"When she was bad" (1871)

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 7 12:27:55 UTC 2005

On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

> BAD SHE WAS HORRID--818 Google hits,  1,560 Google Groups  hits
> ...
> I originally posted on this several years ago, perhaps in the old archives.
> This poem was thought to have been written by Longfellow, but there's never a
> good date attached. It's not attributed to anyone here. Note the extra
> verses!...Don't know if Fred has it.

This is an uncommonly interesting quotation, attributed to a major
literary author but origins shrouded in mystery.  In 1946 an article in
the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America traced it to a
pre-1870 broadside entitled "Wrong Side Up. A Poem.", which may have been
British.  Other earliest known versions were in the Reveille, Salem,
Mass., 21 Dec. 1870, and Balloon Post, Boston, 11 Apr. 1871. Longfellow is
said to have composed a version of the poem and sung it to his young
daughter in the 1850s, but there is no contemporaneous documentation of

I would welcome any further discoveries by Barry or others.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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