Many Christmases ago, my sister gave me a little book entitled "A Century of Charades," by William Bellamy, published in 1894, followed in later years by "A Second Century of Charades," and then a third. These charades are the old fashioned kind--riddles in poetry, with the clues to the answer given syllable by syllable. A perfect peaceful parlour game for anyone planning a Victorian Christmas, or for those who like riddles.
Here's an example, with the answer:
"That my first is my second, all good people know;
My whole is a sailor who drew a long bow."
The first syllable is sin, the second bad, the whole is Sinbad.
Here are some more, without the answers, taken from "The Second Century of Charades." They are in order of difficulty.
I. My first, the end of riches,
My last, the Irish sea,
And one of the trials of authors
I find my whole to be.
II. If you were my first, and my second were nigh,
You'd acknowledge my whole, though it might seem awry;
And the state of my whole need not cause you alarms,
Though beaten he was by his colleague in arms.
III. My first:
I am the spur to many a Yankee notion.
I cause remittent, not continual, motion.
Oh Child, who reason for all things wouldst know,
I show not cause, but purpose oft I show.
To ease an aching head I cross the sea.
Stern Winter's treasures are looked up in me.
IV. This tale is true beyond dispute:
two fishes joined, and made a fruit.
A fruit that in a garden grew,
And brought great harm to me and you.
The evil serpent coiled without,
The worm of death lay hid within,
Eve brought this dreadful thing about;
When Adam ate with her, no doubt
But you and I committed sin.
All of these charade books can be found online as PDFs if you are intrigued. Here's the first century, here's the second. Mr. Bellamy provided answers encoded as numbers in the back of each book, but with the stern warning that "working backward from the answers is not solving charades." My sister and I did not listen, and being totally stumped by the majority of the charades, spent a lot of time working backward.
Here are the encoded answers for the above, but I'm not telling which anwer goes with which riddle (this is how Mr. Bellamy did it in the Second Century).
Here is the key--the numbers mean that one letter in that column is the correct one:
1 2 3 4 5
A B C D E
F G H I J
K L M N O
P Q R S T
U V W X Y
So then you can see what words you can make with the letters in each given column, and see if any fits the clues!
clue for the fourth one- think of types of fish.
This is my contribution to Poetry Friday--the roundup is at Becky's Book Reviews today!