sherlockian poems and songs

lyrical praise and humor by John McDonnell

A Toast at the Criterion Bar
Forensic Chemistry
The Flower of Utah
Baker Street Irregulars
Boat Chase Down the Thames
John Watson and Mary Morstan
Irene's Song
Good Night, Irene
Scam in The Morning Chronicle
John Clay's Plan
Jabez Wilson, Pawnbroker
At the Gasfitters' Ball
H.M.S. Sutherland
Black Jack of Ballarat
Where Is Uffa?
Chimney Children
"S. H. for J. O."
Bar of Gold
Appellation Blues
The Shag-Smoker's Apprentice
John Horner's Song
Season of Forgiveness
Roast Woodcock

Sonnet in an 1892 Agony Column
Kissing Cousins
Baker Street Blues
Beryl Blues
His Zero-Point
Violet Hunter's Song
Wrong Address
Let's Go Home!
Victoria Regina
Resident Limericks
At the Diogenes Club
Mycroft Holmes
Reverie at Briarbrae
A Breakfast Surprise
Swan Song
O'er the Moor
Holmes on the Range
Yellow Brick Ode
Among Friends
The Aging of Lestrade
Diplomatic Secrets
"Hilda! Hilda!"
Mrs. Hudson's Reaction

A Toast to Mrs. Hudson
Welcome to Simpson's
Boasting Books
Back from America
Terrace Song
E. T. Sherlockian
Isadora Persano
Nearing Retirement
Sherlock Holmes Retires
John Garrideb's Song
Memo to the Duke of Lomand
Connecting with Life
Mr. Barker's Song
The Green Dragon Inn
Sherlock Presley
Poor Wandering Wound
Scotland Yard
A Little Irregular
A Baker Street Christmas
A Welcome Holmes Song
At Queen Victoria's Jubilee
"Sherlock Holmes" Fanfics
Ode to Dr. Watson
Would-Be Author

based on "A Study in Scarlet" (1887)

A Toast at the Criterion Bar

When someone tapped me from behind,
Amidst those strangers I would find
Young Stamford, who in past had been
A dresser under me at Bart's.
I hailed him as some long lost friend,
And he agreed to lunch with me.
Within the din of cabs and carts
He heard my tale of tragedy.

"Poor devil!" Stamford said at last,
As we arrived for our repast.
"What are you up to now?" he mused.
"In search of rooms at decent price."
"Why, you're the second man who's used
"That phrase today!" "Who was the first?"
"A bloke who's found a place that's nice
"But needs the rate 'tween two dispersed."

"Well, I'm the man for that, you see!"
A strange expression looked at me
Above the wineglass Stamford held.
"You might not care for him." "But why?
"Is there some mark against him? Tell!"
"I don't say that. He has his ways,
"But seems a decent sort of guy,
"Unless his beating corpses strays."

Long years have come and gone since then,
But now I have returned again
To where young Stamford's heart beamed out
To warm mine up for a better part
To play in life than idling about.
Although young Stamford's not so young,
Let's raise our drinks to toast his heart!
And "auld aquaintance" then be sung!

based on "A Study in Scarlet" (1887)


tune: Colonel Bogey March by Kenneth J. Alford,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
Watson served in the Afghan war among those sent to Candahar,
Wounded in Maiwand battle, removed with others to old Peshawar.
Watson began to walk about, but then enteric fever struck,
His life for months despaired of, was sent to England quite down on his luck.

Upon the dole of paternal government, Watson tried to improve his health.
The way his money was freely spent brought dire alarm to the state of his wealth.
The very day he made up his mind to look for some lodgings he could afford,
Young Stamford told of a man who would pay half the rates for some chambers and board.

"Watson, here's Mr. Sherlock Holmes." "You're from Afghanistan, I see."
"How did —" "Oh, never mind that. Look at this blood test invented by me!"
Watson agreed to view the rooms that Holmes had found in Baker Street.
The terms when split were moderate, so they at once made the bargain complete.

based on "A Study in Scarlet" (1887)

Forensic Chemistry

tune: I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General by Arthur S. Sullivan,
arranged by Albert Sirmay, sequenced by John McDonnell
Holmes was a pioneer of what's
Now called forensic chemistry.
Had Sherlock Holmes's test for stains
Of blood on clothes been known, you see,
In scores of cases where there's doubt,
The stains of blood on clothes would shout.
Von Bischoff surely would have hung
And Samson of New Orleans!
Holmes was a walking calendar
Of crime, and through his chemistry,
Von Bischoff surely would have hung
And Samson of New Orleans!

based on "A Study in Scarlet" (1887)

The Flower of Utah

Before the state of Utah chose
The sego lily for its flower,
'Twas told the flower of Utah was
A fairer girl than Mormon power
Had seen on all the Pacific slope.
But she loved a Gentile man named Hope.

In vales beyond a nation's laws
A sacerdotal rule enthralls.
The priestcraft reach with grasping paws
Confined the girl in harem walls
Until she pined away and died.
Revenge replaced the tears Hope cried:

"Let's see if justice dwells on earth
"Or if we all are ruled by chance."
Death comes to all of human birth.
Beside the salt lake satyrs dance
In darkness, while in the light of day
The sego lilies gently sway.

based on "A Study in Scarlet" (1887) and "The Sign of Four" (1890)

Baker Street Irregulars

tune: Auld Lang Syne (original tune)
arranged and sequenced by Barry Taylor
Who were these arabs of the street
Who ran through hall and stairs
In ragged clothes and dirty feet
So heedless of our cares?

Our landlady was quite upset.
She wailed disgust and rage.
The motleyest crew I'd ever met,
Bypassing cards and page,

Invaded us like giant rats,
But at Holmes' sharp " 'Tention!"
In haste lined up like statuettes
That had been sloppily done.

"In future you must stay outdoors.
"Send Wiggins up alone.
"Here are the wages for your chores."
At shillings faces shone.

"Now off you go! Next time you'll tell
"The information sought!"
He waved his hand. They left pellmell.
Their purpose Holmes then taught:

"The sight of officers can scare,
"Seal lips because of dread.
"These urchins can go everywhere,
"Hear everything that's said.

"They're sharp as needles. All they want
"Is to be organized.
"Now that I've got them on the hunt
"I'm sure they'll find what's prized."

The Baker Street Irregulars,
What are they up to now?
I'd love to see them, after years,
Called up to take a bow!

based on "The Sign of Four" (1890)


tune: Meet Me To-Night in Dreamland by Leo Friedman,
arranged and played by Robert Goldstick
"You look so worn out, Watson. Sleep on the sofa there."
Holmes' violin was playing some soothing dreamy air.
I seemed to float serenely over that sounding sea.
Miss Mary Morstan's sweet face I looked at, there looking back at me.

based on "The Sign of Four" (1890)

Boat Chase Down the Thames

tune: Dashing Away With the Smoothing Iron
arranged and sequenced by Barry Taylor
White handkerchief was waved that night
To signal the Aurora's flight,
"Full speed ahead! Pursue the launch,
"That launch with yellow light!
"I never shall forgive my mind
"If she can leave us far behind!"
Dashing away with his chest of iron,
Jonathan Small in the swift Aurora,
With Scotland Yard in pursuit,
Scotland Yard in pursuit!

