Category Archives: Verse Parodies

Hymn for Today

Idon’t dislike all modern hymns – or ‘worship songs’ as they are called by the people who sing them – but I dislike most of them. The words are generally as unmemorable and as undistinguished as the latest teenage lament being belted out over the PA system in my local Co-Op. ‘Love’ and ‘Jesus’ are […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Dec 15) In the Workhouse – Christmas Day

IN THE WORKHOUSE – CHRISTMAS DAY This is the correct title for the monologue / poem better known as ‘It was Christmas Day in the Workhouse’ published in 1879 by George Robert Sims (1847-1922). It is a powerful indictment of the conditions of the Victorian workhouse.                         […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Nov 15) Jack and Jill

JACK and JILL A favourite nursery rhyme but what is it all about? The origins are obscure and remain disputed. Some think it refers to Cardinal Wolsey (Jack) and Bishop Tarbes (Jill), others that it’s about Charles 1’s attempts to tax liquor, Jack being a half pint and Jill (gill) being a quarter. But I […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Oct 15) The Vanity of Human Wishes

THE VANITY OF HUMAN WISHES The Tenth Satire of Juvenal was adapted by Dr Johnson (1749). It’s a poem of 368 lines, the first ten of which are: Let Observation with extensive View, Survey Mankind from China to Peru; Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife, And watch the busy scenes of crowded Life; Then say […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Sept 15) Funiculi Funicula

  FUNICULÌ, FUNICULÁ Peppino Turco (Italian words), Luigi Denza (music). The song was written in 1880 to celebrate the first funicular railway up Mount Vesuvius. The English lyrics by Edward Oxenford were published under the title A Merry Life. Some think the world is made for fun and frolic, And so do I! And so do […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Aug 15) I never nursed a dear gazelle

OH! EVER THUS, FROM CHILDHOOD’S HOUR  Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was an Irish poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, now best remembered for the lyrics of The Minstrel Boy and The Last Rose of Summer. He was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death Oh! ever thus, from childhood’s hour, I’ve seen […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Jul 15) You are old, Father William

THE OLD MAN’S COMFORTS AND HOW HE GAINED THEM Robert Southey (1799) Robert Southey (1774-1843) is little read today, though his poem ‘The Inchcape Rock’ remains a favourite of the period. Created Poet Laureate in 1813 (after Sir Walter Scott refused the post), his most enduring contributions to literature were to coin the word ‘autobiography’ and […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Jun 15) Immortal, invisible

I MMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908) This Christian hymn was written in 1867 and is sung to the tune St. Denio. Reportedly the favourite hymn of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the original final two stanzas were different, but this is how the words appear in most hymnals. The parody, as anyone […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (May 15) Danny Boy

DANNY BOY Music: Anon.              Lyrics: Fred E Weatherly It sounds like a folk song that’s been around for centuries but the lyrics of ‘Danny Boy’ were written as recently as 1913 by the prolific Fred E Weatherly. He was a lawyer by profession but in his spare time managed […]

THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Apr 15) Sudden Light / I Have Been Here Before

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) Sudden Light Sudden Light was written in 1853 or thereabouts, and first published in 1863 in Poems: An Offering to Lancashire. It appeared in various versions over the next three decades, finally ending with a different last verse (see below) to that originally published. Rossetti’s déjà vu of an intimate relationship […]