Faithless Sally Brown

Faithless Sally Brown

Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;
And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
That was a lady’s maid.

But as they fetch’d a walk one day,
They met a press-gang crew;
And Sally she did faint away,
Whilst Ben he was brought to.

The Boatswain swore with wicked words,
Enough to shock a saint,
That though she did seem in a fit,
‘Twas nothing but a feint.

“Come, girl,” said he, “hold up your head,
He’ll be as good as me;
For when your swain is in our boat,
A boatswain he will be.”

So when they’d made their game of her,
And taken off her elf,
She roused, and found she only was
A coming to herself.

“And is he gone, and is he gone?”
She cried, and wept outright:
“Then I will to the water side,
And see him out of sight.”

A waterman came up to her,–
“Now, young woman,” said he,
“If you weep on so, you will make
Eye-water in the sea.”

“Alas! they’ve taken my beau Ben
To sail with old Benbow;”
And her woe began to run afresh,
As if she’d said Gee woe!

Says he, “They’ve only taken him
To the Tender ship, you see”;
“The Tender-ship,” cried Sally Brown
“What a hard-ship that must be!”

“O! would I were a mermaid now,
For then I’d follow him;
But Oh!–I’m not a fish-woman,
And so I cannot swim.

“Alas! I was not born beneath
The virgin and the scales,
So I must curse my cruel stars,
And walk about in Wales.”

Now Ben had sail’d to many a place
That’s underneath the world;
But in two years the ship came home,
And all her sails were furl’d.

But when he call’d on Sally Brown,
To see how she went on,
He found she’d got another Ben,
Whose Christian-name was John.

“O Sally Brown, O Sally Brown,
How could you serve me so?
I’ve met with many a breeze before,
But never such a blow”:

Then reading on his ‘bacco box
He heaved a bitter sigh,
And then began to eye his pipe,
And then to pipe his eye.

And then he tried to sing “All’s Well,”
But could not though he tried;
His head was turn’d, and so he chew’d
His pigtail till he died.

His death, which happen’d in his berth,
At forty-odd befell:
They went and told the sexton, and
The sexton toll’d the bell.

Thomas Hood

Faithless Nelli Gray

Faithless Nelly Gray

         —-     A Pathetic Ballad

Ben Battle was a soldier bold,
And used to war’s alarms;
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,
So he laid down his arms.

Now as they bore him off the field,
Said he, ‘Let others shoot;
For here I leave my second leg,
And the Forty-second Foot.’

The army-surgeons made him limbs:
Said he, ‘They’re only pegs;
But there’s as wooden members quite,
As represent my legs.’

Now Ben he loved a pretty maid, —
Her name was Nelly Gray;
So he went to pay her his devours,
When he devoured his pay.

But when he called on Nelly Gray,
She made him quite a scoff;
And when she saw his wooden legs,
Began to take them off.

‘O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!’
Is this your love so warm?
The love that loves a scarlet coat
Should be a little more uniform.

Said she, ‘ I loved a soldier once,
For he was blithe and brave;
But I will never have a man
With both legs in the grave

‘Before you had those timber toes
Your love I did allow;
But then, you know, you stand upon
Another footing now.’

‘O Nelly Gray! O Nelly Gray!
For all your jeering speeches,
At duty’s call I left my legs
In Badajos’s breaches.’

‘Why, then,’ said she, ‘you’ve lost the feet
Of legs in war’s alarms,
And now you cannot wear your shoes
Upon your feats of arms!’

‘O false and fickle Nelly Gray!
I know why you refuse:
Though I’ve no feet, some other man
Is standing in my shoes.

‘I wish I ne’er had seen your face;
But, now, a long farewell!
For you will be my death’ — alas!
You will not be my Nell!’

Now when he went from Nelly Gray
His heart so heavy got,
And life was such a burden grown,
It made him take a knot.

So round his melancholy neck
A rope he did intwine,
And, for his second time in life,
Enlisted in the Line.

