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The Ballad of the Murdered Merchant

Franklin P. Adams 1881 (Chicago, Illinois) – 1960 (New York City, New York)

All stark and cold the merchant lay,
All cold and stark lay he.
And who hath killed the fair merchant?
Now tell the truth to me.

Oh, I have killed this fair merchant
Will never again draw breath;
Oh, I have made this fair merchant
To come unto his death.

Oh, why hast thou killed this fair merchant
Whose corpse I now behold?
And why hast caused this man to lie
In death all stark and cold?

Oh, I have killed this fair merchant
Whose kith and kin make moan,
For that he hath stolen my precious time
When he useth the telephone.

The telephone bell rang full and clear;
The receiver did I seize.
"Hello!" quoth I, and quoth a girl,
"Hello! . . . One moment, please."

I waited moments ane and twa,
And moments three and four,
And then I sought the fair merchant
And spilled his selfish gore.

That business man who scorneth to waste
His moments sae rich and fine
In calling a man to the telephone
Shall never again waste mine!

And every time a henchwoman
Shall cause me a moment's loss,
I'll forthwith fare to that office
And stab to death her boss.

Rise up! Rise up! thou blesséd knight!
And off thy bended knees!
Go forth and slay all folk who make
Us wait "One moment, please."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:07 min read

Franklin P. Adams

Franklin Pierce Adams was an American columnist known as Franklin P. Adams and by his initials F. P. A.. Famed for his wit, he is best known for his newspaper column, "The Conning Tower", and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio's Information Please. A prolific writer of light verse, he was a member of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s and 1930s. more…

All Franklin P. Adams poems | Franklin P. Adams Books

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