H, hark while I expound
The tale of Peter Gorringe,
The only man who ever found
A word to rhyme with orange.
Now, Peter was a poet, and the finest of his times,
It really did a fellow good to listen to his rhymes.
While for purity of feeling and correctly-fashioned metre,
There was not another writer who was in the hunt with Peter.
One day, as at the looking-glass his raven locks he curled,
Said he, “I’m quite the very finest poet in the world.
All rivals up to present date with ease have I defeated.”
(For Peter, I regret to say, was apt to be conceited).
A rival, who had heard him, rose and answered, “That may be.
Perhaps you are in certain ways superior to me.
But for all your mighty genius, as you call it, Mr. Gorringe,
I’ll wager that you cannot find a word to rhyme with ‘orange.’ ”
“A rhyme to orange?” Peter cried, “Why, bless you, yes, a score,
I’d have let you have them sooner if you’d mentioned it before.”
His rival laughed. “A score, you say ? I’ll bet an even penny
That, however much you search for them, you won’t discover any.”
So Peter sought for hours and days and weeks and months and years,
Regardless of his rivals and their rude remarks and sneers,
Until at last, “It’s hard,” thought he, “this problem to unravel.
A change of air perhaps might help. So—happy thought—I’ll travel.”
He went to Russia and Ostend, to China and Peru,
To Spain, Thibet, and Margate Sands, to Penge and Timbuctoo,
And thus addressed the passer-by, whene’er by chance he met one,
“I want a rhyme to orange. Can you tell me where to get one?”
The passer-by would raise his hat, and slowly scratch his head,
And finally request him to ask some one else instead.
He went through every continent; he sailed through every ocean,
But everyone he asked declared they hadn’t got a notion.
The question after several years remained unanswered still,
When Peter, in despair at last, brought up before a hill.
“What good,” he thought, “is in this search? What benefit? What profit?
I’ll clamber to yon mountain top, and die by jumping off it.”
He clambered to the summit, and was just about to drop,
When someone from behind a rock ran out and shouted “Stop!”
A uniformed official, and he said to Peter Gorringe,
“You aren’t allowed to kill yourself by jumping off Mount Blorenge.”
“Mount WHAT?” cried Peter, “Oh, hurrah! Oh, rapture, joy, relief!
Farewell to woe! Farewell to tears! Farewell to pain and grief!
To England once again I’ll speed. The startling facts I’ll mention.
I ought to get rewarded with a peerage and a pension.”
He did. A grateful country made him instantly a peer,
With a house in Belgrave Square and fifty thousand pounds a year.
And now he’s changed his name from simple Mr. Peter Gorringe
To Peter, Poet Laureate, Viscount Rhymer of Mount Blorenge.