Category Archives: Nonsense Lyrics

Songs whose lyrics consist of invented words, or words that make no sense.

Syd Barrett and Edward Lear

[Syd Barrett’s Fart Enjoy contains] two pages of cut-up nursery rhymes. One reads: Sprat Locket Patch Lift The Latch. Johnny Shall Have A New Bonnet The other reads: Hark! Jack Was Diddlty Dumpty All Jolly To Market To Buy A … Continue reading

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John Ashbery, Tuesday Evening (1995)

In case after reading yesterday’s “The Dong with the Luminous Nose” you were wondering, like me, what “a long nonsense poem” by John Ashbery looked / sounded / felt like, here is Tuesday Evening She plundered the fun in his hair. … Continue reading

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Carolyn Wells’s Lovely Lilly

Carolyn Wells often contributed to the children’s sections of newspapers in the first decade of the XX century. One of the weirdest of these contributions was no doubt Adventures of Lovely Lilly, which ran in the Sunday New York Herald from December 1906 … Continue reading

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George C. Chappelle, ‘Twas Ever Thus

George C. Chappelle, “‘Twas Ever Thus.” Sculpture by Gilbert White. The Metropolitan Magazine, vol. XXII no. 6, September 1905, p. 773.

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Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes, by Mary G. Jones, ran in the New York Herald from 10 July to 6 September 1903; it was one of several nonsense-rhyme cartoons in the Sunday supplements of the early years of the 20th century. The strip above, … Continue reading

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WS Gilbert’s Nonsense Poems

W.S. Gilbert never really wrote Nonsense; his Bab Ballads and other collections, while obviously influenced by Edward Lear ― especially in the strongly caricatural style of the pictures accompanying his poems in the early editions – are rather in the … Continue reading

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Tolkien’s Nevbosh Limerick

From Joan Acocella’s “Slaying Monsters,” in The New Yorker for 2 June 2014, a review of the recently published translation of Beowulf by J.R.R. Tolkien: Tolkien was a serious philologist from the time he was a child. He and his cousin Mary … Continue reading

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