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Song of Milgenwater: Rev George A Strong

keberoxu 19 Nov 15 - 03:11 PM
keberoxu 19 Nov 15 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,# 19 Nov 15 - 06:26 PM
Joe Offer 19 Nov 15 - 07:39 PM
keberoxu 19 Nov 15 - 08:13 PM
keberoxu 20 Nov 15 - 02:19 PM
keberoxu 20 Nov 15 - 05:18 PM
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Subject: Milgenwater a/k/a Milkanwatha
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 03:11 PM

"The Modern Hiawatha," a parody about making fur mittens, turns out to have more than one version around. I didn't know what I was getting into when I started searching online.

Rev. George A Strong's parody is to be found digitally on books dot google dot com, as it happens. And it differs somewhat from The Modern Hiawatha. Since this is words and not music, a thread on the subject belongs in the BS section.

However, this Hiawatha parody eventually made it into a composition attributed to one Milton Rosen by the Smothers Brothers, whose live performance thereof is preserved on their long-playing album, "It Must Have Been Something I Said." Cover photo of Tom Smothers sitting on the ground, while Dick Smothers stands over him, having (apparently) smashed Tommy's guitar over Tommy's head.

How it got from Milgenwater to Milkanwatha to Hiawatha-Smothers-Brothers-style may never be completely disclosed. One can look, however, at the evidence available...and in future posts, one shall.

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Subject: RE: BS: Song of Milgenwater: Rev George A Strong
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 06:23 PM

Milgenwater's Hunting. Part II, The Song of Milgenwater. begins page 23.

In the wilderness, behind there,
Far behind Marcosset's wigwam,
Far away from Watta-puddel,
Lay defunct Peek-week, the squirrel --
Lay without a breath or motion,
Hearing not the breeze's sighing,
Hearing not their Tizzarizzen,
As they moaned his sad condition,
As they sobbed, amid the branches,
O'er the death that he had come to,
O'er his speedy dissolution.

But the victor, in his triumph,
Jumped and waved his hat, exulting,
O'er the death that he had come to,
O'er his speedy dissolution;
And, with eager haste, he ran home,
In one hand, Peek-week, the squirrel,
In the other hand, the blow-gun --
Fearful instrument, the blow-gun;
And Marcosset and Sumpunkin
Kissed him, 'cos he killed the squirrel,
'Cos it was a rather big one.
From the squirrel-skin, Marcosset
Made some mittens for our hero,
Mittens with the fur side inside,
With the fur side next his fingers
So's to keep the hand warm inside;
That was why she put the fur side --   
Why she put the fur side, inside.

"By Marc Antony Henderson, D.C.L." pseudonym for the Reverend George Augustus Strong

Cincinnati: Jones, Brown, & Robinson, 1856.

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Subject: RE: BS: Song of Milgenwater: Rev George A Strong
From: GUEST,#
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 06:26 PM

This should be above the line. No offence.

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Subject: RE: Song of Milgenwater: Rev George A Strong
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 07:39 PM

Hi, Keberoxu. This is a lyrics forum. Lyrics and poetry discussion go "above the line," so I moved this thread up and removed the "BS" tag. No need to encode Website addresses here - certainly doesn't need protection. The one thing we ask is that you not post the personal email and snailmail addresses or phone numbers of other people, and that you use caution when posting your own.

I found "the Modern Hiawatha" at - or at least I think it's the poem referred to in the first message.

Bliss Carman, et al., eds. The World's Best Poetry.
Volume IX. Tragedy: Humor. 1904.

Humorous Poems: III. Parodies: Imitations

The Modern Hiawatha

HE killed the noble Mudjokivis.        
Of the skin he made him mittens,        
Made them with the fur side inside,        
Made them with the skin side outside.        
He, to get the warm side inside,
Put the inside skin side outside;        
He, to get the cold side outside,        
Put the warm side fur side inside.        
That 's why he put the fur side inside,        
Why he put the skin side outside,
Why he turned them inside outside.

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Subject: RE: Song of Milgenwater: Rev George A Strong
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Nov 15 - 08:13 PM

Thanks, Joe, and I stand corrected.

Exactly: there are multiple anthologies out there which print "The Modern Hiawatha" and attribute it to Rev. George A Strong.   It is as your post has printed it, people just disagree on who wrote it.

In fact, one journalist writes of "Skin Side Inside,"
"It has been floating from one newspaper to another for so many years that its original source has become lost."

"Skin Side Inside,"   a/k/a "The Modern Hiawatha,"
turns up anonymously, for example, in Mrs. Scott Saxton's The Newest Elocution Textbook, on page 27 in the section titled "Gymnatstics in Articulation." Published in Denver, Colorado, in 1893. Who knows how old it really is.

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Subject: Milkanwatha: a mythical beast?
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 02:19 PM

"The Modern Hiawatha," as previous posts have shown, is a parody that, however similar, is not exactly the same as Rev. Strong's "Milgenwater."   But I myself would not know that, were it not for Rev. Strong's original booklet being preserved at where I could easily read it online.

For all these years BC -- Before Computers -- there were not that many copies of "Milgenwater" about, and it must have been far more difficult for reviewers, editors, or commentators to disprove the assumption that The Modern Hiawatha and The Song of Milgenwater were one and the same. I would have been numbered among the erroneous commentators if not for digital preservation of Rev. Strong's parody -- I mean, have YOU seen that thing in the flesh? I haven't, and I don't know where it is likely to be found away from online files.

Not surprising, therefore, that for lo! these many years, Rev. Strong's actual parody has all but disappeared in the shadows, while someone else's shorter parody, The Modern Hiawatha, has been attributed to Strong, and moreover described as an excerpt of "The Song of Milkanwatha" published by "Tickle & Grinne." You can find this assertion in more than one anthology, and I believe one of those is an Oxford anthology already.

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Subject: Rev George A Strong changes hero's name
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 05:18 PM

Also from

Under his nom-de-plume of Marc Antony Henderson, Rev. George A Strong had his parody published in a third edition. (I know, I have yet to account for the second edition...) This also is online:

It is the same parody, but with one name change. The epic poem is now The Song of Milkanwatha, not the Song of Milgenwater.

The publisher is D. R. Niver of Albany, New York; the date is 1883....that is over twenty-five years after the publication of the first edition by Jones, Brown, and Robinson.

So now we have documentation of the parody, with two alternating names for its fake hero, with the same author. Still no trace in the third edition, as there was none in the first, of any stanzas like The Modern Hiawatha a/k/a Skin Side Inside.

And then there is this mythical beast of a publishing house called Tickle and Grinne. Right.

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