[Ads-l] Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 8 02:49:52 UTC 2021

Stephen Goranson wrote:
> Eightheeth Century Collection online has
> Lewd I did live & evil did I dwel
> Sept. 1793, The Kentish Register, p. 59. Letter to the Editor, and including the John Taylor,
> Water-Poet attribution, who was said to have offered a money reward (50l. [?])for a better
> English example.

Here is a slightly earlier instance of "Lewd did I live, evil I did
dwell" together with a Latin palindrome.

Date: July 1790
Periodical: The Gentleman's Magazine
Publication Location: London, England
Printer: John Nichols for D. Henry
Quote Page 605


[Begin excerpt - double-check for typos]
For, as to the mere artifice shewn in the construction of the verse,
it is clearly out-done in the verses quoted by Brodæus, and in a line
I remember to have met with:

Odo tenet malam, madidam mappam tenet Anna.
Anna tenet mappam madidam, malam tenet Odo.

In this verse we read backward, according to the order of the letters;
in that quoted by Mr. Row, according to the order of the words; and,
in point of composition, the difficulty in the former case is
certainly much greater than in the latter.

I remember to have seen one English verse of this kind:

Lewd did I live, evil I did dwell.

It is, indeed, a very shabby verse; and I have some pleasure in
finding that these difficiles nugæ make no figure in our language.
Stultus labor eft ineptiarum
[End excerpt]


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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