Guy Wetmore Carryl

(1873-1904 / the United States)

Biography of Guy Wetmore Carryl

Guy Wetmore Carryl poet

Guy Wetmore Carryl (March 4, 1873 – April 1, 1904) was an American humorist and poet.

Carryl was born in New York City, the first-born of author Charles Edward Carryl and Mary R. Wetmore.

When he was only 20 years old he had his first article published in The New York Times. He graduated from Columbia University in 1895 when he was 22 years of age. During his college years he had written plays for amateur performances. One of his professors was Harry Thurston Peck, who was scandalized by Carryl’s famous quote “It takes two bodies to make one seduction,” which was a somewhat risqué statement for those times.

After graduation, in 1896 he became a staff writer for Munsey's Magazine under Frank Munsey and he was later promoted to managing editor of the magazine. Later he went to work for Harper's Magazine and was sent to Paris. While in Paris he wrote for Life, Outing, Munsey’s, and Collier’s, as well as his own independent writings.

Some of Carryl's better-known works were his humorous poems that were parodies of Aesop's Fables, such as “The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven” and of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, such as “The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet,” poems which are still popular today. He also wrote a number of humorous parodies of Grimm's Fairy Tales, such as “How Little Red Riding Hood Came To Be Eaten” and “How Fair Cinderella Disposed of Her Shoe.” His humorous poems usually ended with a pun on the words used in the moral of the story.

You are only absurd when you get in the curd,

But you’re rude when you get in the whey.

—from “The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet”

Guy Carryl died in 1904 at age 31 at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. His death was thought to be a result of illness contracted from exposure while fighting a fire at his house a month earlier.

Guy Wetmore Carryl's Works:

* Fables for the Frivolous (with Apologies to La Fontaine) (1898) (see Jean de La Fontaine)
* Mother Goose for Grown-Ups (1900)
* Grimm Tales Made Gay (1902)
* The Lieutenant Governor (1902)
* Zut and Other Parisians (1903)
* The Transgression of Andrew Vane (1904)
* Far From the Maddening Girls (1904) (posthumous)
* The Garden of Years (1904) (posthumous)

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The Fog

The fog slunk down from Labrador, stealthy, sure, and slow,
Southwardly shifting, far inshore, so never a man might know
How the sea it trod with feet soft-shod, watching the distance dim,
Where the fishing-fleet to the eastward beat, white dots on the ocean's rim.
Feeling the sands with its furtive hands, fingering cape and cove,
Where the sweet salt smells of the nearer swells up the sloping hillside rove;
Where the whimpering sea-gulls swoop and soar, and the great king-herons go,

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