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nursery rhyme lyrics & origins
 
 

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics and Origins

The Elephant Rhyme

Nursery Rhyme & Poem

 

The Elephant Rhyme is also known as The Blind Men and the Elephant. The Elephant Rhyme was written by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887). The Elephant Rhyme is a poem with a morale reflecting on people who express their views on subjects that they have no experience of, or as in the Elephant Rhyme that they have never seen. The morale of the Elephant Rhyme is similar to that expressed by the Scarecrow in the wonderful Children's film - The Wizard Of Oz.

The screen play/script of the Wizard of Oz movie was written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allen Woolf. The similarity comes when Dorothy asks the Scarecrow, "How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?" To which the Scarecrow replies, "I don't know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?" See below for the words and morale of the Elephant Rhyme.

 
 
 

The elephant rhyme

 
 
 

The Elephant Rhyme

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

The Moral of the Elephant Rhyme:

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

The Elephant Rhyme

 

Note: A Rhymes lyrics and the perceived origins of some Nursery Rhymes vary according to location

 

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Written By Linda Alchin