P to Pagan

P. Placentius the dominican wrote a poem of 253 Latin hexameters, called Pugna Porcorum per P. Porcium poelam, every word of which begins with the letter p (died 1548). It begins thus—

Plaudite, Porcelli, porcorum pigra propago
Praise Paul’s prize pig’s prolific progeny.

There are three rather celebrated poems, every word of which begins with c.

(1) Henry Harder, for example, wrote 100 Latin hexameter verses on the contest of Cats and Dogs. Its title is, Canem cum Catis certamen carmine compositum currente calamo C. Catulli Caninii.

The first line of this poem is as follows:—

Cattorum canïmus certamina clara canumque.
Come, chant Coe’s collie conquering Cato’s cat.

(2) Hucbald’s poem in honour of Charles le Chauve contains more than 100 Latin hexameters. The last two lines are—

Conveniet claras claustris componere cannas
Completur claris carmeu cantabile Calvis.

(3) Hamconius wrote a similar poem on the Controversy of Catholics and Calvinists. The title is, Certamen Catholicum cum Calvinistis.

In the Materia more Magistralis every word begins with m.

The following distich on cardinal Wolsey is excellent:—

Begot by butchers, but by bigots bred,
How high his honour holds his haughty head.

Tusser has a poem of twelve lines in rhyme, every word of which begins with t. The subject is on Thrift. (See T.) Tusser died 1850.

The best-known alliterative poem in English is the following:—

An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Bravely by battery besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders, cannonading, come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom;
Every endeavour engineers essay
For fame, for fortune, forming furious fray.
Gaunt gunners grapple, giving gashes good;
Heaves high his head heroic hardihood.
Ibraham, Islam, Ismael, imps in ill,
Jostle John, Jarovlitz, Jem, Joe, Jack, Jill;
Kick kindling Kutusoff, kings’ kinsmen kill;
Labour low levels loftiest, longest lines;
Men march ’mid moles, ’mid mounds, ’mid murderous mines.
Now nightfall’s nigh, now needful nature nods,
Opposed, opposing, overcoming odds.
Poor peasants, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, “Quarter! Quarter!” quickly quest.
Reason returns, recalls redundant rage,
Sees sinking soldiers, softens signiors sage.
Truce, Turkey, truce! truce, treacherous Tartar train!
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish, vile vengeance! vanish, victory vain!
Wisdom wails war-wails warring words. What were
Xerxes, Xantippê, Ximenês, Xavier?
Yet Yassy’s youth, ye yield your youthful yest.
Zealously, zanies, zealously, zeal’s zest.
   —From H. Southgate: Many Thoughts on Many Things.

N.B.—This alliterative poem is attributed to Alaric Watts (1820); but is generally assigned to the Rev. B. Poulter, prebendary of Winchester.

There is another beginning—

About an age ago, as all agree,
Beauteous Belinda, brewing best Bohea,
and so on, by no means difficult.

P’s (The Five), William Oxberry, printer, poet, publisher, publican, and player (1784–1824).

P’s (Four). (See Play Called The Four P’s, p. 853.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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