'In the back back garden, Thomasina Did you recently vociferate a squeal?' 'Oh, I trod up an amphisbaena1, And it bit me on the toe and on the heel. Yes, it bit me (do you know) With its tail upon the toe, While it bit me with its head upon the heel!' 'How excessively distracting and confusing. Pray what, Thomasina, did you do?' 'Oh, I took the garden scissors I was using And I snipped it irretrievably in two. And it split with such a scrunch That I shall not want my lunch. And if you had heard the noise no more would you.' 'And where, Thomasina, are the sections Of the foe that you courageously repressed?' 'Oh, they ran away in opposite directions, And they vanished in the east and in the west. And the way they made me squint, It would melt a heart of flint, And I think that I will go upstairs and rest.'
First published in Union Magazine, June 1906
1 Amphisbaena: a (mythical) snake with two heads and no tail. From the Greek for 'goes both ways'.
- by Alfred Edward Housman (1859 - 1936), "The amphisbaena" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Halsey Stevens (1908 - 1989), "The amphisbaena", published 1972 [ satb chorus and piano], madrigal [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-06-09
Line count: 21
Word count: 158