Treasure Island

Benjamin Tompson

(1642 - 1714 / Massachusetts, United States)

The Grammarians Funeral


Eight Parts of Speech this Day wear Mourning Gowns
Declin'd Verbs, Pronouns, Participles, Nouns.
And not declined, Adverbs and Conjunctions,
In Lillies Porch they stand to do their functions.
With Preposition; but the most affection
Was still observed in the Interjection.
The Substantive seeming the limbed best,
Would set an hand to bear him to his Rest.
The Adjective with very grief did say,
Hold me by strength, or I shall faint away.
The Clouds of Tears did over-cast their faces,
Yea all were in most lamentable Cases.
The five Declensions did the Work decline,
And Told the Pronoun Tu, The work is thine:
But in this case those have no call to go
That want the Vocative, and can't say O!
The Pronouns said that if the Nouns were there,
There was no need of them, they might them spare:
But for the sake of Emphasis they would,
In their Discretion do what ere they could.
Great honour was confer'd on Conjugations,
They were to follow next to the Relations.
Amo did love him best, and Doceo might
Alledge he was his Glory and Delight.
But Lego said by me he got his skill,
And therefore next the Herse I follow will.
Audio said little, hearing them so hot,
Yet knew by him much Learning he had got.
O Verbs the Active were, Or Passive sure,
Sum to be Neuter could not well endure.
But this was common to them all to Moan
Their load of grief they could not soon Depone.
A doleful Day for Verbs, they look so moody,
They drove Spectators to a Mournful Study.
The Verbs irregular, 'twas thought by some,
Would break no rule, if they were pleas'd to come.
Gaudeo could not be found; fearing disgrace
He had with-drawn, sent Maereo in his Place.
Possum did to the utmost he was able,
And bore as Stout as if he'd been A Table.
Volo was willing, Nolo some-what stout,
But Malo rather chose, not to stand out.
Possum and Volo wish'd all might afford
Their help, but had not an Imperative Word.
Edo from Service would by no means Swerve,
Rather than fail, he thought the Cakes to Serve.
Fio was taken in a fit, and said,
By him a Mournful POEM should be made.
Fero was willing for to bear a part,
Altho' he did it with an aking heart.
Feror excus'd, with grief he was so Torn,
He could not bear, he needed to be born.


Such Nouns and Verbs as we defective find,
No Grammar Rule did their attendance bind.
They were excepted, and exempted hence,
But Supines, all did blame for negligence.
Verbs Offspring, Participles hand-in-hand,
Follow, and by the same direction stand:
The rest Promiscuously did croud and cumber,
Such Multitudes of each, they wanted Number.
Next to the Corpse to make th' attendance even,
Jove, Mercury, Apollo came from heaven.
And Virgil, Cato, gods, men, Rivers, Winds,
With Elegies, Tears, Sighs, came in their kinds.
Ovid from Pontus hast's Apparrell'd thus,
In Exile-weeds bringing De Tristibus:
And Homer sure had been among the Rout,
But that the Stories say his Eyes were out.
Queens, Cities, Countries, Islands, Come
All Trees, Birds, Fishes, and each Word in Um.


What Syntax here can you expect to find?
Where each one bears such discomposed mind.
Figures of Diction and Construction,
Do little: Yet stand sadly looking on.
That such a Train may in their motion chord,
Prosodia gives the measure Word for Word.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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