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There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“There Was a Little Girl,” st. 1 (c. 1850)
    (Source)

Often printed with "She was very, very good" for the penultimate line, and sometimes with "And when she was bad" (e.g.).

His son, Ernest, says that Longfellow composed the rhyme while walking back and forth with his infant second daughter (Alice Mary, b. 1850). There is some dispute about this, as well as his authorship of the other stanzas of the poem.

 
Added on 30-Jan-24 | Last updated 30-Jan-24
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Laugh if you are wise, O girl, laugh.

[Ride, si sapis, o puella, ride.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, epigram 41 (2.41.1) (AD 86) [tr. Ker (1919)]
    (Source)

"To Maximina." (Source (Latin)).

Martial says he thinks he's quoting Ovid, but it aligns with nothing known or still extant from that poet. As the phrase is hendecasyllabic, and Ovid is not known to have published anything in that meter, it is at the very least believed a paraphrase. It is still usually credited as a fragment for Ovid. It's ironic, since it is the point of this Martial epigram, that in Ars Amatoria 3.279ff, Ovid warns against laughing if one's teeth are bad; see Williams for more discussion.

Alternate translations:

Laugh, my girl, laugh, if you bee wise.
[16th C Manuscript]

Laugh, lovely maid, laugh oft, if thou art wise.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

Laugh, my pretty damsel, laugh;
If thou'rt cunning, but by half.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 3, ep. 8]

Smile, O damsel, if you are wise, smile.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 101]

Laugh if thou art wise, girl, laugh.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Laugh if you are wise, girl, laugh
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1871)]

Laugh, if thou be wise.
[ed. Harbottle (1897)]

Laugh, maiden, laugh, if thou be wise.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Smile, maiden, smile.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 86]

Laugh, girl, laugh if you're sensible.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

Laugh if you have any sense, girl, laugh.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

Laugh, girl; if you're clever, laugh!
[tr. Williams (2004)]

 
Added on 6-Sep-17 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Five foot two, eyes of blue,
But oh! what those five feet could do,
Has anybody seen my girl?

Sam M. Lewis (1885-1959) American singer and lyricist
“Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” (1925)
 
Added on 11-Nov-14 | Last updated 11-Nov-14
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