Quotes by Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash Biography

Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

(Frederic) Ogden Nash, was an American poet well known for his humorous light verse, of which he wrote over 500 pieces. With his unconventional rhyming stanzas and pithy content, he became the United States’ best-known writer of humorous poetry.

Throughout his life, Nash loved to rhyme. He said in 1958, “I think in terms of rhyme, and have since I was six years old ‘’, though he admitted that crafting rhymes was not always an easy task and to overcome this, he created his own words whenever actual rhyming words did not exist.

Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902 , in Rye, New York, the son of Edmund and Mattie Nash. His father owned and operated an import-export company and following the business, they moved numerous times from north to south.

After graduating from St. George’s School in Newport County, Rhode Island, Nash entered Harvard University in 1920, only to drop out a year later.

He returned as a teacher to St. George’s for one year before returning to New York. There, he took a job selling financial investment bonds, about which he commented “I came to New York to make my fortune as a bond salesman and in two years sold one bond—to my godmother. However, I saw lots of good movies.’’
Nash then took a position as a writer of the streetcar card ads for Barron Collier, an advertising company which previously had employed F. Scott Fitzgerald. Then he spent three months in 1931 working on the editorial staff for ‘The New Yorker’.

In the same year he married Frances Leonard and published his first collection of poems, ‘Hard Lines’, which earned him immediate national recognition. Some of his poems reflected wry, anti-establishment observations such as;
‘Why did the Lord give us agility,
If not to evade responsibility?’

The couple had two daughters, Isabel and Linnell

In 1934, Nash moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he remained until his death in 1971. Nash thought of Baltimore as home. After his return from a brief move to New York, he wrote, ‘I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more.’

Nash particularly loved Baltimore sports teams and his admiration of the ‘Baltimore Colts’ was revealed in a ‘ Life,’ magazine article with several poems about the American football team, matched to full-page pictures. Entitled ‘My Colts, verses and reverses’, the issue included his poems and photographs by Arthur Rickerby.

In all he wrote twenty published books of verse and when he was not writing poems, he made guest appearances on comedy and radio shows and toured the United States and the United Kingdom, giving lectures at colleges and universities.

Nash was regarded with respect by the literary establishment and his poems were frequently anthologized even in serious collections.

Nash wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical ‘One Touch of Venus’, collaborating with librettist S. J. Perelman and composer Kurt Weill. The show included the notable song ‘Speak Low.’ He also wrote the lyrics for the 1952 revue ‘Two’s Company’.

Among his most popular writings were a series of animal verses, many of which featured his off-kilter rhyming devices such as ‘If called by a panther, don’t anther’; ‘Who wants my jellyfish? I’m not sellyfish!’. In 1971, his New York Times obituary said his ‘droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry’.

Nash was best known for surprising, pun-like rhymes, sometimes with words deliberately misspelled for comic effect, as in his retort to Dorothy Parker’s humorous advice, ‘Men seldom make passes, at girls who wear glasses’ :
‘A girl who’s bespectacled
May not get her nectacled’

Nash died at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital on May 19, 1971, of complications from Crohn’s disease aggravated by a lactobacillus infection.

  • Children aren't happy with nothing to ignore.Children
    And that's what parents were created for.

    Children, Parents

  • The oyster's a confusing suitor; it's masc and fem and even neuter.

    Confusion, Oysters

  • Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them. Little fleas have smaller fleas and so on ad infinitum.


  • God in his wisdom made the fly and then forgot to tell us why.


  • One would be in less danger, from the wiles of the stranger, if one’s own kin and kith, were more fun to be with.


  • If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work.


  • People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.


  • I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance,
    Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.


  • I have an idea that the phrase 'weaker sex' was coined by some woman to disarm the man she was preparing to overwhelm.


  • Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.


  • I toiled on a farm tilling soybeans
    In a struggle to chasten my brain
    But the girl beans got in with the boy beans
    And I never struggled again.


  • Every new year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals?


  • A little incompatibility is the spice of life, particularly if he has income and she is pattable.


  • One man's remorse is another man's reminiscence.


  • There are people who are very resourceful, at being remorseful,
    And who apparently feel that the best way to make friends
    Is to do something terrible and then make amends.


  • Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.


  • I do not like to get the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.


  • Certainly there are things in life that money can't buy, but it's very funny - Did you ever try buying them without money?


  • Professional men, they have no cares; whatever happens, they get theirs.


  • Progress might have been alright once, but it has gone on too long.


  • Marriage is the alliance of two people, one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other who never forgets them.