Bad Bards

More excerpts from terrible poetry:

The holy night that Christ was born
The ox stood reverently apart,
Both ruminating eaten corn,
And pondering within his heart.

— John Gray (1866–1934), “The Ox”

Then through the white surf did she haste,
To clasp her lovely swain;
When ah! a shark bit through his waist,
His heart’s blood dy’d the main.

— James Grainger (1721-1767), “Bryan and Pereene”

Intoxicating draughts he never does drink
If this we copied should we not be better, think?

— Joseph Gwyer (1835-?), “Ode on the Visit of the Shah of Persia”

A woman kneels among reeds and sands,
Kissing a wee, bronzed child that coos and smiles.
Enough, — great Brahma speaks! — with trembling hands
She hurls her first-born to the crocodiles!

— Francis Saltus Saltus (1849-1889), “Mothers”

Gwyer’s 1875 book Sketches of the Life of Joseph Gwyer (Potato Salesman) With His Poems (Commended by Royalty) invited readers to purchase sacks of his potatoes by mail. The New York Tribune recommended that customers uncertain whether to choose the poetry or the potatoes should choose the latter.