Lord Byron arrives in Heaven, and finds his old friend Shelley
waiting at the gate.
"Percy, I can't believe it. You died two years ago. Why aren't
"St. Peter says he's already got too many poets," says Shelley.
"So I've been waiting here for you. Maybe together, we can convince
him to let us in."
When St. Peter appears, he greets Byron by name. "You two have
both been naughty," he says, "and I've already told your friend here
that we're pretty full. We've only got room for one of you, so I'm
asking you each to write a verse for me about one of my favorite
places...Timbuktu. I'll be back in an hour to see what you've come up
When St. Peter returns, Shelley proudly recites his poem:
With feet upon the burning sand
"Very nice," says St. Peter. And then, turning to Byron, he
says, "Your turn, sir."
I gazed upon the promised land
And in the far-off distant view
The paradise of Timbuktu.
With a wink to his friend, Byron begins:
Tim and I a-hunting went
--via "The Big Book of American Humor", a huge formative influence on me in high school.
Weirdly a much inferior version with Shakespeare, Burns, and spelling and grammar mistakes seems to be much more popular online.
And spied three maidens in a tent
As they were three, and we were two,
I bucked one, and Timbuktu.