Thursday, October 25, 2012

A vintage satirical rhyming alphabet

Because you Daily Glean readers are demonstrably off the charts in the visual (not to mention traditional) literacy scales, I know you'll enjoy this piquant discovery. Published in 1899, Oliver Herford's clever and polyglot concatenation of historical personages is still LOL-worthy, even if we have to strain our brain cells a bit to contextualize all of them! As one baldfaced purpose of this blog is to show the breadth of our wares, I have whipped up a set of links at the end to some of the people depicted in the Alphabet, which can be seen in its entirety here.
One of the book's endpapers
D is for Diogenes, Darwin, and Dante, 
Who delight in the dance of a Darling Bacchante.
H is for Handel, who pours out his soul, 
Through the bagpipes to Howells and Homer, who roll, 
on the floor in an ecstasy past all control.
L is LaFontaine, who finds he's unable, To interest Luther and Liszt in his fable,
While Loie continues to dance on the table.
M is MacDuff, who's prevailed upon Milton, 
And Montaigne and Manon to each try a kilt on.
N is Napoleon, shrouded in gloom, With Nero, Narcissus, and Nordau, to whom
He's explaining the manual of arms with a broom.
O is for Oliver casting aspersion, On Omar that awfully dissolute Persian
Though secretly longing to join the diversion.
T is for Talleyrand toasting Miss Truth, 
By the side of her well with a glass of vermouth
And presenting Mark Twain as a friend of his youth.
Y is for Young, the great Mormon saint, 
Who thinks little Yum Yum and Yvette so quaint,
He has to be instantly held in restraint.
ZolaWagnerTwainRembrandtMontaigneMartin LutherKeatsKiplingHandelDarwin


  1. W is Wilhelm, a (barely)fink on the brink,
    of spilling the coffee he's determined to drink...
    (whilst reading, of course!)
    Happy Thursday!!

  2. M is for Molly who sits in her chair
    deciding on a rhyme - hair, wear, or tear?
    She doesn't think she'd every meet the qualification of a "celebrity"
    But it's a blog, where no one can see me!
    So three cheers for rhymes, satires, and drawings...
    Keep it coming, my dahhhlings!

  3. This may possibly be my favorite thing posted on this blog, and that's saying something. I wish it were still in print!

  4. T is for Tastes whose posture is lacking,
    who loves to sit low at her desk whilst speed reading and snacking!

  5. Gioconda's a game gal who'll not be outdone;
    She loves nothing more than intelligent fun!
    The Gleaners, as always, excel in their play,
    When JP brings gems sure to brighten our day!

  6. A is for Anonymous,
    Who LOVES this clever omnibus--
    A party game; an egghead text;
    And wholesomer than licit sex!

  7. P is for Peter, sans Paul and Mary
    This ain't no folk song, quite the contrary
    Sitting here perusing page upon page
    Today's Daily Glean a Laugh-Out-Load rage

    You must follow this blog, it's rather insightful
    All posts educational, informational, confrontational, and delightful
    I'm not much of a rhymer and feel rather silly
    I ripped all of this off of Milli Vanilli

  8. J is for Jazz
    With a little pizazz
    She ain't no poet
    And now you all know it! :)

  9. Intellectual hip-hop at its finest!

  10. C is for catastrophic, categorical, and confused
    I'm just not sure of a rhyme that doesn't feel used.
    How could I compete with those who came before
    Oh the commenters, the poets, the hip-hoppians of yore.
    So here it is, my contribution.
    Straight up, no mixer, just the clear solution.

  11. I am completely and totally GOBSMACKED by your rhymes!!! It's like xmas morning when you were a kid in here. I had a dreary project to drudge through today & didn't check back at all, til lo and behold; FANTASIA! What a treat, what a gift-- thank you all so much. (It was so worth the knotty layout problems and the meager layout properties of Blogger!!)