One end he tied around a beam,
And then removed his pegs;
And, as his legs were off — of course
He soon was off his legs.

And there he hung till he was dead
As any nail in town;
For, though distress had cut him up,
It could not cut him down.

A dozen men sat on his corpse,
To find out why he died, —
And they buried Ben in four cross-roads
With a stake in his inside.

Thomas Hood

Puns for Educated Minds


Puns for Educated Minds

I found this on the internet and thought I would share it with one and all !

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.
He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine .

21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Some additions from me……

Two cannibals eating a white explorer in Africa.

Cannibal One to Another: Doctor Livingstone, I consume?

And the following are those who are familiar with mathematics.

Q:Why was e never known so well?

A:Because when he tried to differentiate himself, he ended up being his same old self!

The celibate priest was caught having an affair with none!


Do you have any puns of your own? Do share it with me!

Subjects – Simple, Compound and not so Simple

The subject of a sentence is what the sentence is all about.

John is going out on a vacation.

The above is a simple sentence with John as the subject. The subject is made up of a single noun, John.

Now let us look at the following examples:

John and Mary are going out on a vacation. (2)

John, along with Mary is going out on a vacation

Either me or my brothers will come today.

The subjects are no longer single nouns, but are a part of a phrase consisting of many nouns, joined together either by a conjunction or additives. Essentially, now the subject is a noun phrase, consisting of many nouns tied together with conjunctions or additives.

In the specific case of two nouns combined by the conjunctive and, it is called a compound subject (as in example (2)).

Noun phrases can also be longer as in the following examples:

A swarm of bees is invading the farm. (5)

The committee of engineers is scheduled to meet today.(6)

The members of parliament are scheduled to get a pay hike. (7)

In the above cases, the subject consists of a several nouns connected by prepositions, In such cases, you should be careful when choosing the verb that follows the subject phrase. The verb usually refers to the main subject (swarm, committee, members) inside the subject phrase. Hence, whether the verb is singular or plural will be decided by the main subject and not the noun nearest to it.

The noun phrases in the above examples had nouns related to each other using prepositions. Hence structurally, they are referred to as prepositional phrases.Functionally, they are noun phrases.

Standardized Tests like the SAT often confuse the test taker by placing a singular or plural verb right next to a singular or plural noun in a subject phrase. The student has to comprehend the meaning of the sentence and correctly understand the noun the verb refers to and on that basis choose its number. In (6) and (7) the verbs is and are correctly refer to swarm and parliament.


In the following examples, can you correctly identify the verb that should be used?

The mechanic with the families repair/repairs the cars in their godowns.

The wives of the armed forces veterans is/are at the charity ball.





repairs as mechanic is singular.

are because wives is plural.

Two more examples for you:

The grievance of the ladies in the apartment block , was/were that the security guards were not always present at their station.

The cat on the hot tin roofs look/looks ready to jump at me any moment.

The Mystery of the Missing Subject!

One of my students recently asked me:

What is the subject in the following  sentence?

There are many cats on the cold tin roof.

When I asked him to guess, he said “There” was the subject of the sentence. He said this because the usual word order in English is S-V-O. Therefore he thought “There” was the subject of the sentence. But is it so?

Lets analyze the sentence.

Grammar Diagrams

The sentence is about cats so that is the subject. And the verb is are. And we have the preposition on and its object cold tin roof.

So what about there? What role is it playing in the sentence? It is definitely not the subject since we are not talking about there, we are talking about cats.

There here functions as a placeholder. It has no meaning by itself. It is a filler. It is required simply for the sake of grammar. It is a syntactical requirement and has no semantic (meaningful) function.

In fact the above sentence can be re-written as:

Many cats are on the cold tin roofs. 

The meaning is perfectly conveyed even though there is omitted. There is not required.

The technical term for there in the above sentence is an expletive. It means a filler.