Athelney Jones had doubts indeed
That we could match Aurora's speed.
"We must catch her!" cried Sherlock Holmes.
"The boiler fires now feed!
"Yes, make her do all that she can!
"We'll burn our boat to close the span!"
Dashing away with his chest of iron,
Jonathan Small in the swift Aurora,
With Scotland Yard in pursuit,
Scotland Yard in pursuit!

A tug with barges, three in tow,
Had blocked the way that we would go.
We lost two hundred yards because
Our dodging them was slow.
But with those passed we still could see
The launch we chased relentlessly.
Dashing away with his chest of iron,
Jonathan Small in the swift Aurora,
With Scotland Yard in pursuit,
Scotland Yard in pursuit!

Both boats moved at tremendous pace,
But yard by yard we closed the space,
Jones turned the searchlight on at them.
We saw each form and face.
Small stood to shake his fists at us.
In high-pitched voice we heard him cuss.
Dashing away with his chest of iron,
Jonathan Small in the swift Aurora,
With Scotland Yard in pursuit,
Scotland Yard in pursuit!

At danger seen our bullets struck.
Small rammed his launch into the muck
Along the bank. He jumped the ship.
His wooden leg got stuck.
The more he struggled to get out
The stronger grew the case for doubt.
Still on the deck was his chest of iron,
Helpless was Small by the swift Aurora,
Till Scotland Yard pulled him out,
Scotland Yard pulled him out!

based on "The Sign of Four" (1890)

John Watson and Mary Morstan

tune: Fascination by F. D. Marchetti,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
When she said, "The treasure is gone,"
I then realized that I now could gain one.
With the gems and gold
Sunken through the cold
Nothing could prevent my heart from saying, "Thank God!"
When she asked me, "Why so say you?"
I confessed my love for her now shown as true.
Drawn against my side without slightest resistance,
Mary whispered, "Thank God," too!

based on "A Scandal in Bohemia" (1891)

Irene's Song

tune: The Yankee Doodle Boy by George M. Cohan,
sequenced by John McDonnell
I'm a singer from New Jersey, a prima donna in Warsaw,
Though wronged by the King of Bohemia, married a Brit skilled in law.
Retiring from contralto singing, I'm now famous near and far.
Irene Adler went to London, there outwitting Sherlock.
I'm now a worldwide mystery star!

based on "A Scandal in Bohemia" (1891)

Good Night, Irene

A humbled Holmes would read her laugh,
Surprised by such a mind,
Admiring through her photograph
The finest of her kind.

The pocket Petrarch that he reads
While traveling afar,
Reminds him, as his fancy leads,
Of an operatic star.

Imagined Irene Adler sings
In realms that fancy owns,
Accompanied by vibrating strings
In sympathetic tones.

based on "The Red-Headed League" (1891)

Scam in The Morning Chronicle

tune: Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-Der-E' by Henry J. Sayers,
sequenced by John McDonnell
Newspapers cannot guarantee
Ads they print will be scam-free.
Sometimes ads may get results
Public consciousness insults.
Behind the claimed Red-Headed League
Lurked a plan of deep intrigue.
Thanks to Holmes, the plan was read.
Gold was saved before they fled.

From north, south, east, and west
Into Fleet Street they pressed,
All men with red hair blessed,
How many can't be guessed,
In answer to an ad.
Four pounds a week ain't bad.
Who'll be the lucky cad?
All others go home sad.

based on "The Red-Headed League" (1891)

John Clay's Plan

tune: Take Me Out to the Ball Game by Albert Von Tilzer,
sequenced by Michael Ford
Dig our way to the French gold! Dig for four hours a day!
Pile up the dirt in the cellar here! Ain't it neat that the bank is so near!
We will move the gold through our tunnel in bags we'll load on our dray!
When the bank vault's opened again, we'll be far away!

from "The Red-Headed League" (1891):

"... it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only object of this rather fantastic business of
the advertisement of the League, and the copying of the Encyclopedia, must be to get this not
over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day."

Jabez Wilson, Pawnbroker

To see in print for all to read
That I'm not over-bright
At first did anger me indeed.
But now it's lost its bite.

I'm followed to the barbershop,
Where I'm paid for snips of my hair.
My window has an admired prop,
Bringing many a smiling stare.

That card-board sign is quite a lure:
"The Red-Headed League is Dissolved."
My status as a widower,
Which I thought was quite resolved,

Is threatened by a redhead, who,
With convincing argumentation,
Insists that my hair with its fiery hue
Should be granted another generation.

based on "A Case of Identity" (1891)

At the Gasfitters' Ball

tune: The Band Played On by Charles B. Ward,
arranged and sequenced by Bill Basham
Stealing her wealth requires methods of stealth, Mr. Windibank.
But with her weak eyes she'll not see your disguise, Mr. Windibank.
You will take her sweet hoping and turn it to moping,
Thus making her marriage plans blank,
Unless she might roam to consult Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Windibank.

from "A Case of Indentity" (1891):

... the lady herself loomed behind his small black figure like a full-sailed merchant-man ...

"And Miss Sutherland?"

"If I tell her she will not believe me. You may remember the old Persian saying, 'There is danger
for him who taketh the tiger cub, and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman.'
There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace, and as much knowledge of the world."

H.M.S. Sutherland

Her maiden voyage was viewed with scorn
By one with strange insistence.
Although her fate I deeply mourn,
I must maintain some distance.

Who takes the wind from full-sailed hope
Stays back from where she looms.
A change in course means hanging rope
And sudden swinging booms.

The pirate crew who steered her wrong
Had best leave in a hurry,
Or they may hear the cannon song
That Hell hath not her fury.

based on "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (1891)

Black Jack of Ballarat

tune: Waltzing Matilda by Marie Cowan,
sequencer unknown
"I was in a gang of six that murdered to get gold.
"I spared the driver, McCarthy his name.
"I was one of the three surviving to be wealthy men.
"Free from suspicion to England we came.
"I would soon marry, and though my wife died,
"She left me Alice, whose wee hands held fast,
"Which inspired me to turn o'er new leaf in my guilty life.
"I did my best to make up for my past.

"All was going well. I met McCarthy in the street.
" 'Here we are, Jack, we'll be family to you.'
"Anything that he wanted I would have to give to him
"Or he would tell the police what he knew.
"Twenty years later, he urged his son to
"Marry my Alice to gain all my wealth,
"For he knew that my time in this world's almost over now
"Due to disease that has blasted my health.

"I will sign confession that McCarthy have I killed
"That my dear girl won't be caught in his mesh."
Bidding farewell, John Turner slowly stumbled from the room,
Tott'ring and shaking from ills of the flesh.
After long silence, Holmes said, "God help us!
"Why are such tricks played on souls who repent?
"In all cases like this I always think of Baxter's words,
" 'There, but for grace, goes myself likewise bent.' "

from "The Five Orange Pips" (1891):

... of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa ...

Where Is Uffa?

We angered the Patersons of Grice
By calling them names that weren't nice.
They'd fight us in Uffa
To see who was tougha,
For calling them "tadpoles" and "lice".

