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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes by Harry Graham

Harry Graham  (Picture courtesy of BBC)
Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes was published under a pseudonym in 1898 in England. It was ahead of it's time in some ways but can be seen as a a part of the tradition of Lewis Carol, Edward Lear and W S Gilbert (the wordsmith half of Gilbert & Sullivan).
Here's a couple of examples of his work:

A window-cleaner in our street
Who fell (five storeys) at my feet
Impaled himself on my umbrella.
I said: "Come, come, you careless fella!
If my umbrella had been shut
You might have landed on my nut!"

Quite Fun
My son Augustus, in the street, one day,
Was feeling quite exceptionally merry.
A stranger asked him: "Can you show me, pray,
The quickest way to Brompton Cemetery?"
"The quickest way? You bet I can!" said Gus,
And pushed the fellow underneath a bus.
Whatever people say about my son,
He does enjoy his little bit of fun.

He was by all accounts a very affable and amiable chap so his poems were certainly intended to be humorous rather than offensive. OK, they don't scan very well and have unsophisticated rhyming schemes (to say the least) but I think they're fun.
Here's another one:

When Grandmamma fell off the boat,
And couldn’t swim, and wouldn’t float,
Maria just sat by and smiled -
I almost could have slapped the child!

Apparently the 1901 New York edition is quite collectable.


THE SNEE said...

Hi Bazza,

Thank you so much for this whimsical post!
I really think you choose the most-
Fabulous subjects to on which to write-
And so I toast to your blogging might!

bazza said...

The Snee: You flatter me with your kind words. But I only post about things that interest me, it's all pleasure for me made greater by your kind appreciation. I am sure you will enjoy a post I am preparing now about saucy British seaside postcards!

klahanie said...

Hi bazza,
I will have to concur with that superb blogger, 'THE SNEE', on this.
A most whimsical delight.
This posting is rather like what a delightful blogger by the name of 'Count Sneaky' submits.
Saucy British seaside postcards? Suddenly, I had this image of Blackpool.
Have a good week, bazza.
Kind wishes, Gary.

bazza said...

Hello Gary: I'll follow up on Count Sneaky, it sounds good. Blackpool, seaside rock and sea-shell Jesus statues is what it conjurs up for me. Enjoy your weekend.

Sir Tom Eagerly said...

I think my grandfather, the late Lord Eagerly of Throbnorton, was always quoting Harry Graham. I never dreamed he really existed!
He once asked me if I liked Kipling. "I don't know Grandpapa", I repled "I've never kipled!"

bazza said...

Sir Tom: Oh dear. I suppose I should be pleased you didn't leave a really naughty poem in your comment! Thanks for visiting. I think.

joanne said...

oh, i like the word whimsical for this post... very entertaining... and I most especially love the photograph.

bazza said...

Joanne: Yes whimsical seems to be the key word in responses to this post! It's amazing what can be got away with by using a dash of charm.
In fact there are many things that are easier to say with the use of poetry.