“Lides to Bary Jade”


The bood is beabig brighdly, love;
The sdars are shidig too;
While I ab gazing dreabily,
Add thigkig, love, of you.
You caddot, oh! you caddot kdow,
By darlig, how I biss you–
(Oh, whadt a fearful cold I’ve got! —
Ck-tish-u! Ck-ck-tish-u!)

I’b sittig id the arbor, love,
Where you sat by by side,
Whed od that calb, autubdal dight
You said you’d be by bride.
Oh! for wud bobedt to caress
Add tederly to kiss you;
Budt do! we’re beddy biles apart–
(Ho-rash-o! Ck-ck-tish-u!)

This charbig evedig brigs to bide
The tibe whed first we bet:
It seebs budt odly yesterday;
I thigk I see you yet.
Oh! tell be, ab I sdill your owd?
By hopes — oh, do dot dash theb!
(Codfoud by cold, ’tis gettig worse–
Ck-tish-u! Ck-ck-thrash-eb!)

Good-by, by darlig Bary Jade!
The bid-dight hour is dear;
Add it is hardly wise, by love,
For be to ligger here.
The heavy dews are fallig fast:
A fod good-dight I wish you.
(Ho-rash-o! — there it is agaid —
Ck-thrash-ub! Ck-ck-tish-u!)

— Charles Follen Adams

The Two Cultures

Tennyson’s poem “The Vision of Sin” contains this couplet:

Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.

When he published it in 1842, Charles Babbage sent him a note:

I need hardly point out to you that this calculation would tend to keep the sum total of the world’s population in a state of perpetual equipoise, whereas it is a well-known fact that the said sum total is constantly on the increase. I would therefore take the liberty of suggesting that, in the next edition of your excellent poem, the erroneous calculation to which I refer should be corrected as follows:–

Every moment dies a man,
And one and a sixteenth is born.

“I may add that the exact figures are 1.167,” he added, “but something must, of course, be conceded to the laws of metre.”


“To the memory of Miss Ellen Gee, of Kew, who died in consequence of being stung in the eye by a bee.”

Peerless, yet hapless, maid of Q!
Accomplish’d LN G!
Never again shall I and U
Together sip our T.

For, ah! the Fates! I know not Y,
Sent ‘midst the flowers a B,
Which ven’mous stung her in the I,
So that she could not C.

LN exclaim’d, “Vile spiteful B!
If ever I catch U
On jess’mine, rosebud, or sweet P,
I’ll change your stinging Q.”

“I’ll send you, like a lamb or U,
Across th’ Atlantic C,
From our delightful village Q,
To distant OYE.”

A stream runs from my wounded I,
Salt as the briny C,
As rapid as the X or Y,
The OIO, or D.”

Then fare thee ill, insensate B!
Which stung, nor yet knew Y;
Since not for wealthy Durham’s C
Would I have lost my I.”

They bear with tears fair LN G
In funeral RA,
A clay-cold corpse now doom’d to B,
Whilst I mourn her DK.

Ye nymphs of Q, then shun each B,
List to the reason Y!
For should A B C U at T,
He’ll surely sting your I.

Now in a grave L deep in Q,
She’s cold as cold can B;
Whilst robins sing upon A U
Her dirge and LEG.

New Monthly Magazine, reprinted in A Collection of Newspaper Extracts, 1842


I’m in a 10der mood to-day
& feel poetic, 2;
4 fun I’ll just — off a line
& send it off 2 U.

I’m sorry you’ve been 6 O long;
Don’t B disconsol8;
But bear your ills with 42de,
& they won’t seem so gr8.

— Anonymous

Rhyming the Unrhymable

I have tried a hundred times, I guess,
To find a rhyme for month;
I have failed a hundred times, I know,
But succeeded the hundred and one-th.

There were two men a training went.
It was in December month;
One had his bayonet thrown away,
The other had his gun th-
rown away.

Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, August 1894



“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” “revised by a committee of eminent preceptors and scholars”:

Shine with irregular, intermitted light, sparkle at intervals, diminutive, luminous, heavenly body.
How I conjecture, with surprise, not unmixed with uncertainty, what you are,
Located, apparently, at such a remote distance from, and at a height so vastly superior to this earth, the planet we inhabit,
Similar in general appearance and refractory powers to the precious primitive octahedron crystal of pure carbon, set in the aerial region surrounding the earth.

— William T. Dobson, Poetical Ingenuities and Eccentricities, 1882


A player at blind-man’s-buff, and Sympathy,
In common, have one striking feature:
Each is, you see,
A fellow feeling for a fellow creature.

— John Augustus Miles, Poems and Chess Problems, 1882


An amorous wag once sought the bliss,
To steal a soft and balmy kiss,
When Sylvia stampt (and some say, swore)
That he should gain the prize no more;
He smiled, and said, if ’tis such pain,
Pray, miss, return it back again.

The Jester’s Magazine, 1767

“Indian Corn”

Another candidate for worst poem of all time. This one is by the Rev. William Cook of Salem, Mass., from his 1873 booklet Talk About Indians:

Corn, corn, sweet Indian corn,
Greenly you grew long ago.
Indian fields well to adorn,
And to parch or grind hah-ho!
Where shines the summer sun,
And plied his hoe or plough
Blessings to men have you not gone
Making food of your dough?

In England, in France and Germany
At morn, at eve, at noon
Johnnie-cake and harmony
Increase the family boon.


Said the chemist, “I’ll take some dimethyloximidomesoralamide
And I’ll add just a dash of dimethylamidoazobensaldehyde;
But if these won’t mix,
I’ll just have to fix
Up a big dose of trisodiumpholoroglucintricarboxycide.”