We accepted their challenge with slaps,
Were anxious to bloody their yaps,
But our pride took a blow
For failing to show
When we couldn't find Uffa on maps.

from "The Five Orange Pips" (1891):

All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here
in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from
the routine of life, and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek
at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew
in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney.
Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime,
while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell's fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale
from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the
long swash of the sea waves.

Chimney Children

Though it might be some spoiled brat,
We sympathize with sobbing child,
Whose parents we might grumble at.
Strong winds breed offspring screaming wild
In chimneys of this hand-made place.
But here no faults we care to trace.

We let their cries and sobs still chime
Without concern for who's in charge.
We sit to index notes on crime
Or read of deeds on ocean's surge
On either side of fireplace moans
That howl in children's range of tones.

from "The Five Orange Pips" (1891):

He took an orange from the cupboard, and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out the pips upon
the table. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. On the inside of the flap he
wrote "S. H. for J. O." Then he sealed it and addressed it to "Captain James Calhoun, Bark
Lone Star, Savannah, Georgia."

"S. H. for J. O."

An envelope for James Calhoun
Was sadly placed in his widow's grasp.
On her opening it, we heard her gasp,
Then stagger back and fall in a swoon.

In the envelope were seeds. That was it!
Did we know what it meant? Nope!
On the inside flap of the envelope
The initials "S. H. for J. O." were writ.

When she'd recovered from falling down,
We were shocked to hear Mrs. Calhoun say
That her husband had been in the K. K. K.
In his closet she showed us his long white gown.

"Someone had these five pips sent
"To strike my husband's heart with fear,
"Perhaps this S. H. written here,
"But I've no idea what J. O. meant."

based on "The Man With the Twisted Lip" (1891)

Bar of Gold

Just home from a long day of work, John Watson was asked to bring back
The wreck of a once noble man from depths of an opium shack.
He soon found some steps leading down 'tween shops in a gap looming black.

By light from a flickering lamp he found the door latch to the room.
'Twas filled with brown opium smoke. In terraced berths seen through the gloom
Were souls in fantastic repose, resigned to their stupefied doom.

The glimmering red circles of light and muttering voices were strange.
At last he found Whitney, unkempt, his mind quite reduced in its range.
Two days of the week had gone by with him unaware of the change.

Before he could lead Whitney out, John Watson found Holmes in disguise.
When Whitney was sent on his way, the two shared their mutual surprise.
While one had been helping a friend, the other on enemies spies.

And so that chance meeting would lead to what Dr. Watson has told
Of Neville St. Clair and Hugh Boone, deception that truly was bold.
That opium den was well-named. The tale's worth a bar of pure gold!

based on "The Man With the Twisted Lip" (1891)

Appellation Blues

Well, my name's John Watson, but my wife she calls me James.
Yeah, my name's John Watson, but my wife she calls me James.
She's a dear little woman, but she ain't much good at names.

Well, her friend Kate came. Should she send her James to bed?
Yeah, her friend Kate came. Should she send her James to bed?
No, would I bring back her husband from an opium den instead?

Well, I found Kate's husband and I sent him back with a note.
Yeah, I found Kate's husband and I sent him back with a note.
"Since I found Holmes there, for your James the game's afoot!"

based on "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (1891)


When Neville's deception had all been revealed,
And he feared that his kids would feel shame,
Bradstreet agreed that the facts should be sealed,
If there's no more of Hugh Boone the lame.

"Whatever job's taken that's good by the law,
"At the end of a hardworking day
"The sight of your wife in mousseline de soie
"Should stop any gripes about pay."

from "The Man with the Twisted Lip" (1891):

"I am sure, Mr. Holmes, that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up. I
wish I knew how you reach your results."

"I reached this one," said my friend, "by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag."

The Shag-Smoker's Apprentice

"How did you happen to pounce
"On Neville's deception? Announce!"
"The solution arrived
"On pillows, fived,
"While consuming some shag, an ounce."

"What brought on your sickness, Bradstreet?"
"I tried out your shag on a seat,
"But after consuming
"My bowels have been fuming!"
"The shag is to smoke, not to eat!"

from "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (1892):

Evidence of a previous conviction for robbery having been given against the prisoner, the magistrate
refused to deal summarily with the offense, but referred it to the Assizes. Horner, who had shown
signs of intense emotion during the proceedings, fainted away at the conclusion and was carried
out of court.

John Horner's Song

tune: Blue Christmas by Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson,
sequenced by Deb Ackley
I robbed and stole when I was dumber.
Then I went straight, became a plumber.
But the blight on my past
Somehow I can't outlast.
Now I am framed,
For stealing gemstone blamed!
While I'm alone here in this prison,
The gasogenes no doubt are fizz'n'
So that bright bubbly hosts
Can propose Christmas toasts,
While I sit alone in prison.

based on "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (1892)

Season of Forgiveness

tune: There Is No Christmas Like a Home Christmas by Mickey J. Addy,
sequencer unknown
When a blue diamond in a goose hiding
Would be shown to Sherlock, he would understand
That the thief blundered with the gem plundered,
And if found, might well accept a reprimand.
When the thief, brought to grief,
Fearing parents' shame,
Promised then, he would mend —
"Get out!" — still had good name.
There is no Christmas like a Holmes Christmas,
A season of forgiveness in the land.

from "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (1892):

"Very glad to see you. I dine at seven. There is woodcock, I believe."

"If you will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin another investigation, in
which, also a bird will be the chief feature."

Roast Woodcock

"Well, my dear Watson, what do make of this bird,
"Or, now that it's eaten, is the question absurd?"
"First tell of this fowl. Was it raised? Was it game?"
"That woodcocks are game birds is much of their fame!"

"Well, then," I observed as I pushed back my chair
And gestured at bones that we had picked bare,
"If the matter before us may now be so put,
"In this case the game is not now afoot!"

I watched Holmes's face with an interest most keen,
Detecting a smile that he might not want seen.
Then he laughed in his hearty yet noiseless way
At the end of another adventurous day.

based on "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" (1892)


When one summoned an adder by tweeting,
The snake had just taken a beating
And was roused up to bite
The first person in sight
With fangs for its venom's secreting,

This time in its charmer's flesh grooving,
And it was too late for reproving.
Though Grimesby still sat
In a speckled band hat,
The hat was the only thing moving.

from "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb" (1892):

Sherlock Holmes was, as I expected, lounging about his sitting-room in his dressing-gown,
reading the agony column of The Times and smoking his before-breakfast pipe, which was
composed of all the plugs and dottles left from his smokes of the day before, all carefully dried
and collected on the corner of the mantlepiece.

Sonnet in an 1892 Agony Column

A mantlepiece may be left bare, or hold
Up things for easy reach or nice display.
Your fireplace shelf, by Watson we are told,
Has a corner that you make use of every day,
A place where you will gather up smokes past
To burn and breathe into your waking mood,
So that the day that came before might cast
Its fumes before the joy of breakfast food.
The past must always linger, not to dote
Upon, but to inform the present flow.
Each unexpected turn becomes a note
For future reference, contemplation. So,
Maintain your ways. When problems must be solved,
Make sure for our sake Watson is involved!

from "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" (1892):

"There will soon be a call for protection in the marriage market, for the present free-trade
principle appears to tell heavily against our home product. One by one the management of the
noble houses of Great Britain is passing into the hands of our fair cousins from across the

Kissing Cousins

There will soon be a call for protections
To maintain our domestic predilections,
Or these American spouses
Will control noble houses
By exploiting our lordly affections.

