Category Archives: Nonsense Lyrics

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

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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Gustave Verbeek’s Cruel Tales and the Nonsense Tradition

[I wrote this short article for The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek: The Complete Sunday Comics 1903-1905, edited by Peter Maresca, foreword by Martin Gardner. Palo Alto, CA: Sunday Press Books, 2009, where it appeared under the title “Verbeek’s Loony Lyrics … Continue reading

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Thumbnail Studies in Un-natural History

Bob Addams, “Two Thumbnail Studies in Un-natural History.” The Metropolitan Magazine, vol. 22, no. 6, September 1905, p. 740.

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