Sunday, 21 September 2014


two items in this unillustrated blog entry.  The first is that I noticed this morning that a wild violet in a corner of the garden is again in flower - 21st September!!


The second is that although I'm not in a position to offer a Mystery Object, as I can't publish photos at the moment, here is a sort of verbal, or rather literary, mystery object for your perusal.

It is by Catherine Fanshawe, who lived from 1765 to 1834. It's not great poetry but I've always found it very neat verse. It's more of a conundrum than an enigma, but it's one that our grandparents would have recognised instantly. See if you can solve it  :-


'Twas whispered in Heaven, 'twas muttered in Hell,
And echo caught softly the sound as it fell:
In the confines of Earth 'twas permitted to rest,
And the depth of the ocean its presence confessed;
'Twas seen in the lightning, 'twas heard in the thunder,
'Twill be found in the spheres when they're riven asunder;
'twas given to man with his earliest breath,
It assists at his birth and attends him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honour, and health,
'Tis the prop of his house and the end of his wealth;
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned;
In the heaps of the miser 'tis hoarded with care,
but is sure to be lost in the prodigal heir;
Without it the soldier and sailor may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home;
In the whispers of conscience it there will be found,
Nor e'er in the whirlwind of passion be drowned;
It softens the heart, and though deaf to the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear;
But in shades let it rest, like an elegant flower,
Oh! breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour.


You should be able to work it out. You'll probably be aware of it (it's a real old chestnut).
If in doubt think Jane Austen's Emma.


Crowbard said...

The answer will not rise to fame
though leader of our family name.

Rog said...

To bring up to date
This difficult jumble
It was a member of Steppes
Who came third in Tumble

Mike and Ann said...

Crowbard and Rog. Thank you, gentlemen. Your answers are both in a style that Mrs. Fanshawe would have recognised, and approved of. Well done.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard and Rog. The answer to 'The Enigma' is, of course, the letter 'H'. I mentioned Jane Austin's Emma, in that there is a chapter in the book (which is one of my favourites, by the way) where Emma and her young friend try and write a similar riddle in verse.