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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    A Town Called Alice

    19th Century Poem About Girl Names

    This was just recently posted by the awesome site 'britishbabynames:'

    Click this link for more background on the poem: 'Twas Ever Thus - British Baby Names


    There is a strange deformity,
    Combined with countless graces,
    As often in the ladies' names
    As in the ladies' faces.
    Some names are fit for every age.
    Some only fit for youth;
    Some passing sweet and musical,
    Some horribly uncouth;
    Some fit for dames of loftiest grades,
    Some only fit for scullery-maids.

    Ann is too plain and common,
    And Nancy sounds but ill,
    Yet Anna is endurable,
    And Annie better still.
    There is a grace in Charlotte,
    In Eleanor a state,
    An elegance in Isabelle,
    A haughtiness in Kate;
    And Sarah is sedate and neat,
    And Ellen innocent and sweet.

    Matilda has a sickly sound,
    Fit for a nurses trade,
    Sophia is effeminate,
    And Esther sage and staid;
    Elizabeth's a matchless name
    Fit for a Queen to wear —
    In castle, cottage, hut, or hall,
    A name beyond compare:
    And Bess and Bessie follow well,
    But Betsy is detestable.

    Maria is too forward,
    And Gertrude is too gruff,
    Yet coupled with a pretty face,
    Is pretty name enough.
    And Adelaide is too fanciful,
    And Laura is too fine,
    But Emily is beautiful,
    And Mary is divine:
    Maud only suits a high-born dame,
    And Fanny is a baby-name.

    Eliza is not very choice,
    Jane is too blunt and bold,
    And Martha somewhat sorrowful,
    And Lucy proud and cold.
    Amelia is too light and gay,
    Fit only for a flirt.
    And Caroline is vain and shy,
    And Flora smart and pert:
    Louisa is too soft and sleek,
    But Alice gentle, chaste and meek.

    And Harriet is confiding,
    And Clara grave and mild,
    And Emma is affectionate,
    And Janet arch and wild.
    And Patience is expressive,
    And Grace is old and rare,
    And Hannah warm and dutiful,
    And Margaret frank and fair:
    And Faith, Hope and Charity,
    Are heavenly names for sisters three.

    Rebecca for a Jewess,
    Rose for a country belle,
    And Agnes for a blushing bride,
    Will suit exceedingly well:
    And Phoebe for a midwife,
    Joanna for a prude,
    And Rachel for a gipsy-wench,
    Are all extremely good:
    And Judith for a scold and churl,
    And Susan for a sailor's girl.

    Although I don't agree with some of the imagery, it is an interesting historical perspective on the names.
    Last edited by sunshine kid; July 23rd, 2013 at 07:22 AM.
    Ingrid | Kit | Esclarmonde | Alistair | Susanna | Emun

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    I adore this poem. Thanks for sharing!
    Danielle • 19 years old • United States

    Geraldine · Eleanor · Dorothy · Anne · Edith
    William · Edward · James · Robert · Henry

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    A Town Called Alice
    I concur!

    I'm thinking about hanging this poem up on my wall.
    Ingrid | Kit | Esclarmonde | Alistair | Susanna | Emun

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Just one foreign question... Does author of this poem means Sophia is masculine name or feminine? Does effeminate means the same 200 years before or meaning changed?

    Poem is lovely, but not something you should value as a opinion. I got feeling he was bored, so he write first thing that comes to mind.
    Seraphina Isolde Paige Cressida Melody Charlotte Cecily Despina Bridget Rosalyn Cvijeta Dorothea Millicent Gwenllian Beatrice Aurora Rosamund Matilda Nimue Sunniva Giselle Griselda Amoret Helena Anastasia Elaine Isabella Briseis Freya Blanche Paisley Flora Robin Magnus Percy Tristan Ansel Lysander Arthur Edmund Balthazar Dimitri Emil Amaury Erik Dylan Dorian Florian Gustav Harley Roland Ludwig Arlo Orpheus Amadeus Lucius Remy Thorin Hugo Edgar David Beowulf Wesley Roman Sylvan Maximilian Storm

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    A Town Called Alice
    I'm not sure... I've seen the word tossed around a lot in texts before the 20th century, but I think it was one of those words to describe 'disapproving.'

    The poem was meant to be a light hearted skit, but I can see what you meant about him being bored. I sort of wish he had ended the poem in another way to sum it all up.
    Last edited by sunshine kid; July 25th, 2013 at 08:14 AM.
    Ingrid | Kit | Esclarmonde | Alistair | Susanna | Emun

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