Though our home product's still quite alluring,
It can fall somewhat short in assuring
That our lands won't be sold,
So an heiress of gold's
An attraction that merits securing.

from "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" (1892):

"Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to
while away these bleak autumnal evenings."

Baker Street Blues

What shall now engage his mind?
Evening comes too soon.
"Draw your chair up, friend most kind —
"Watch the papers strewn —
"And hand again
"My violin.
"Ah yes, it's still in tune."

Languor hangs in lengthened eves
Down through Baker Street.
Strings vibrate till boredom leaves.
Music is a treat.
The fogs that roll
Will seem quite droll
When plaintive songs sound sweet.

from "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet" (1892):

"I think that we may safely say," returned Holmes, "that she is wherever Sir George Burnwell
is. It is equally certain, too, that whatever her sins are, they will soon receive a more than
sufficient punishment."

Beryl Blues

When I was young, I stole a coronet with sparkling gems of green
And gave it to the one I loved, but later learned my theft was seen.
I'd jeopardized my uncle's bank, and now I stew in guilt that's keen.

I left a note and ran away. At least I'd have my chosen mate.
But he was quickly tired of me and left me to a bitter fate.
I could not bear to look into my cousin's eyes. Too late! Too late!

I hear the Beryl Coronet is sometimes shown for public view.
I'd feel ashamed to saunter by and hear the others ah! and ooh!
Those sparkling gems of green so green would make my weary heart feel blue.

based on "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" (1892)

His Zero-Point

Holmes was in a disputatious mood
When cherry-wood became his pipe of choice.
To be cooped up with a critic who is rude
Is not much fun. But I would soon rejoice
When smears of my accounts of him gave way
To his amusing gripe that men of crime
Had lost all enterprise. I heard him say
His practice had become, at this dull time,
An agency retrieving pencils lost,
Or worse, advising girls from boarding-schools.
A letter called his zero-point was tossed
To me, as if to say, "Lord, what fools
"These mortals be." Its author entered then,
And Holmes was in his element again.

from "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" (1892):

As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further
interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems ...

from "A Scandal in Bohemia" (1891):

... there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and
questionable memory.


tune: A Bicycle Built for Two by Harry Dacre,
arranged and sequenced by Bill Basham
Watson had hoped that his friend would like Violet Hunter,
With her bright freckled face smiling sweet, wanting advice needed, Sir.
Yet when her problem had been resolved, she would then cease to be
Center of any thought Holmes might have. How sad to our good M.D.!

Watson's friend Holmes was a misogynist.
Damsel clients only in dreams were kissed.
Though Holmes might find ladies pleasing,
He'd shun their slightest teasing.
There was but one, Norton's hon'.
She's the woman he somehow missed!

from "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" (1892):

"I confess that it is not the situation which I should like to see a sister of mine apply for."

Violet Hunter's Song

tune: Allegheny Moon by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
I have come in search of needed light.
I hope a situation's right, Mr. Holmes.
I would have to cut my chestnut hair,
Which you observe is rather fair, Mr. Holmes.
Should a hundred twenty pounds a year
Be given up because of fear, Mr. Holmes?
I now hear you say no sister Miss
Should get involved in this,
But I am not your sister, Mr. Holmes.

from "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" (1893):

"It gave me a kind of savage joy when I thought how Sarah would feel when she had such signs
as these of what her meddling had brought about."

Wrong Address

The severed ears that Browner mailed
From the Belfast port to which he'd sailed,
Mismatched in both their shape and size,
Were meant for Sarah Cushing's eyes.
Though Susan got them, Sarah knows
Those missent ears were not van Gogh's.

from "The Yellow Face" (1893):

It was a long ten minutes before Grant Munro broke the silence, and when his answer came it
was one of which I love to think. He lifted the little child, kissed her, and then, still carrying her,
he held his other hand out to his wife and turned towards the door.

Let's Go Home!

She is my darling Effie's child, whom Effie tried to hide.
Now lifted to accepting kiss, I know why Effie lied.
Come here, my dear, and let's go home, and leave these meddling men.
Not much escapes the sharp one's eye. The other wields a pen!

from London Characters and the Humorous Side of London Life (1870):

"There is at least one pure scene dear to memory serene, that the Princess Victoria was born and
bred here [Kensington Palace], and at five o'clock one morning was aroused from her slumbers, to
come down with dishevelled hair to hear from great nobles that she was now the Queen of the broad
empire on which the morning and the evening star ever shines."

"Victoria Regina" 1880 painting by Henry Tanworth Wells (1828-1903)

"Victoria Regina: Queen Victoria receiving the news of her Accession" 1887 painting by Henry Tanworth Wells (1828-1903)

from "The Musgrave Ritual" (1893):

I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when
Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a
hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. [Victoria
Regina] done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance
of our room was improved by it.

Victoria Regina

The teenage princess standing there
Before great nobles' gaze
Looks back beneath dishevelled hair,
No doubt thrown in a daze
To learn that she must now be Queen,
The empire spreading out serene
Before her youthful mind and heart.
The morning and the evening star
Is smiling to behold how far.
Now she must play her part.

When she becomes a symbol of
A far-flung empire vast,
Of all that English-speaking love,
Of values that should last,
V. R. is pocked into a wall
By pistol shots, which quickly call
Landlady's presence, promptly seen,
Who, coughing in the dust and smoke,
Reads what was written by the bloke,
And quips, "God save the Queen!"

from "The 'Gloria Scott' " (1893):

"Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing
on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel."


Were I a misfit fond of moping,
Yet condescending to the sloping
Approach to public bows of reverence,
And be attacked by angry terrier,
Would I feel this as grounds for severance,
Or sense an accidental barrier?

Inquiring after me was Trevor,
Through guilt perhaps, in kind endeavor
To make amends for his dog's freezing
Its vise-like bite upon my ankle.
Our friendship grew as pain was easing,
Till there was nothing left to rankle.

based on "The Reigate Puzzle" (1893)


At a time when all of Europe was ringing with his name
For outmaneuvering a swindler, Holmes had lost his game.
Congratulatory telegrams were piled up ankle-deep,
But Holmes was in the dumps again from missing too much sleep.
From across the Channel, Watson came to that Lyons, France hotel,
Relieved to know from the symptoms that Holmes would soon be well.
Watson thought that a change might help, so he lured his friend to Surrey,
Where Holmes might rest and reason without any reason to hurry.
But a local murder prompted an inspector to find Holmes there.
Holmes asked to know of the details, then he leaned back in his chair.
The fates were against you, Watson, though your scheme had been well-planned.
But at least you gained a story to publish in The Strand.
Said Holmes, when the murder was solved, only after much duress,
"Our quiet rest in the country has been a distinct success!"

from "The Resident Patient" (1893):

"However, wretch as he was, he was still living under the shield of British Law, and I have no
doubt, Inspector, that you will see that, though the shield may fail to guard, the sword of justice
is still there to avenge."

Resident Limericks

Biddle, Hayward, and Moffat
Were sentenced fifteen but got off it.
They hunted down Sutton
And hanged that old glutton
To show that informers don't profit.

