One fine morning in the center of the night,Two dead men acquired up come fight,Back to back they challenged each other,Drew your swords and shot one another.

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I suspect it is native the victor era yet would be interested to know if the has any type of definite origins?

Bonus: are there much more of this kind of poem and also is over there a surname for this genre of poem?



It"s old. Like, really old. So old the it"s difficult to tell whereby it originated.

The book The Lore and Language the Schoolchildren by Iona and Peter Opie, published in 1959, catalogues many different schoolyard poems from throughout the first half that the twenty century, consisting of the adhering to version that the one you"re interested in:

Ladles and also jellyspoons ns stand upon this speech to do a communication the train ns arrived in has actually not however come so ns took a bus and also walked i come before you to stand behind you and tell girlfriend something I recognize nothing about!

One fine work in the middle of the night 2 dead men got up to a fight earlier to earlier they faced each other attracted their swords and shot each other a paralysed cheat passing by kicked a blind guy in the eye knocked him through a ripe inch wall into a dried ditch and also drowned them all.

I haven"t actually review the Opies" book myself, yet according come this page:

Opie noted that this had actually been built up in 12 various schools roughly the UK, however that the had also been collected, with nearly no variation, fifty years before. The was more than likely older than that, too.

This rhyme most likely developed from other nonsense rhymes based on similar themes: opposites placed together, blind civilization watching, deaf human being hearing, and so on. A manuscript in the Bodleian library dating ago to 1480 includes the complying with lines:

I saw 3 headless playing at a ball, A handless male served lock all. While 3 mouthless men laughed, three legless indigenous them ran.

I"ve additionally found several sources pointing come a 1305 manuscript The floor of Cockaigne for an also older version of this kind of nonsense poem, however I haven"t managed to track under a copy the the original manuscript to inspect the details. The primary resource here shows up to it is in The Mummers" Play through R. J. E. Tiddy, published in 1923, the relevant citation being on p. 116.With such a lengthy history, it appears the ideal conclusion we can attract is that the idea of this poem has been around so long that it"s pretty lot a people tradition. It"s to be handed down from generation to generation, probably largely orally, and also has the course changed and mutated rather a lot end the last 7 hundred years. Yet trying to pin under an "original author", because that any specific version of the poem, is a fruitless venture in this centuries-long game of Chinese Whispers. Even today, there are countless slightly various versions the the poem, and no single "canonical" wording - just look in ~ the variety of variations detailed here and here, for example.As for your bonus question around the genre of this poem, I would certainly say it"s a classic nonsense rhyme. It must be noted, however, that there are two unique kinds of rash poem: ones like this whereby the words make sense individually but become nonsensical when put together in the appropriate way, and ones choose Lewis Carroll"s Jabberwocky i beg your pardon are full of rash words.

Some would certainly say that only the last counts as a true rash rhyme:

Although the Two Dead Boys city (“One Fine work in the middle of the Night”) is frequently referred to as a nonsense rhyme, the description is no strictly accurate. The is clearly understandable in any of its numerous forms and also versions and also the impossibilities in the story room no more than sensible words and also phrases that have actually been transposed. An example of a true rash rhyme deserve to be watched for instance in the first four currently of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” indigenous Through the looking Glass <...> One can obtain a emotion for the severe, collection darkness the the city from Carroll’s introductory lines but, till Humpty Dumpty describes it in that entirety, the poem, and specifically these very first four lines, makes no sense at all.

But in day-to-day parlance, "nonsense verse" can certainly be supplied to sheathe both types of poem.

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The former form specifically have likewise been dubbed ballads that impossibilities:

The folklorist and writer Ed Cray, creating to others on an web ballad conversation line, listed that the luck was a “Ballad of Impossibilities” and that, “A variety of these songs/ballads the impossibilities were printed as broadsides in the 18th and 19th centuries.<”>