Found in a 19th century book entitled Enquire Within Upon Everything – a how to book for domestic life…

The Charade is a poetical or other composition founded upon a word, each syllable of which constitutes a noun, and the whole of which word constitutes another noun of a somewhat different meaning from those supplied by its separate syllables.

Words which fully answer these conditions are the best for the purposes of charades; though  many other words are employed.  In writing, the first syllable is termed, ‘my first’, the second syllable is termed, ‘my second’ and the complete word, ‘my whole.’

The following is an example of a Poetical Charade:

The breath of the morning is sweet;
The earth is bespangled with flowers;
And buds in a countless array
Have ope’d at the touch of the showers.
The birds, whose glad voices are ever
A music delightful to hear,
Seem to welcome the joy of the morning,
As the hour of the bridal draws near.
What is that which now steals on my first
Like a sound from the dreamland of love,
And seems wand’ring the valleys among,
That they may be the nuptials approve?
‘Tis a sound which my second explains,
And it comes from a sacred abode
And it merrily brills as the villagers throng
To greet the fair bride on her road.
How meek is her dress, now befitting a bride
So beautiful, spotless  and pure!
When she weareth my second, oh, long may it be
Ere her heart shall a sorrow endure.
See the glittering gem that shines forth form her hair –
‘Tis my whole, which a good father gave;
‘Twas worn by  her mother with honour before –
But she sleepeth in peace in her grave.
‘Twas her earnest request, as she bade them adieu,
That when her dear daughter the altar drew near,
She should wear the same gem that her mother had worn
When she as a bride full of promise stood there.

The answer is ear-ring.
The bells ring, the sound steals upon the ear, and the bride wears an ear-ring.

Advertisements