One well morning in the middle of the night,Two dead men acquired up come fight,Back to ago they confronted each other,Drew your swords and also shot one another.

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I suspect it is from the victor era however would be interested to understand if it has any definite origins?

Bonus: space there an ext of this form of poem and is there a name for this genre of poem?



It"s old. Like, really old. So old the it"s impossible to tell wherein it originated.

The publication The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Iona and also Peter Opie, released in 1959, catalogues many different schoolyard poems from throughout the first half that the twentieth century, including the adhering to version of the one you"re interested in:

Ladles and jellyspoons ns stand upon this speech to make a communication the train ns arrived in has actually not yet come so i took a bus and walked ns come prior to you to was standing behind you and tell girlfriend something I recognize nothing about!

One fine job in the center of the night 2 dead men acquired up to a fight earlier to earlier they confronted each other drew their swords and shot each various other a paralysed cheat passing through kicked a blind man in the eye knocked him with a nine inch wall into a dried ditch and also drowned castle all.

I haven"t actually review the Opies" book myself, however according to this page:

Opie listed that this had been built up in 12 various schools roughly the UK, however that the had also been collected, with virtually no variation, fifty years before. That was more than likely older than that, too.

This rhyme many likely developed from various other nonsense rhymes based on similar themes: opposites put together, blind people watching, deaf world hearing, and also so on. A manuscript in the Bodleian library dating back to 1480 has the following lines:

I saw three headless playing at a ball, A handless male served lock all. While three mouthless guys laughed, 3 legless native them ran.

I"ve also found number of sources pointing to a 1305 manuscript The land of Cockaigne for an even older variation of this sort of rash poem, yet I haven"t managed to track under a copy of the initial manuscript to inspect the details. The primary resource here appears to be The Mummers" Play through R. J. E. Tiddy, published in 1923, the relevant citation gift on p. 116.With together a lengthy history, it appears the finest conclusion we can attract is that the idea the this poem has been about so long that it"s pretty lot a people tradition. It"s to be handed down from generation to generation, probably greatly orally, and has that course adjusted and mutated rather a lot end the last 7 hundred years. However trying to pin under an "original author", because that any particular version that the poem, is a fruitless endeavor in this centuries-long video game of Chinese Whispers. Also today, over there are many slightly various versions that the poem, and no solitary "canonical" wording - just look in ~ the variety of variations provided here and also here, because that example.As for your bonus question around the genre that this poem, I would say it"s a classic nonsense rhyme. It must be noted, however, that there space two distinct kinds of nonsense poem: ones choose this where the words make feeling individually but come to be nonsensical as soon as put together in the appropriate way, and also ones prefer Lewis Carroll"s Jabberwocky which are complete of nonsense words.

Some would certainly say that only the latter counts together a true nonsense rhyme:

Although the Two Dead Boys poem (“One Fine work in the center of the Night”) is regularly referred to as a nonsense rhyme, the description is no strictly accurate. It is plainly understandable in any of its numerous forms and versions and also the impossibilities in the story are no more than judicious words and also phrases that have been transposed. An example of a true nonsense rhyme can be viewed for instance in the very first four present of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” indigenous Through the spring Glass <...> One can obtain a feeling for the severe, collection darkness that the city from Carroll’s introductory lines but, till Humpty Dumpty describes it in its entirety, the poem, and specifically these very first four lines, makes no feeling at all.

But in daily parlance, "nonsense verse" can certainly be provided to cover both types of poem.

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The former type specifically have additionally been referred to as ballads of impossibilities:

The folklorist and also writer Ed Cray, writing to rather on an net ballad conversation line, noted that the happiness was a “Ballad the Impossibilities” and also that, “A number of these songs/ballads of impossibilities were published as broadsides in the 18th and also 19th centuries.<”>