"When the shield of law won't protect,
"Still the sword of justice respect."
And Scotland Yard found
That the hangers were drowned
When an ill-fated steamer was wrecked.

from "The Greek Interpreter" (1893):

"Then, of course, his complete mourning shows that he has lost someone very dear. The fact
that he is doing his own shopping looks as though it were his wife. He has been buying things
for children, you perceive. There is a rattle, which shows that one of them is very young. The
wife probably died in childbed. The fact that he has a picture-book under his arm shows that
there is another child to be thought of."

At the Diogenes Club

Three pairs of eyes peered from the perfect spot
Through window glass at two approaching men.
Above a pocket of the taller one
Were marks of chalk. The other's face was not
At ease, though two pairs noticed he had been
Not long from India discharged. What fun
It was to hear the knowing repartee,
Which helped mine unobservant eyes to see!
But then I learned his wife had died, and so
He'd been out shopping for his children, two
At least. The rattle showed that one was young,
Another liking picture-books. I know
From this what Sherlock said of Mycroft's true.
His mind is keener, though it's gone unsung.

based on "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" (1893)

Mycroft Holmes

tune: He Is an Englishman by Arthur S. Sullivan,
arranged by Albert Sirmay, sequenced by John McDonnell
"Come, Watson, you will see,
"You will see two curiosities.
"One's a club that's named Diogenes,
"And the other's Mycroft Holmes.
"He's my brother, Mycroft Holmes!"

"If you'd study mankind, here's the spot."
"A billiard-marker." "And we've got?"
"And old soldier, I perceive."
"And the reason he must grieve,
"He's a widower." "But with a child."
"Children, my dear younger brother wild!
"Though you saw the rattle bought,
"You have missed the picture-book that shows
"Another child is in his thought."

From a tortoise-shell box he took snuff,
Brushed the wand'ring grains with handkerchief,
With a large red handkerchief,
With a large red silken, large red silken,
Large red silken handkerchief!

based on "The Naval Treaty" (1893)

Reverie at Briarbrae

tune: The Rose
bagpipe tune sequenced by J. P. Johnson, adapted by John McDonnell
Our assurance of goodness is in flowers.
Here's a rose with its smell and bright colors.
Only goodness extends us such extras,
Bringing hope in our weary hours.

based on "The Naval Treaty" (1893)

A Breakfast Surprise

tune: Behind the Bush in the Garden
bagpipe tune sequenced by J. P. Johnson, adapted by John McDonnell
The table was laid for the breakfast to come,
But first came the tea and the coffee.
A few minutes later three covers were brought.
The food underneath was a mystery.

The first lifted up, curried chicken was seen,
The next, "Ham and eggs," announced Watson.
The third was before Mr. Phelps, looking glum,
So Holmes asked if he would now serve some.

When Percy raised up the cover then,
He would scream, his face would turn white as a sheet.
He saw the treaty he'd lost was there.
What a sight! What relief! It was so sweet!

"There! there!" said Holmes, patting Percy's back,
"It was bad to spring this on you like I did.
"I can't resist a dramatic touch,
"The lost treaty put under a food lid."

based on "The Final Problem" (1893)

Swan Song

tune: The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens,
sequenced by Ramon Pajeras Box
Dear Watson, I leave these lines for you,
Through Mr. Moriarty's courtesy.
Final discussions with him are due.
Of his presence I shall free society.

It comes at a cost that will bring pain
To friends, dear Watson, especially you.
I have already explained this,
That I'll be someone that you miss.

Through Mycroft my property I leave.
Though this may seem a tragedy to grieve,
For me it is a most congenial end.
Pray give greetings to your wife from me, dear friend.

based on "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1901-1902)

O'er the Moor

tune: O'er the Moor Among the Heather
sequenced by J. P. Johnson, adapted by John McDonnell
O'er the moor among the heather,
Stunted oak and brooding fir trees,
Loomed, five hundred years in weather,
Towers above a fearful unease.
Who would solve the deadly mystery
Of a fate brought on by drunk curse,
Leaving Baskervillean history
Subject for a tragic rehearse?

Or does someone use the legend
As disguise for cunning purpose?
Sherlock Holmes has come from London,
Hidden, dressed as if a tourist.
Henry Baskerville shows portraits.
Here's the one of wicked Hugo.
Do his brutal facial features
Call to mind a man whom you know?

Nets are fixed to trap a devil.
Are they spoiled by drifting white fog?
Glowing eyes and jaws look evil.
Bullets kill a giant hound dog.
Tell the tale around a campfire.
Pause to hear the creatures' night screams.
Flickering flames glint faces amber.
Sleep the night in Grimpen Mire dreams!

from "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1901-1902):

In his tweed suit and cloth cap he looked like any other tourist upon the moor, and he had contrived,
with that catlike love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics, that his chin
should be as smooth and his linen as perfect as if he were in Baker Street.

Holmes on the Range

tune: Home on the Range by Daniel Kelley,
sequencer unknown
The man on the tor
Looking over the moor,
Where a pony might sink in a mire,
Keeps up with his mail
Which he reads without fail
That is brought by a boy in his hire.
Holmes' home on the range
Is a stone hut that's neatly arranged.
He's a clean-shaven chap
Dressed in tweed suit and cap,
And his linen is still daily changed!

based on "The Adventure of the Empty House" (1903)


I watched the man I'd wrestled with atop the falls of Reichenbach
Fall down for quite a while before he struck and bounded off a rock.
If that were me and this were he, he'd no doubt calculate
From seconds clicked till I was nicked the distance to my fate.
But he forgot baritsu taught that's served me very well.
He felt me slip out through his grip, so he's the one that fell.
He kicked and screamed at fate undreamed, that he alone should die.
His body smashed, in water splashed, while I was high and spry.
While climbing to a higher ledge I seemed to hear him scream at me
To try to make me lose my grip, but here I am, as you can see.

from "The Adventure of the Empty House" (1903):

"Do you know where we are?" he whispered.
"Surely that is Baker Street," I answered, staring through the dim window.
"Exactly. We are in Camden House, which stands opposite to our own old quarters."

from "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" (1893):

It was a blazing hot day in August. Baker Street was like an oven, and the glare of the sunshine
upon the yellow brickwork of the house across the road was painful to the eye.

Yellow Brick Ode

I now conclude from quotes like these
The Baker side of Camden House
Made August glares for Watson he's
Wishing he could somehow douse.
Tear down such bricks by public laws
And have them pave the way to Oz!

from "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons" (1904):

Lestrade and I sat silent for a moment, and then, with a spontaneous impulse, we both broke
out clapping, as at the well-wrought crisis of a play. A flush of colour sprang to Holmes's pale
cheeks, and he bowed to us like the master dramatist who receives the homage of his audience.
It was at such moments that for an instant he ceased to be a reasoning machine, and betrayed
his human love for admiration and applause. The same singularly proud and reserved nature
which turned away with disdain from popular notoriety was capable of being moved to its depths
by spontaneous wonder and praise from a friend.

