Purple Cow

PURPLE COWOnce upon a time Gelett Burgess wrote a poem about a purple cow. My mother loved the humor of the poem and taught it to us children. I have always liked it too. Then, lo and behold, Ogden Nash, one of my favorites, again because of his sense of humor, wrote his version of this poem. Now I present both versions. See which one you like best.

Gelett Burgess. 1866–

The Purple Cow
(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.

That was the original. Now take a look at Ogden Nash's version.

I never saw a purple cow
I hope I never see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

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!

--Ogden Nash


  1. Ogden put some silly in it, but I was more familiar with the first.A fun verse to share Emmma.

  2. Thank you for your comments. So far it's 2-0 for number one.

  3. I have always thought this was a most delightful verse, both versions.

    I believe that Gelett Burgess also wrote, at least the last part, of the verses you have credited to Nash. It was a confession of sorts to having written the original verse.

  4. That would be interesting, wouldn't it. Perhaps Ogden Nash published it. I only know that he is i given authorship most places. Thank you for the insight.


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