Tag Archives: Poetry

The Cynic on History

Actually By Maurice Rigoler

What the past really leaves historians.
By Andy Lendzion.

History is replete
with examples of the incomplete.
Which is why we have historians –
or should that be restorians.

Theirs is the patient art
of piecing history back together,
what men and time put apart,
with results not much better.

Lest Historians Are Too Sure of Themselves

Actually by George L. Richardson

Horace in his Studium not thinking what you think he’s thinking. Source.

Classical Criticism

21 B. c.

Old Horace, on a summer afternoon,
Well primed with sweet Falernian, let us say,
Lulled by the far-off brooklet’s drowsy croon
To a half -doze; in a hap-hazard way
Scratched off a half a dozen careless rhymes,
As was his habit. When next day he came
Awake to work, he read them several times
In vain attempt to catch their sense and aim.
“What was I thinking about? Blest if I know!
Jupiter! What’s the difference? Let them go.”

1886 A. D.

“Lines twelve to twenty are in great dispute,”
(Most learnedly the lecturer doth speak)
“I think I shall be able to refute
Orelli’s claim they’re taken from the Greek.
I think, with Bentley, Horace’s purpose here
Is irony, and yet I do not know
But Dillenburger’s reading is more clear
For which he gives eight arguments, although
Wilkins gives twelve objections to the same.”
(So on ad infinitum.) Such is fame.

Verse on Williamsburg’s Founding

Curator’s Comment: During the 1920s and 30s it seemed to many that Colonial Williamsburg took over the town, razing over 720 post-1790s buildings and displacing local residents in order to preserve history for everyone. In honor of the Restoration John Arthur Hundley published the poem below in the Virginia Gazette on September 6th, 1935.

DUke of Gloucester Street Before the Restoration. Source.

Duke of Gloucester Street Before the Restoration. Source.


My God! They’ve sold the town,
The streets will all come up,
The poles will all come down.
They’ve sold the Church, the vestry too,
The Sexton and the steeple;
They’ve sold the Court House and the Greens,
They’ve even sold the people.
And you will hear from miles around
From people poor and of renown
My God! They’ve sold the town.

Quoted in Creating Colonial Williamsburg, Anders Greenspan, 22.

Epigram on Captain Francis Grose, The Celebrated Antiquary

Actually By Robbie Burns

Curator’s Comment: Originally we thought that the anniversary of Grose’s death, which the present post celebrates, was this Friday, June 12th. Wikipedia says so.[1] However, both The Scots Magazine (V. 53) and The Gentleman’s Magazine (V. 69) [2] published an obituary for Grose in 1791 which state his actual death date was May 12th. So it seems based on these primary sources we’re a month late in celebrating our hero. Nevertheless…

As we’ve mentioned oft times a’fore, Francis Grose, antiquarian, humorist, and butterball, is our hero. It is with that in mind that we thought to honor the anniversary of his death this year with a little something. It was recently the 224th anniversary of the Captain’s death. Grose’s dedication to research was such that he was in Ireland on an antiquing trip when he died.

This poem, written before his death but published afterwards in the June 1791 Scots Magazine, was written by Grose’s friend, occasional dinner companion, and well-known Scotsman, Robbie Burns.

The Devil got notice that Grose was a-dying,
So whip! at the summons, old Satan came flying;
But when he approach’d where poor Francis lay moaning,
And saw each bed-post with its burthen a-groaning,
Astonish’d, confounded, cries Satan, by God,
I’d want him, ere take such a damnable load.

Seems only fair that someone poke a little fun at Grose, as he did it to his fellow antiquarians.



1. The “Death” section seems to have the correct burial date

2. A third source, Dodsley’s Annual Register, includes the virtually the same text as the Gentleman’s Magazine because plagiarism was OK back then

Highboy, Lowboy, Oboy!

Actually By David McCord

From Odds Without Ends, 1954.

“Come, my love, and let us stoppë
In our ancient jade jaloppë
At ye oldë moldë shoppë:
Fine Antiques – to sell or swappë.
Out you hoppë, in we poppë.”

“Lawsy, what a table toppë!”
“Lazy Susan? That’s a coppë.”
“Grant’s old razor!” “Where’s the stroppë?”
“Snuffbox . . . pewter . . . London foppë . . .”
Flip glass?” “Careful, now. Don’t droppë!”

“See that curious, curious moppë!”
“Buggy whips! – the old clip-cloppë
Days!” “A pruning knife . . . to loppë?”
“Burbank owned it.” “Will you ploppë
Down five bucks for these sweet sloppë
Jars?” “That’s much too much – de troppë!”

Curator’s Comment: Burbank is Luther Burbank, famed horticulturist and botanist and de trop  means “too much or excessive.”

Here’s the Secret to Making History Memorable

The D.A.R.-lings

Actually by Arthur Guiterman

Curator’s Comments: This Saturday, October 11th, is the 124th anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of the American Revolution. We present the following poem in honor of their birthday.

The D.A.R.lings

chatter like starlings

telling their



while grimly aloof,

with looks of reproof,

sit the Co-



The Cincinnati,

merry and chatty,

dangle their

badges and


but haughty and proud,

disdaining the crowd,

brood the




Mona Lisa, or An Ode To the Once & Future Museum Thief

 Actually By John Kendrick Bangs

Curator’s Comment: This Thursday, August 21st, will be the 103rd anniversary of the Mona Lisa’s theft from the Louvre (she went missing for over two years). This poem was written in honor of her disappearance sometime between 1911 and 1918 when it was published in an anthology, although it was likely written sometime after 1911 when she was taken and before 1913 when she was returned.

     Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa!
Have you gone? Great Julius Caesar!
Who’s the Chap so bold and pinchey
Thus to swipe the great da Vinci,
Taking France’s first Chef d’oeuvre
Squarely from old Mr. Louvre,
Easy as some pocket-picker
Would remove our handkerchicker
As we ride in careless folly
On some gaily bounding trolley?

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa,
Who’s your Captor? Doubtless he’s a
Crafty sort of treasure-seeker,
Ne’er a Turpin e’er was sleeker,
But, alas, if he can win you
Easily as I could chin you,
What is safe in all the nations
From his dreadful depredations?
He’s the style of Chap, I’m thinkin’,
Who will drive us all to drinkin’!

Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa,
Next he’ll swipe the Tower of Pisa,
Pulling it from out its socket
For to hide it in his pocket;
Or perhaps he’ll up and steal, O,
Madame Venus, late of Milo;
Or maybe while on the grab he
Will annex Westminster Abbey,
And elope with that distinguished
Heap of Ashes long extinguished.

Maybe too, O Mona Lisa,
He will come across the seas a,
Searching for the style of treasure
That we have in richest measure.
Sunset Cox’s brazen statue,
Have a care lest he shall catch you!
Or maybe he’ll set his eye on
Hammerstein’s, or the Flatiron,
Or some bit of White Wash done
By those lads at Washington,

Truly he’s a crafty geezer,
Is your Captor, Mona Lisa!

Perfect For Your Office or Cubicle Wall, Pt II

Curator’s Comment: This is part 2 of what was supposed to be a one-part display. This bonus offering is brought to you by actually reading the book, and not simply trusting the keyword search function. Let this be a reminder to all you who research.

From Sense and Satire: Based Upon Nineteenth Century Philosophy By William LaMartine Breyfogle, 1899.






Perfect For Your Office or Cubicle Wall

From Sense and Satire: Based Upon Nineteenth Century Philosophy By William LaMartine Breyfogle, 1899.





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