adj. pertaining to wasps
n. a nest of wasps
Lord Dunsany and John Drinkwater were appearing as guests of honor at the Poetry Society of America when they fell into a friendly dispute over the relative merits of rhymed verse and rhythmical prose. Dunsany asked, “Supposing you had a line of rhymed verse ending with the word wasp. Where, I ask you, could you find a rhyme for wasp?”
In the words of the Boston Transcript‘s Alice Lawton, “That was the evening’s Parthian shot. Mr. Drinkwater produced no rhyme for ‘wasp.'”
But Arthur Guiterman, who was in the audience, later recalled, “You can find a rhyme for wasp. There is a perfectly good one in the dictionary. I found it at home that night. It is knosp and means a flower bud, or a budlike architectural ornament. Of course, having found it, I had to use it at once.”
I saw a Melancholy Wasp
Upon a Purple Clover Knosp,
Who wept, “The Poets do me Wrong,
Excluding me from Noble Song —
Though Pure am I and Wholly Crimeless —
Because, they say, my Name is Rhymeless!
Oh, had I but been born a Bee,
With Heaps of Words to Rhyme with me,
I should not want for Panegyrics
In Sonnets, Epics, Odes and Lyrics!
Will no one free me from the Curse
That bars my Race from Lofty Verse?”
“My Friend, that Little Thing I’ll care for
At once,” said I — and that is wherefore
So tenderly I set that Wasp
Upon a Purple Clover Knosp.