The Purple Cow Parodies



Gelett Burgess' original poem…

A Purple Cow

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.

Poem parodied in the
style of…

John Milton

Hence, vain, deluding cows.
The herd of folly, without colour bright,
How little you delight,
Or fill the Poet's mind, or songs arouse!
But, hail! thou goddess gay of feature!
Hail divinest purple creature!
Oh, Cow, thy visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight.
And though I'd like, just once, to see thee
I never, never, never'd be thee!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Cow thou never wert;
But in life to cheer it
Playest thy full part
In purple lines of unpremeditated art.

The pale purple colour
Melts around thy sight
Like a star, but duller,
In the broad daylight.
I'd see thee, but I would not be thee if I might.

We look before and after
At the cattle as they browse;
Our most hearty laughter
Something sad must rouse.
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of Purple Cows.

John Keats

A cow of purple is a joy forever.
Its loveliness increases. I have never
Seen this phenomenon. Yet ever keep
A brave lookout; lest I should be asleep
When she comes by. For, though I would not be one,
I've oft imagined 'twould be a joy to see one.

William Wordsworth

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dee;
A Cow whom there were few to praise
And very few to see.

A violet by a mossy stone
Greeting the smiling East
Is not so purple, I must own,
As that erratic beast.

She lived unknown, that Cow, and so
I never chanced to see;
But if I had to be one, oh,
The difference to me!

Thomas Grey

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea;
I watched them slowly wend their weary way,
But, ah, a Purple Cow I did not see.
Full many a cow of purplest ray serene
Is haply grazing where I may not see;
Full many a donkey writes of her, I ween,
But neither of these creatures would I be.

Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ask me no more. A cow I fain would see
Of purple tint, like to a sun-soaked grape -
Of purple tint, like royal velvet cape -
But such a creature I would never be -
Ask me no more.

Robert Browning

All that I know
Of a certain Cow
Is it can throw,
Somewhere, somehow,
Now a dart of red,
Now a dart of blue
(That makes purple, 'tis said).
I would fain see, too,
This Cow that darkles the red and the blue!

Dante G. Rossetti

The purple cow strayed in the glade;
(Oh, my soul! but the milk is blue!)
She strayed and strayed and strayed and strayed
(And I wail and I cry Wa-hoo!).

I've never seen her - nay, not I;
(Oh, my soul! but the milk is blue!)
Yet were I that cow I should want to die.
(And I wail and I cry Wa-hoo!).
But in vain my tears I strew.

Thomas Aldrich

Somewhere in some faked nature place,
In Wonderland, in Nonsense Land,
Two darkling shapes met face to face,
And bade each other stand.

'And who are you?' said each to each;
'Tell me your title, anyhow.'
One said, 'I am the Papal Bull,'
'And I the Purple Cow.'

Rudyard Kipling

In the old ten-acre pasture,
Lookin' eastward toward a tree,
There's a Purple Cow a-settin'
And I know she thinks of me.
For the wind is in the gum-tree,
And the hay is in the mow,
And the cow-bells are a-calling
'Come and see a Purple Cow!'

But I am not going now,
Not at present, anyhow,
For I am not fond of purple, and
I can't abide a cow;
No, I shall not go today,
Where the Purple Cattle play.
But I think I'd rather see one
Than to be one, anyhow.

Edgar Allan Poe

Open then I flung a shutter,
And, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a Purple Cow which gayly tripped around my floor.
Not the least obeisance made she,
Not a moment stopped or stayed she,
But with mien of chorus lady perched herself above my door.
On a dusty bust of Dante perched and sat above my door.

And that Purple Cow unflitting
Still is sitting - still is sitting
On that dusty bust of Dante just above my chamber door,

And her horns have all the seeming
Of a demon'
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 30, 2023

3:59 min read
72

Quick analysis:

Scheme x a abab cx deedffeecc c gxghh fefee fdfdd ffiibb jcjc klkl mcmc ncncxcbc b coocp mamaqrqrr c sRsR tRtRr uvuv xaxa fcbccmwa aavannba m ffpccpp awp wb
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,894
Words 790
Stanzas 28
Stanza Lengths 1, 1, 4, 2, 10, 1, 5, 5, 5, 6, 4, 4, 4, 8, 1, 5, 9, 1, 4, 5, 4, 4, 8, 8, 1, 7, 3, 2

Carolyn Wells

Carolyn Wells was an American author and poet. more…

All Carolyn Wells poems | Carolyn Wells Books

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