Expletives are used when in everyday conversations but you are required to avoid them in formal English.

Another example of an expletive is here.

  • Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
    (Richard Bach)

The word here in the above sentence is an expletive and is not the subject of the sentence. The sentence can be re-written as:

The test to find out whether your mission on earth is finished is this. If you are alive, it isn’t.

Another commonly used expletive filler or placeholder is the pronoun it.

It is raining.

It is a well known fact that the Chinese regard the turtle as a supernatural.

In the above sentences, it is not the subject, but merely a placeholder and the sentence can be re-written without it. Do it as an exercise.

Also it as a placeholder occurs frequently in statements given out by the weather station. For that reason, it is also called the weather it.

It is hot today. It will rain tomorrow. It snowed in the Arctic yesterday.



Subject – Verb Agreement – 3

We saw that when two subjects are combined together by and, we get a compound subject that takes a plural verb.

What happens when two subjects are combined using conjunctions such as or, either…or, neither…. nor?.

In such cases, the subject closest to the verb determines whether the verb is going to be singular or plural.

Oliver or his brothers are coming today.  (brothers is nearest to the verb in the sentence, so it is plural)

My brothers or my sister is coming today. (sister is nearest to the verb in the sentence, hence singular)

My sister or my brothers are coming today. (brother is nearest to the verb in the sentece, hence plural)

This is also known as the law of proximity.




Pronouns that are always singular

The following pronouns are always singular.

anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody

No one knows that I have the key to the riddle of the cosmos.

Everyone loves to be in the shoes of Michael Jackson

Nobody knows anything about plane crash

Anyone has heard of the horse that bolted from the

Someone is going to be punished for this terrible accident.



Pronoun – Verb Agreement – 2 – Indefinite Pronouns

The following pronouns are called as indefinite pronouns as they don’t point to anybody or anything in particular.

anyone, everyone, someone, no one, anybody, everybody, somebody, nobody, anything, everything, something, nothing.

any, one, none, some, several, all, few, fewer, many, less, little, more, much,most

each, other, another.

either, neither

Of these some of them are always singular, others are always plural, some are both singular and plural. The usage and context will decide whether they will singular or plural.

The following pronouns are always singular.

No one knows that I have the key to the riddle of the cosmos.

Nothing is known about the lions which went missing from the zoo.

Everybody looks to Messi as their football guru.

Everyone loves to be in the shoes of Michael Jackson

Nobody knows anything about plane crash

Anything goes with a cup of well-brewed coffee

Anybody has the key to the lock?

Something is seriously wrong with the conductor of the orchestra.

Someone is going to be punished for this terrible accident.

Somebody is going to tell me where to find the cakes hidden in the kitchen.





Pronoun – Verb Agreement – 1

We have seen many instances of subject-verb agreement and the rules that need to be followed when connecting them.

Now we move on to pronouns.

A pronoun should agree with the verb in the same fashion a noun agrees with its verb. Singular pronouns take singular verbs, plural pronouns take plural verbs.

He is an honest man.

She is a great teacher and has inspired many students to scale great heights in their lives.

They are coming today.

They have landed at the airport, and I am going to get them.

Refer to the following Pronoun Table to familiarize yourself with the singular and plural forms of the personal pronouns.

Subject – Verb Agreement – 6

Some plural nouns refer to singular things but are made of many parts. Use a plural verb to go with them.

The scissors are good.

The sunglasses look fashionable on you.

The trousers fit him perfectly.

Those pants were a bargain.

However, when you talk of “a pair of scissors” or a “pair of sunglasses”, use the singular verb.

A pair of scissors is a good addition to a tailor’s kit.

A pair of sunglasses lies on the table.

Other such examples are:  trousers, glasses, pliers, tongs, tweezers, binoculars, sunglasses, headphones, jeans, pyjamas, shorts, knickers.

Generally any tool, instrument or article of clothing which have two parts.