Among Friends

How sad we are, when rising to the height
Long years of lonely practice have prepared,
We're shunned or granted hollow praise. The light
We learn to cast, unless it can be shared
With those who can appreciate the cost,
The darkness comprehendeth not. But here
Are friends who understand what might be lost
Without such winning efforts. Friends are dear.
Their spontaneity in praise rings sweet.
Fear not to blush. Fear not to show your need
For admiration and applause. Your feat
Was noble, and on such the noble feed.
Return to pompous ways we don't despise,
For we, your friends, know who looks through your eyes.

from "A Study in Scarlet" (1887):

There was one little sallow, rat-faced, dark-eyed fellow, who was introduced to me as Mr.
Lestrade, and who came three or four times in a single week.

from "The Adventure of the Second Stain" (1904):

Lestrade's bulldog features gazed out at us from the front window, and he greeted us warmly
when a big constable had opened the door and let us in.

The Aging of Lestrade

When sallow, rat-faced, dark-eyed fellows
Assume impressive bulldog features,
We know that time has passed.
It's good that youthful sharpness mellows
Into these more substantial creatures
That serve as bricks at last.

based on "The Adventure of the Second Stain" (1904)

Diplomatic Secrets

The stain on the floor had to pair
With the blood in the square carpet there.
By what twist of fate
Did the stain lose its mate?
Someone had twisted the square.

The rug had been drug back with ease,
But was put back turned ninety degrees.
One had pulled out a letter
For the sake of a fretter,
So Sherlock had nothing to seize.

But he still had an ace up his sleeve,
From a portrait, a face one perceived
With astonishing grin
As the one who'd peeped in,
Who when told leaned back with a heave.

So she helped put the letter away
Just in time for triumphant display.
One's questioning eyes
Prompted Sherlock to rise.
"We also know things we won't say!"

from "The Adventure of the Second Stain" (1904):

From out of her bosom Lady Hilda had drawn a small key.

"Hilda! Hilda!"

The missing letter was where it had been placed!
Your husband now runs wildly through the house
To tell you that the shame he might have faced
Is gone! Get rid of the key beneath your blouse
Before you're found and he fondly holds you tight,
Or that duplicated key might not feel right
In the closeness of his happy hug and kiss,
And it prompt the burning question, "What is this?"

from "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" (1910):

"It was an unjustifiable experiment even for one's self, and doubly so for a friend. I am really very sorry."

Mrs. Hudson's Reaction

In 1910 she read these words confessing fault for noxious fumes
And wished they had somehow applied to smells from 221B rooms!
But every time she came to scold, she'd watch him smiling like a boy
In his delight in chemistry and would not interrupt his joy.
"My former lodgers nearly died back then from testing deadly stinking!
"I would have slapped them both across the face and asked, 'What were you thinking?' "

based on "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" (1913)

A Toast to Mrs. Hudson

As guests entered to find their places,
Their names and titles were loudly intoned.
Respect for each other beamed on faces.
Hands applauded, though stomachs groaned.

The spicy scents from steaming dishes
Were almost overpowering.
At last some hope for postponed wishes,
The last guests entering were finally seen!

"Who's Mrs. Hudson?" one guest grumbled,
"This buxom landlady from Baker Street?"
As some of the noble peerage mumbled,
The duke bade all to sit down and eat.

Amidst their cheer of celebration
The stately duke stood up to say:
"Dear guests, I sensed some consternation
"At one who dines with us today.

"Mrs. Hudson is now most famous
"For housing London's very worst
"Tenant. Her long-suffering would shame us.
"At what she endures our tempers would burst.

"Sherlock Holmes, the consulting detective,
"Without Mrs. Hudson, where would he live?
"But why should I now wax reflective?
"His landlady the true account can give."

"My famous lodger's most untidy.
"Plays music at the oddest hours,
"Fired bullets indoors just last Friday.
"Yet I'm in awe of his thinking powers.

"Since he's a chemist, I'm often treated
"To some malodorous experiment.
"Perhaps so that I won't feel cheated,
"His payments make a princely rent.

"Although he tries my patience often,
"I have become quite fond of him.
"His overbearing ways can soften
"Toward womankind, though he dislikes them.

"His famous 221B dwelling
"Attracts the worst and best of men.
"What stories climb up stairs for telling,
"Then clomp their way back down again!

"But were it not for my dear tenant,
"I would not have been invited here.
"My family bears no noble pennant,
"But I love this company and cheer."

The one who had begun the muttering
Then stood, somewhat shamefaced, to say:
"I'm guilty of malicious uttering.
"Forgive me, Mrs. Hudson, I pray.

"Your patience is a noble offering.
"Perhaps this sounds absurd, but I'm
"Thinking, but for your long-suffering,
"Your tenant might have turned to crime!"

As this set off considerable laughing,
The duke had brandy poured out neat,
Proposing a toast for general quaffing:
"To Mrs. Hudson of Baker Street!"

from "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" (1913):

"I cannot think why the whole bed of the ocean is not one solid mass of oysters, so prolific the
creatures seem."

"When we have finished at the police-station I think that something nutritious at Simpson's would
not be out of place."

Welcome to Simpson's

Good evening, gentlemen! You are in for a treat!
It's our oyster feast — all you can eat!
Why are you laughing? Was it something I said?
We hope you are hungry. The way oysters spread,
Without our eating them, the whole ocean bed
Might be one mass of oysters! Your faces are red
From laughter! You aren't from Harley Street?

The mention of Harley Street is an allusion to "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" (1927):
"First of all, Mr. Holmes, I think that my employer, Sir Robert, has gone mad." Holmes raised his
eyebrows. "This is Baker Street, not Harley Street," said he. "But why do you say so?" "Well, sir,
when a man does one queer thing, or two queer things, there may be a meaning to it, but when
everything he does is queer, then you begin to wonder."

based on "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" (1891) and "The Valley of Fear" (1914-1915)

Boasting Books

Whitaker's Almanac:
I am the king of almanacs,
Consulted for my wealth of facts.
I pull so many truths together,
I should be bound in finest leather.
My title should be stamped in gold.
Of course I am most widely sold!

Conceited book, you're full of fables.
Without my handy railway tables
Sherlock Holmes would stay at home,
And many crimes would go unsolved.
You gather dust, you ugly tome.
When the game's afoot, I am involved!

pocket Petrarch:
You each have a terse and nervous tongue,
While my fair speech is sweetly sung.
I notice you're both left behind
When Sherlock's in his active mind.
When traveling far is on his docket,
He keeps me handy in his pocket!

Sherlockian commentary:
Because we heard these crazy boasts,
We knew we'd drained too many toasts.
We took a vote and Petrarch won,
Perhaps because he's much more fun.
The others help weak memories.
But this our deepest hopes can seize.
Which pocket kept this poet's art?
The closest one to Sherlock's heart!

from "His Last Bow" (1917):

"With my hair cut and a few other superficial changes I shall no doubt reappear at Claridge's
to-morrow as I was before this American stunt—I beg your pardon, Watson, my well of
English seems to be permanently defiled—before this American job came my way."

"When I say that I started my pilgrimage at Chicago, graduated in an Irish secret society at
Buffalo, gave serious trouble to the constabulary at Skibbareen, and so eventually caught the
eye of a subordinate agent of Von Bork, who recommended me as a likely man, you will
realize that the matter was complex."

