an old piece of paper

14 August 2008, 6:14 pm

As I’m packing, I’m coming across a surprisingly large number of increasingly yellowed and tattered pieces of paper that have already endured multiple moves. Thanks to Google, I now know the provenance of this one, perhaps one of the oldest. It’s a clever bit of verse with a slightly nasty wit, polysyllabic rhymes, and portmanteau word formations that has always put me in mind of Ogden Nash and Tom Lehrer.

My mom typed this copy out, presumably because it tickled her funny bone as it did mine, but neglected to include the attribution. She said she didn’t write it, but I always wondered if perhaps she had, because it’s very like the things she did write. But no, turns out it was authored by one Arthur Guiterman. It was apparently published in Carolyn Wells’ 1918 anthology Such Nonsense! where it’s arguably much easier to read, but the quirks of an honest-to-goodness typewriter are part of the charm this piece of paper has for me.

The title is, “The First Cam-u-el, an Arabian Apologue”

(Don’t strain your eyes too much, I uploaded a larger version)


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