Monday, 20 October 2014

Favourite snatches (17)

Today's favourite snatch is a distinguished piece of doggerel which I expect you'll all know but may not have come across for a long time:

There was a naughty boy,
A naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be -
He took
In his knapsack
A book
Full of vowels
And a shirt
With some towels,
A slight cap
For night cap,
A hair brush,
Comb ditto,
New stockings -
For old ones
Would split O!
This knapsack
Tight at 'is back
He rivetted close
And followed his nose
To the North,
To the North,
And followed his nose
To the North.

There was a naughty boy,
And a naughty boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see-
There he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red-
That lead
Was as weighty
That fourscore
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England -
So he stood in his shoes
And he wondered,
He wondered,
He stood in his shoes
And he wondered.

It's by Keats. of course, and manages to anticipate the later Eliot lines from Little Gidding:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

'Same old same old' as the young people say. We have to leave home, perhaps, to find out for ourselves what home is, or was.

Lines from Little Gidding © The Estate of T. S. Eliot

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