Archive for December 3rd, 2010

The Adjective…is Utterly Adjective-less

December 3, 2010


Bearded Poets

Image from the Rightreading website: Right-reading (adj): Having the proper orientation (used in printing) Follow the link for a list of pictured poets.


Where would the force of language be
‘Without the adjective?
How could the critic wing his shaft?
How could the poet live?

How could the novelist portray
The creatures of his brain,
The beauty of his heroine,
The transport of his swain?

No more his tide of eloquence
The orator could pour,
No more the man of science fill
His treasuries of lore.

The lover’s tongue could never tell
His passion and despair;
Deprived of its superlatives
Who would for flattery care?

Where would the sting of satire be?
The edge and point of wit?
How could the stab of censure wound,
The dart of sarcasm hit?

Biographers would cease to prowl,
Historians drop the pen,
Paralysis would chill and numb
The tongues and minds of men,—

The press would lose its voice of might,
The pulpit all its power,
The sage could not describe a star,
The botanist a flower,—

So rarely is a period penned,
A line or sentence made,
Or thought set down, O adjective,
Which does not claim thy aid!

Yet I for once defy thy might,
For mark me, as I live,
No stanza of the nine here writ
Contains an adjective!

Title: The Triangular Society: Leaves from the Life of a Portland Family
Author: Elizabeth Akers Allen
Publisher: Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, 1886
page 23