Monday, September 19, 2016

Charade No. 35

Apologies for not posting in quite a while. Here is a charade originally published in a magazine where the winner sent his or her answer in rhyme. Once one of you has guessed the answer, I will post the rhyming version.

Take the name of a thing that your body contains,
Then scan all your thoughts, and puzzle your brains,
Add to it a thing, which in vallies (sic) is plenty,
But go to the hills and you’ll find it right scanty;
And those two together, when you have made known,
To the world you’ll discover a rich trading town.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Charade No. 34

You witness in my beauteous first
The wonders of creation;
My next is blessed or accurst (cursed),
As he fulfills his station:
My total (whole) dances round the year;
The present soon will disappear.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Charade No. 33

My first is a plaything;
My second few play with;
My whole plays with nobody.

Charade No. 32

My first descends from yon eternal skies;
A winged weapon from my second flies;
And in my whole these colors may be seen,
Yellow and blue, as well as red and green.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Find Regency Charades

Here are a few pointers if you’d like to find Regency charades on your own.

The most available sources for a modern collector are books and bound magazines. Originals can cost up to hundreds or (low) thousands of dollars (USD). A warning: some of these have very poor bindings; these were often intended to be rebound to the taste of the purchaser, a common practice in that period.

Now that many older books are being reprinted by automated processes, collections can be found for a lot less, up to roughly 20 - 40 USD. There are some difficulties with these newer versions: many have errors in the text due to the scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) software that are sometimes used; some listings have disclaimers about this. Another issue is that the online listings don’t often list the original publication date, so you may want to contact the bookseller to get this and other details.

Some good places to look:

  • Bookfinder ( this is a “federated search” site for many antiquarian book dealers and sites, including AbeBooks, Alibris, and many smaller dealers, as well as Amazon and eBay. This is a favorite of mine, but you will find that a search on “charades” returns many titles that have nothing to do with Regency charades.

  • eBay ( there are sometimes good bargains on this site.

When searching, keep in mind that titles originally published after about 1840 are often about acting charades, rather than the rhyming riddles featured in this blog.

Another source, in case you don't necessarily want to buy, is the Special Collections department of a university or major public library.

If you have other sources to recommend, or have found an interesting collection, please post a comment to share.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Charade No. 31

Oh! dear loved first, without thy useful aid,
This my charade would never have been made.
My second modern misses think the fashion,
By giving way to an imprudent passion;
My whole in Homer's Odyssey you'll find,
A noble pattern for all womankind.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Charade No. 30

When Strephon tells his tender tale,
To Celia, young and gay,
Without my first, the melting strains
Would die unheard away:

But if the gentle nymph inclines
His passion to approve;
By them, ere long my second's sought,
To crown their virtuous love.

Possest [possessed] of this, 'tis ten to one,
Before the year goes round,
Attending near her lovely cheek,
My tout-ensemble's [whole] found.