Saturday, 22 October 2011

Curses in Literature 1: the Jackdaw of Rheims

The Ingoldsby Legends is a charming and once enormously popular collection of myths and legends, written by  Victorian clergyman called Richard Harris Barham. The most popular piece in the collection  is undoubtedly  'The Jackdaw of Rheims,' an anti-Catholic poem which describes how a jackdaw steals a cardinal's ring and is made a saint, despite this impressive curse from the cardinal

The Cardinal rose with a dignified look,
He call'd for his candle, his bell, and his book!
    In holy anger, and pious grief,
    He solemnly cursed that rascally thief!
    He cursed him at board, he cursed him in bed;
    From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head;
    He cursed him in sleeping, that every night
    He should dream of the devil, and wake in a fright;
    He cursed him in eating, he cursed him in drinking,
    He cursed him in coughing, in sneezing, in winking;
    He cursed him in sitting, in standing, in lying;
    He cursed him in walking, in riding, in flying,
    He cursed him in living, he cursed him dying!--
Never was heard such a terrible curse!!
But what gave rise
To no little surprise,
Nobody seem'd one penny the worse!

See wiki for more on the author and his book -

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