“Geographical Love Song”

In the State of Mass.
There lived a lass,
I love to go N. C.;
No other Miss.
Can e’er, I Wis.,
Be half so dear to Me.
R. I. is blue
And her cheeks the hue
Of shells where waters swash;
On her pink-white phiz.
There Nev. Ariz.
The least complexion Wash.
La.! could I win
The heart of Minn.,
I’d ask for nothing more,
But I only dream
Upon the theme,
And Conn. it o’er and Ore.
Why is it, pray,
I can’t Ala.
This love that makes me Ill.?
N. Y., O., Wy.
Kan. Nev. Ver. I
Propose to her my will?
I shun the task
‘Twould be to ask
This gentle maid to wed.
And so, to press
My suit, I guess
Alaska Pa. instead.

— Anonymous, cited in Carolyn Wells, A Whimsey Anthology, 1906

What’s In a Name?

Henry Honychurch Gorringe (1841-1885) certainly deserved a hero’s remembrance. A naval officer and captain of the USS Gettysburg, he discovered an undersea mountain and moved Cleopatra’s needle from Egypt to New York.

Instead, he’s remembered for a verse by Arthur Guiterman:

In Sparkill buried lies that man of mark
Who brought the Obelisk to Central Park,
Redoubtable Commander H.H. Gorringe,
Whose name supplies the long-sought rhyme for “orange.”


An old couple living in Gloucester
Had a beautiful girl, but they loucester;
She fell from a yacht,
And never the spacht
Could be found where the cold waves had toucester.

An old lady living in Worcester
Had a gift of a handsome young rorcester;
But the way that it crough,
As ‘twould never get through,
Was more than the lady was uorcester.

At the bar in the old inn at Leicester
Was a beautiful bar-maid named Heicester;
She gave to each guest
Only what was the buest,
And they all, with one accord, bleicester.

— Anonymous, cited in Carolyn Wells, A Whimsey Anthology, 1906

Read It Aloud

An Arab came to the river side,
With a donkey bearing an obelisk;
But he would not try to ford the tide,
For he had too good an *.

Boston Globe, cited in Carolyn Wells, A Whimsey Anthology, 1906

Wait a Minute …

When you my friends are passing by,
And this inform you where I lie,
Remember you ere long must have,
Like me, a mansion in the grave,
Also 3 infants, 2 sons and a daughter.

— Tombstone in Pittsfied, Mass., cited in English as She Is Wrote, 1884

“To — — –“


Here’s a valentine written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1846. His sweetheart’s name is hidden in it — can you find it?

For her these lines are penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the starts of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name that, nestling, lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly these words, which hold a treasure
Divine — a talisman, an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure —
The words — the letters themselves. Do not forget
The smallest point, or you may lose your labor.
And yet there is in this no gordian knot
Which one might not undo without a sabre
If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Upon the open page on which are peering
Such sweet eyes now, there lies, I say, perdus,
A musical name oft uttered in the hearing
Of poets, by poets — for the name is a poet’s too.
In common sequence set, the letters lying,
Compose a sound delighting all to hear —
Ah, this you’d have no trouble in descrying
Were you not something, of a dunce, my dear —
And now I leave these riddles to their Seer.

Click for Answer

Thanks for Nothing

Gordon Macdonald was the last British governor of Newfoundland. Despite the island’s fiercely independent nature, he openly campaigned for it to become part of Canada. In 1949 he succeeded, and two days before he returned to England, the Evening Telegram published a congratulatory poem:

The prayers of countless thousands sent
Heavenwards to speed thy safe return,
Ennobled as thou art with duty well performed,
Bringing peace, security and joy
Among the peoples of this New Found Land.
So saddened and depressed until your presence
Taught us discern and help decide what’s best for
All on whom fortune had not smiled.
Remember if you will the kindness and the love
Devotion and the respect that we the people have for Thee

— Farewell!

It was several weeks before the editors noticed it was an acrostic — read the first letter of each line.



“Questions,” an elegy for a departed dog, by William Hurrell Mallock, published in The Dog’s Book of Verse, 1916:

Where are you now, little wandering
Life, that so faithfully dwelt with us,
Played with us, fed with us, felt with us,
Years we grew fonder and fonder in?

You who but yesterday sprang to us,
Are we forever bereft of you?
And is this all that is left of you —
One little grave, and a pang to us?