Gelett Burgess – nonsense poet

Epigraph to The Burgess Nonsense Book – by Gelett Burgess

To him who vainly conjures sleep
In counting visionary sheep;
To her who, in the dentist’s power
Would fain recall a gayer hour;
To him who visits tiresome aunts,
And comes upon this book by chance;
To her who in the hammock lies,
And, bored with Ibsen, BURGESS tries;
To those who can’t remember dates
While nonsense rhymes stick in their pates;
To those who buy, and do not borrow,
Nor put it off until to-morrow;
To all who in these pages look,
I dedicate this Nonsense Book!

Many people are familiar with half of Gelett Burgess’ most famous poem, The Purple Cow, but few remember it in it’s entirety:

The Purple Cow’s Projected Feast:
Reflections on a Mythic Beast,
Who’s Quite Remarkable, At Least.

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

Here’s a fun collection of his poems, courtesy of Google Books:

Goops and how to be them A Manual of Manners for Polite Infants Inculcating Many Juvenile Virtues Both By Precept and Example With Ninety Drawings.


Perseverance - by Gelett Burgess