Back from America

tune: The Yellow Rose of Texas by J. K.,
sequenced by Don Carroll
I fear my well of English is lastingly defiled,
For I've lived in Chicago where normal talk runs wild.
While there, I bought this banjo because its sound beguiled.
So many tones when strumming are on each other piled.

In Buffalo I sojourned, where I would graduate
To stir up Irish anger expressed in billingsgate.
Alone, I'd play this banjo as an escape from hate.
Some tunes I learned to carry picked out at throbbing rate.

Although this twanging banjo I may still keep around,
My violin I'm hoping won't scrape a fiddle sound.
Once heard, this Yankee banjo still in one's heart will pound.
It's hard to play vibrato when feet would stomp the ground.

from "His Last Bow" (1917):

“There’s an east wind coming, Watson.”

“I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.”

“Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming
all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a
good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner,
better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared."

Terrace Song

tune: The White Cliffs of Dover by Nat Burton and Walter Kent,
arranged and played by Robert Goldstick
"Stand with me on the terrace
"Beneath bright Polaris.
"This might be our last repartee."
After chatting that evening
The two turned for leaving.
Holmes pointed to the moonlit sea.
"An east wind will surely come."
"I think not. It's rather hot."
"Our age is now whirling, chum.
"You're the one spot that changes not.
"Past brave waves of dying
"Our land shall be lying
"In sunshine in a world still free."

from "The Problem of Thor Bridge" (1922):

Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn
and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, M.D., Late Indian Army, painted
upon the lid. It is crammed with papers, nearly all of which are records of cases to illustrate the
curious problems which Mr. Sherlock Holmes had at various times to examine.

E. T. Sherlockian

A flying saucer lighted near Charing Cross today.
Out stepped a strange red-headed being who by reports did say:
"Your first Mars probe that landed, or more truthfully, that crashed,
"Had a book of Sherlock Holmes inside that someone here had stashed.
"We've learned your languages from the signals you broadcast.
"We're so taken by this Sherlock Holmes that there's no getting past.
"We'll share extensive science far beyond what you now know
"If you'll give us the tin dispatch-box in the vaults of Cox and Co."

A Foreign Office clerk, who heard this strange request,
Looked round about, then spoke in answer to the uninvited guest:
"The records that you seek, if they were not destroyed,
"Are kept away from public view, which makes some feel annoyed.
"But this world's still unprepared to learn of the giant rat,
"And also of your greater science, and therefore, that is that!"
The being's face looked sad as he went back to his ship,
Which zoomed away with a whirring sound that ended in a zip.

from "The Problem of Thor Bridge" (1922):

A third case worthy of note is that of Isadora Persano, the well-known journalist and duellist,
who was found stark staring mad with a match box in front of him which contained a remarkable
worm said to be unknown to science.

Isadora Persano

A man who liked to duel with enemies,
Sometimes by word, sometimes by gun, was found
Stark staring mad. Before his frantic gaze
Was poised a match box, in which was contained
A worm someone had judged to be unknown
To science. That is all we're told. We groan.
We want to know how Holmes became involved
And why this case was left by him unsolved.
Who put the match box there? What scientist
Pronounced upon the worm? Was it alive
Or dead? Why would a male journalist
Use feminine name? Against whom would he strive?
A case that's "worthy of note" deserves much more
Than the tantalizing glimpse we have in THOR!

based on "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" (1923) and "His Last Bow" (1917)

Nearing Retirement

Because of a youth-giving serum
The professor would taunt Roy and jeer 'm,
But his dog slipped the collar
And became the prof's mauler,
Which led Holmes to state a new theorem.

"When one tries to rise above Nature
"One is liable to fall like a lecher
"Into sensual ways
"For the rest of one's days,
"Forsaking old age as a teacher.

"I'll retire to the farm of my dreams,
"Study all philosophical schemes,
"Write a treatise in ease
"On the culture of bees,
"Observing their little ganged streams."

based on "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" (1923) and "His Last Bow" (1917)

Sherlock Holmes Retires

tune: Auld Lang Syne
arranged and sequenced by Barry Taylor
About to move from Baker Street, Holmes checks his packing list.
Detectives come from Scotland Yard to say that he'll be missed.
Irregulars now all grown up recall the early years,
While Mrs. Hudson, bless her soul, with her handkerchief wipes tears.

Some drivers of old hansom cabs rehearse the ways they know
And grumble at the motorcars that frighten horses so.
Telegraphers he often used, in having helped feel proud
And scoff at telephones that make private information loud.

His Boswell asks what cases now might safely be revealed
And which must yet be kept in vaults, in tin dispatch-box sealed.
"Although I often criticize the way you tell your tales,
"I must admit, for all their faults, your discreetness never fails."

His coach-and-four trots down the street in light of midday sun.
The air of London seems more sweet because of all he's done.
He leaves the fogs, the grays and duns, the crimes and wicked schemes,
And off he goes to Sussex downs and his little farm of dreams.

based on "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" (1924)


tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
sequenced by Tracy T. Mercier
"I recall a Dr. Starr.
"He was once Topeka's mayor."
"Good old Dr. Starr," said he,
"Honored still in memory!"
Twinkle, twinkle, cold gray eyes.
By your ruse you know he lies.

based on "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" (1924)

John Garrideb's Song

tune: Oh, My Darling Clementine by Percy Montrose,
arranged and sequenced by Bill Basham
I'm a lawyer sprung from Moorville, perched on flinty prairie hill,
To seek millions from provisions in the queerest Kansas will.
I don't like it you're invited in our business, Mr. Holmes,
But if you can help, I'll pay you. We must search with fine-toothed combs.

Alexander Garrideb left all his wealth to namesakes, if
I could find two others so named whom I'd split his millions with.
Not a Garrideb is listed in the whole United States,
But in London I found Nathan. With one more, we're wealthy mates!

Here's a Garrideb named Howard, who constructs machinery,
Binders, reapers, steam and hand plows, drills artesian wells, I see!
Mr. Holmes, we have our third man, so we're sorry, we must say,
To have caused you needless trouble. We'll report to you someday!

from "The Adventure of the Three Gables" (1926):

"I hear that she is about to marry the young Duke of Lomond, who might almost be her son."

Memo to the Duke of Lomand

Before you marry Mrs. Klein, make haste to Harrow Weald,
To hear what Mrs. Maberley — 'twould make your blood congealed —
Has learned what harmed her Douglas dear while Isadora smiled.
Your love might likewise turn to hate. To her you're but a child.
Her beauty fades, she seeks half-light, this Isadora Klein.
The dogs she feeds may bite her hands, and, should you marry, thine.

from "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" (1926):

Murdoch was the mathematical coach at the establishment, a tall, dark, thin man, so taciturn
and aloof that none can be said to have been his friend. He seemed to live in some high, abstract
region of surds and conic sections, with little to connect him with ordinary life.... On one occasion,
being plagued by a little dog belonging to McPherson, he had caught the creature up and hurled
it through the plate-glass window.

Connecting With Life

tune: How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? by Bob Merrill,
unidentified recording
Coach Murdoch knew surds and conic sections
But not much connected with life,
Until he was stunned by Maudie's beauty
And felt hope that she'd be his wife.

