By guest contributor Gellett Burgess.

THE PURPLE COW’S Projected Feast:
Reflections on a Mythic Beast,
Who’s quite Remarkable, at Least.

I never saw a Purple Cow;
I never hope to See One;
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I’d rather See than Be One.

THE PURPIL COWE: Perilla Says she Wrote it.
The Last Four lines are Mine, and So I Quote it.

A Mayde there was, semely and meke enow,
She sate a-milken of a purpil Cowe:
Rosy hire Cheke as in the Month of Maye,
And sikerly her merry Songe was gay
As of the Larke vprift, washen in Dewe;
Like Shene of Sterres, sperkled hire Eyen two.
Now came ther by that Way a hendy Knight
The Mayde espien in morwening Light.
A faire Person he was—of Corage trewe
With lusty Berd and Chekes of rody Hewe:
Dere Ladye (quod he) far and wide I’ve straied
Vncouthe Aventure in straunge Contrie made
Fro Berwicke unto Ware. Pardé I vowe
Erewhiles I never faw a purpil Cowe!
Fayn wold I knowe how Catel thus can be?
Tel me I pray you, of yore Courtesie!
The Mayde hire Milken stent—Goode Sir she saide,
The Master’s Mandement on vs ylaid
Decrees that in these yclept gilden Houres
Hys Kyne shall ete of nought but Vylet Floures!


CONFESSION: and a Portrait Too,
Upon a Background that I Rue.

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!
Dr._Boli's_Anthology_Cover_for_KindleThis essay and hundreds of pages of other amusements may be found in Dr. Boli’s Anthology of American Humor, now available in splendid paperback or as a free PDF download. Look at the PDF, and if you think this book is exactly what you need to distribute to the poor children of Friesland, buy the paperback book.


  1. Captain DaFt says:

    I admit to being taken a bit aback.
    I never expected to read purple verse on this site!

  2. When I was in the first grade back in 1963 and waiting for the school bus, two girls my age recited the traditional “Purple Cow” rhyme, and when they finished with “I’d rather see than be one,” my older brother, in the second grade, immediately retorted, “I wouldn’t. I’d rather BE a purple cow!” That put the two girls in an angry fit! But my brother refused to back down! The two girls fumed . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

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