!” the Pin replied;
“I do not want you by my side.
I’m rather short and thick, ’tis true;
Who’d be so long and thin as you?
I’ve got a head, though, of my own,
That you had better let alone.”

“You make me laugh,” the Needle cried;
“That you’ve a head can’t be denied;
For you a very proper head,
Without an eye, and full of lead.”

“You are so cross, and sharp, and thin,”
Replied the poor insulted Pin,
“I hardly dare a word to say,
And wish indeed you were away;
That golden eye in your poor head
Was only made to hold a thread;
All your fine airs are foolish fudge,
For you are nothing but a drudge;
But I, in spite of your abuse,
Am made for pleasure and for use.
I fasten the bouquet and sash,
And help the ladies make a dash;
I go abroad and gayly roam,
While you are rusting here at home.”

“Stop,” cried the Needle, “you’re too much,
You’ve brass enough to beat the Dutch;
Do I not make the ladies’ clothes,
Ere I retire to my repose?
Then who, forsooth, the glory wins?
Alas! ’tis finery and pins.
This is the world’s unjust decree,
But what is this vain world to me?
I’d rather live with my own kin,
Than dance about like you, vain Pin.
I’m taken care of every day;
You’re used awhile, then thrown away,
Or else you get all bent up double,
And a snug crack for all your trouble.”

“True,” said the Pin, “I am abused,
And sometimes very roughly used;
I often get an ugly crook,
Or fall into a dirty nook;
But there I lie, and never mind it;
Who wants a pin is sure to find it;
In time I am picked up, and then
I lead a merry life again.
You fuss so at a fall or hurt,
And, if you get a little dirt,
You keep up such an odious creaking,
That where you are there is no speaking;
And then your lackey Emery’s called,
And he, poor thing, is pricked and mauled,
Until your daintiness—O, shocking!—
Is fit for what? to mend a stocking!”

The Needle now began to speak,—
They might have quarrelled for a week,—
But here the Scissors interposed.
And thus the warm debate was closed:—
“You angry Needle! foolish Pin!
How did this nonsense first begin?
You should have both been better taught;
But I will cut the matter short.
You both are wrong, and both are right,
And both are very impolite.
E’en in a work-box ’twill not do
To talk of every thing that’s true.
All personal remarks avoid,
For every one will be annoyed
At hearing disagreeable truth;
Besides, it shows you quite uncouth,
And sadly wanting in good taste.
But what advantages you waste!
Think, Pins and Needles, while you may,
How much you hear in one short day;
No servants wait on lordly man
Can hear one half of what you can.
‘Tis not worth while to mince the matter;
Nor men nor boys like girls can chatter;
All now are learning, forward moving,
E’en Pins and Needles are improving;
And in this glorious, busy day
All have some useful part to play.
Go forth, ye Pins, and bring home news!
Ye Needles in your cases muse!
And take me for your kind adviser,
And only think of growing wiser;
Then, when you meet again, no doubt,
Something you’ll have to talk about,
And need not get into a passion,
And quarrel in this vulgar fashion.
Less of yourselves you’ll think, and more
Of others, than you did before.
You’ll learn, that in their own right sphere
All things with dignity appear.
And have, when in their proper place,
Peculiar use and native grace.”

Methought the polished Scissors blushed
To have said so much, and all was hushed.

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