Sunday, November 18, 2007

GREETINGTH, POETRY LOVERTH!

This poem of Longfellow's is one of the funniest I know, rivaling even "Jabberwocky." One of these days I hope I'll get a chance to animate it.

It was taken very seriously in it's day. Towns were named for it as were high schools, an aircraft carrier, a TV space ship, a corporation, a bath mat, and shipping fodder. There's even a book called "Excelsior, You Fathead," which is my very favorite name for a book. If you're not familiar with this poem , then read on. Excelsior!























13 comments:

Taber said...

Wow, I had always wondered where that word had come from. Thanks for the enlightenment Uncle Eddie! Excelsior!

Mark Mayerson said...

Eddie, are you aware that Bullwinkle did a version of this?

Kali Fontecchio said...

Shocking!!

I.D.R.C. said...

Another poem I learned from Bullwinkle.

Anonymous said...

This story told in this poem seems pretty corny and surreal, doesn't it? Some guy carrying a flag running through the snow for no reason until he drops dead.
The ideals of triumph through sacrifice and glory through death have gotten pretty tarnished throughout the course of the 20th century, and this kind of heavy-handed allegory (the case can be made that the old man represents the prudence/cowardice of old age and that the maiden represents the temptations of the flesh etc. etc.) got old even before that.
Even though the thought that anyone would take this poem seriously today is both funny and scary, some of the ideals expressed in it (hopefully the saner ones) do live on.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Mark, IDRC, Anon: The Bullwinkle version is great! Longfellow's really good but he leaves himself wide open to to parody. That's all right, so did Shakespeare.

Eric O. Costello said...

Thurber did a version of this; it's in the Thurber Carnival. And I don't think this is the origin of the word, as at least one or two states have it as a motto on their flag. Plus there's excelsior packing, a fave of arsonists of the old school.

Lester Hunt said...

"Excelsior" is a Latin word, meaning something like "onward and upward!".

Anonymous said...

Good lord, THANK YOU for the Ernie Kovacs thing in the front. Every time I see that photo of Percy Dovetonsils I have a snorty laugh attack.

pappy d said...

You couldn't find an illustration of his triumphant corpse?

He should have stuffed some excelsior in his pant legs.

Barbara said...

Damn, why didn't we get into this poem in high school? Longfellow puts Byron and Shelley to shame. What an awesome man.

This would be a pretty bizarre animation...you should do it.

Weirdo said...

I love this poem. Is this where Stan Lee got his sign off from? Great blog you have. I read it everyday.

EXCELSIOR!

lastangelman said...

Oh, if I had that ancient B&W videotape copy of me performing Excelsior before a bunch giggling, pee-stained schoolboys. The schoolmaster remarked, "I hope Master Kevin you were seer-wee-ous and not mocking Wong-few-woe!" (he had a problem with Ls and Rs). "We may haff tew ee-wase yore wendition." At that point, I may have lost all bladder control, too!