Charles Stuart was never able to persue a professional career as a lawyer. He was however a very good poet. This is his poem A B C.
About Charles Stuart Calverley
He was born as Charles Stuart Blayds on December 22, 1831 in Worcestershire (England) as the son of Rev. Henry Blayds. His grandfather changed the family name from Calverley to Blayds in 1807. As for the grandson: he would grow out to become one of the most appreciated undergraduates at the Balliol College in Oxford. He won a prize for Latin verse in 1851. There are rumours that he wrote the award-winning piece in just one afternoon.
He was expelled from school and then decided to change his name to Calverley, to avoid any consequences when people found out who he really was. He picked up his studies at Christ’s College in Cambridge. He would win another prize for his Latin verse in 1856.
Unfortunately, he was not able to start a career as a lawyer, due to an accident when skating. He was invalid and would experience health issues during his whole life. He died at the age of 52 in 1884.
About A B C
Here we are, stuck with a poem about the alphabet. The alphabet and the explanation that Calverley decided upon. His parody was actually a form of criticism. One thinks about the fairytale of Cinderella when reading this poem. You decide, what are your thoughts?
A B C
A is an Angel of blushing eighteen:
B is the Ball where the Angel was seen:
C is her Chaperone, who cheated at cards:
D is the Deuxtemps, with Frank of the Guards:
E is the Eye which those dark lashes cover:
F is the Fan it peeped wickedly over:
G is the Glove of superlative kid:
H is the Hand which it spitefully hid:
I is the Ice which spent nature demanded:
J is the Juvenile who hurried to hand it:
K is the Kerchief, a rare work of art:
L is the Lace which composed the chief part.
M is the old Maid who watch’d the girls dance:
N is the Nose she turned up at each glance:
O is the Olga (just then in its prime):
P is the Partner who wouldn’t keep time:
Q ‘s a Quadrille, put instead of the Lancers:
R the Remonstrances made by the dancers:
S is the Supper, where all went in pairs:
T is the Twaddle they talked on the stairs:
U is the Uncle who ‘thought we’d be going’:
V is the Voice which his niece replied ‘No’ in:
W is the Waiter, who sat up till eight:
X is his Exit, not rigidly straight:
Y is a Yawning fit caused by the Ball:
Z stands for Zero, or nothing at all.
— Charles Stuart Calverley