On Being a Purple Cow

Allow me to say that this answer is just what we among the TM expect from the Staff: witty, entertaining, complete, accurate (or at least it appears so), and devoid of belittling commentary. Wonderful job, Songbird! :slight_smile:

Come on, DS. You’re one of the best at this – you almost never forget. What is missing from your post?

(You’re right about the quality of the item, BTW)

Livin’ on Tums, vitamin E and Rogaine

Well, it didn’t quote “The Purple Cow”, and some of us don’t know it.

And you didn’t give a link.

For the record, the Goop books are in print and available from Dover Publications, god bless their souls.

I purchased both for my daughter the last time I was in the Dover shop on Varick Street in lower Manhattan. To date, they have produced no visible effect upon her.


To quote the Purple Cow would be
A questionable tragedy;
But if it isn’t posted here
I’ll have to drown myself in tear(s).

Why does the link from the front page have the tag #update on the end of it? Is that a left over?

I’ve never seen a purple cow
I hope to never see one
But I’ll tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one.

-- Ogden Nash



Actually, I thought I did post a link, but apparently not… sometimes it doesn’t seem to work right for me, because recently I posted a link and all that came up was an empty post… oh well, back to the drawing board! <lol>

And the mailbag response DID mention the Purple Cow, which was NOT an Ogden Nash poem. I suggest someone actually read Songbird’s answer. :slight_smile:

Close, RM M, (aside from the Nash attribution), but here is Burgess’s:

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.


Did the Purple Cow poem actually exist? Or is it just an imaginary bit of literature that epitomises the inanity of turn-of-the-century (er…that’s the turn of the previous century) comedy? Are the multitude of pained references to it just a joke that us poor uncultured swine don’t get?
What’s the deal? If I don’t see the Purple Cow poem posted, my faith in the Edwardian literati will be compromised. :confused:

Warning! Safe is protected by a time control device.

That was weird…I guess I should have checked again before I sent the message. :o
But if that is the actual poem, I’m sadly disappointed. :frowning:

Warning! Safe is protected by a time control device.

Well, it’s that type of poem.
I think it’s a pretty dull, short, and insubstantial bit of fluff.
I guess Burgess did too.
So… Did the drink come first or what?

from RM Mentock:

I just noticed that. My link has it because I did an unedited copy/paste. The main page link has it, I presume, to forward us readers to the new stuff - the update. Oh well.

DSYoungEsq, sorry about your posting troubles. As for my comment, I was responding to the comment that it was a complete article. I didn’t recall offhand the Purple Cow poem, and the article didn’t quote the poem. It did refer to it, but did not print it. Of course once I saw it I recognized it, and understood why I didn’t recall it before - why would I want to remember that?

Actually, that poem reminds me of another (author I don’t know) that goes:

Yesterday, upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
Oh! How I wish he’d go away!

Poems like that, while hardly riveting fare, are the sort that tend to stick in the corners of one’s mind and get pulled out at the most unlikely times… like the middle of court! :slight_smile:


I can see how suddenly getting a silly poem stuck in your head could upset your basketball game. :wink:

then there is Burgess’s sequel:

Ah, yes, I wrote “The Purple Cow.”
I’m sorry now I wrote it!
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!

“But where were the Spiders?”

zgystardst, that’s in the column.

In the Mailbag column, it says:

He’s also credited with contributing several words to the English language, including “blurb.”[\quote]

I’m going to pick a minuscule nit with this. Burgess did not contribute several words to English, he actually only contributed one word (blurb) and added a new meaning to another word (bromide). He did coin a number of other words, and actually published a thin volume of them called Burgess Unabridged, but those words have not become part of English.

Don’t get me wrong, getting even one word added to English is quite an accomplishment. Most authors never manage even that.

Dan Tilque