On Home Truths last week there was a piece about Harry Graham, author of Revolting Rhymes and some quite famous songs - a descendant of his was talking about him . It is on listen again at present, and theres a photo of him on the website at the location abovw, with a link to listen again. It will probably only be there until after Saturday's new broadcast, or maybe until the new show's repeat has been shown - I think that is on Monday evening.
Thanks. I have many of Harry's books, although Revolting Rhymes is not among them. Ruthless Rhymes, yes. And More Ruthless Rhymes as well - 95% the same poems, annoyingly enough. The picture on the BBC site is rather blurry on my monitor, although I think I can see a cigarette hanging from Graham's lips. Perhaps not. The only other picture I have seen is on the back cover of his When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat, where the dapper chap is seen with suit, tie, dashing hat and monstrous moustache.
When Grandmama fell off the boat,
And couldn't swim (and wouldn't float),
Matilda just stood by and smiled.
I almost could have slapped the child.
Aha ! Thought i recognized the style.......I knew of the "Little Willie" rhymes, never really took the time to find out who wrote them, assumed they were a fad like Elephant Jokes or something !
Visitng again, there was a different photo and I discovered there are actually 4 all'under' each other on that page and you have to click on next/back to get the rest. It's a pity they don't seem to be enlargable.
And he is smoking a cigarette - one of the things his neice remembers most about him was that he was always in a cloud of smoke - that and his daughter saying he was never angry - he could never be bothered!
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/16/2005 09:27AM by marian2.
Those types of quatrains are fun to compose. I transposed a few of them into limericks, and made up some of the quatrain-types as well.
Little Willie ran with scissors,
Of course he tripped and fell;
While other lads are standing pissers,
Willie mimics demoiselle.
Little Willie, as a gift,
Got a bike and rode off yonder;
Mother's peeved but I'm not miffed:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Graham also wrote under the pseudonym of Col. D. Streamer, having been a member of the Coldstream Guards at one time. I have posted this incredibly clever one before, but it is worth another exposure:
What hours I spent of precious time,
What pints of ink I used to waste,
Attempting to secure a rhyme
To suit the public taste,
Until I found a simple plan
Which makes the tamest lyric scan!
When I've a syllable de trop,
I cut it off, without apol.:
This verbal sacrifice, I know,
May irritate the schol.;
But all must praise my dev'lish cunn.
Who realize that Time is Mon.
My sense remains as clear as cryst.,
My style as pure as any Duch.
Who does not boast a bar sinist.
Upon her fam. escutch.;
And I can treat with scornful pit.
The sneers of ev'ry captious crit.
I gladly publish to the pop.
A scheme of which I make no myst.,
And beg my fellow scribes. to cop.
This labor-saving syst.
I offer it to the consid.
Of ev'ry thoughtful individ.
The author, working like a beav.,
His readers' pleasure could redoub.
Did he but now and then abbrev.
The work he gives his pub.
(This view I most partic. suggest
To A. C. Bens. and G. K. Chest.)
G.K. Chesterton should be familiar to all, but Arthur Benson is likely obscure by today.
Speaking of Harry Graham (1874-1936) and his Little Willie Ruthless Rhymes, take a look at the ones below by Charles Heber Clark (Max Adler) 1841-1915. I wonder who was the chicken and who the egg.
Willie had a purple monkey climbing on a yellow stick,
And when he sucked the paint all off it made him deathly sick;
And in his latest hours he clasped that monkey in his hand,
And bad good-bye to earth and went into a better land.
Oh! no more he'll shoot his sister with his little wooden gun;
And no more he'll twist the pussy's tail and make her yowl, for fun.
The pussy's tail now stands out straight; the gun is laid aside,
The monkey doesn't jump around since little Willie died.
For some reason, a lady named Julia Moore has gotten credit for the one above and others by Mr Clark:
Four doctors tacked Johnny Smith --
They blistered and they bled him;
With squills and anti-bilious pills
And ipecac they fed him.
They stirred him up with calomel,
And tried to move his liver;
But all in vain -- his little soul
Was wafted o'er the River.
Little Alexander's dead;
Jam him in a coffin;
Don't have as good a chance
For a fun'ral often.
Rush his body right around
To the cemetery;
Drop him in the sepulchre
With his Uncle Jerry.