Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"He's a gibbering idiot" (1880)

In the morn he brightly rose,

        Clear of mind and strong of limb,

Found beside his pillow laid

        A box some enemy sent him.

Opened he the present then,

        Saw what he had never seen:

Blocks therein and numbered all,

        One to fifteen, all between.

        Waiteth not to eat or drink;

        Waiteth not to sleep or think;

        Quickly graspeth he the box;

        Moveth here and there the blocks,

        Easy moves from one to seven;

        All in place from one to 'leven.

        Then reversed the figures stand,

        Thirteen, fifteen, fourteen and

        Twelve is also out of place.

        Wearily he wipes his face,

        Rubs his head and rubs his nose;

        He can do it, well he knows.

        Hours fly, and still the moves

        Backward, forward, nothing proves.

        Fifteen, fourteen, nine and ten,

        Still no nearer to the end.

        Twelve and thirteen, eight and seven,

        Then he gets mixed up on 'leven.

        Night is come and day has gone,

        Still the labor is not done.

        Morning with its smiling face

        Finds him in the self-same place;

        Haggard looks and vacant stare

        Fastened on the puzzle there;

        Nothing moves him from the spot,

        He's a gibbering idiot. —Oil City Derrick.

N.Y. World. March 9, 1880: 7 col 6.

No title on that one. The rhyme of spot with idiot is amusing. There's got to be at least fifteen such poems!

"13-15-14": the "Gem Puzzle" craze (1880)

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