When he learned that Maudie loved McPherson,
He made friends with him he had fought,
And stopped throwing doggies through the window,
And only their happiness sought.

How sad Murdoch felt when Coach McPherson
Was strangely attacked and had died,
All interest in surds and conic sections
Absurd in the tears that he cried!

based on "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" (1926)


tune: Barbara Allen
arranged and sequenced by Barry Taylor
McPherson loved a girl named Maud, Old Fulworth's finest beauty,
And she loved him, though they seemed to scorn the matrimonial duty.

McPherson's uncle, nearing death, would leave his nephew nothing
If he should wed against Uncle's will. No marriage plans was bluffing.

Maud's father and her brother too McPherson's courting hated.
They tried to keep Maud from seeing him. Through secret notes they dated.

One day McPherson went to swim. He crawled back whipped by magic.
In pain he shrieked out, "the Lion's Mane!" And then he died. How tragic!

McPherson's dog was next found dead where its lord had been stricken.
A fact as morbid and strange as this the mind of Holmes would quicken.

Holmes searched the box-room of his mind and books up in his garret.
A volume found titled Out of Doors contained some facts of merit.

"Behold the Lion's Mane!" cried Holmes. On it they pushed a boulder,
But not before it had left its mark across Coach Murdoch's shoulder.

from "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman" (1926):

"I was slipping through the pantry window in the early dawn when I felt a hand inside my collar,
and a voice said, 'Now, you rascal, what are you doing in there?' When I could twist my head
round I looked into the tinted spectacles of my friend and rival, Mr. Barker. It was a curious
foregathering and set us both smiling. It seems that he had been engaged by Dr. Ray Ernest's
family to make some investigations and had come to the same conclusion as to foul play. He
had watched the house for some days and had spotted Dr. Watson as one of the obviously
suspicious characters who had called there. He could hardly arrest Watson, but when he saw
a man actually climbing out of the pantry window there came a limit to his restraint. Of course,
I told him how matters stood and we continued the case together."

Mr. Barker's Song

tune: Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? by Hughie Cannon,
sequenced by John McDonnell
I was the hated rival of Sherlock Holmes upon the Surrey shore.
I wore gray-tinted glasses, Masonic pin. I'm sure he noticed more!
One day it dawned upon us we both were on
A case we worked with fine-toothed combs.
Well, Barker's my name, and this is my fame:
I solved a case with Sherlock Holmes!

In the 1920s, the Chinese tile game Mah Jong became popular in Western nations. Among the
game's 144 tiles are four named "The Green Dragon," although the green Chinese character
engraved on them means "begin." In Doyle's 1927 Sherlock Holmes tale "The Adventure of
Shoscombe Old Place" an inn is named "The Green Dragon." Later, in Tolkien's The Lord
of the Rings
one of its Middle-earth inns is named "The Green Dragon."

The Green Dragon Inn

tune: Back in the Saddle Again by Gene Autry and Ray Whitley,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
Well, down at The Green Dragon Inn,
Who knows who might wander in.
Holmes and Watson once were there,
Said they needed Berkshire air.
They stayed at The Green Dragon Inn.
You might see there strange folks
Telling their funniest jokes.
Though their hearts fill yours with mirth,
They might hail from Middle-earth.
They're there at The Green Dragon Inn.
Come from near and far
By train, horse, or car,
Here great adventures begin.
Come from near and far,
We're all at par
Here at The Green Dragon Inn.

Sherlock Presley

tune: Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Roy Turk and Lou Handman,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
Do you think it was right
That I woke you tonight
And then told you the game was afoot?
Should enigmas I break
Be called art for art's sake?
Do you think that they can be so put?
When I'm harsh on my Boswell, you're quick to forgive.
You have weaned me from cocaine, so I can still live.
When I've thought out each thread
Till a whole problem's read,
Should I tell you the game is afoot?

If Elvis had had a Dr. Watson to wean him from drugs, his
contributions to music might have been even greater.

parody of a Gilbert and Sullivan song
(unchanged lines are in brackets)

Poor Wandering Wound

tune: Poor Wandering One by Arthur S. Sullivan,
sequenced by Richard Port
Poor wand'ring wound!
Where will he say it is this time?
That in shoulder
May be older.
Poor wandering wound!

Poor wand'ring wound!
Aching whenever convenient,
Where in a leg
It's hard to peg.
But let us learn to be lenient.

Take heart, when danger nears,
That aching then disappears.
Take heart, when a good cause
Requires breaking the laws. Oh my!

Take heart, when danger nears,
That dull aching right then disappears.
Take heart, when a good cause
Requires breaking the laws. Oh my!

[Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!]

Poor wand'ring wound!
Where will he say it is this time?
That in shoulder
May be older.
Watson's poor wandering wound!

[Ah, ah! Ah, ah, ah!
Ah, ah! Ah, ah, ah!]
When a good cause... Take heart!

(instrumental music)

Oh my! Take heart!

(instrumental music)

Take heart, when danger nears,
That aching then disappears.
[Ah, ah! Ah! Take heart!]

parody of a Gilbert and Sullivan song
(unchanged lines are in brackets)

Scotland Yard

tune: With Catlike Tread by Arthur S. Sullivan,
arranged by Albert Sirmay, sequenced by John McDonnell
When Scotland Yard
Cannot interpret clues,
They'll then regard
The methods that I use.
I'll point the way,
If they will take the hint,
But often they
Will smile at me and squint.

While Gregson and Lestrade will vie,
I'll follow threads they cannot spy.

Remove what cannot be!
Then the facts that remain,
Though they may look insane,
Must show the truth, you see,
Solving all the mystery!

Remove what cannot be!
Then the facts that remain,
Though they may look insane,
Must show the truth, you see,
Solving all the mystery!

[Here's your crowbar and your centrebit,
Your life preserver, you may want to hit.
Your silent matches, your dark lantern seize!
Take your file and your skeletonic keys!]

When Scotland Yard...
They'll then regard...

When Scotland Yard
Cannot interpret clues,
They'll then regard
The methods that I use.
I'll point the way,
If they will take the hint,
But often they
Will smile at me and squint.

Remove what cannot be!
Then the facts that remain,
Though they may look insane,
Must show the truth, you see,
Solving all the mystery!

When Scotland Yard
Cannot interpret clues,
They'll then regard
The methods that I use!

A Little Irregular

Out of desperation I told of my problem
In a London newspaper agony column.
The next day a street arab said with elation:
"Come to a place near the Baker Street station,
"And there tell your story to the keenest of sages,
"Who has noticed your piece in the agony pages."

I felt somewhat foolish to go with the urchin
As the underground train pulled off with a lurching.
But my doubts were dispelled when the man I would see
From my hands and my clothing knew much about me.
He asked me some questions, then started to grin.
He showed how my problem might end with a win.

Astonished, I thanked him and paid him his fee.
Then I sought out the urchin who'd escorted me.
"Mr. Holmes has already paid me a shilling,
"But I'll take that sixpence if you are still willing."
I could not withhold from a manner so coy.
"To be an Irregular for Sherlock's a joy!"

The boy with his money ran out through the crowd
So quickly, the landlady chuckled out loud.
She said there were others employed in such work,
And each bore the selfsame mischievous smirk.
They acted as eyes and ears for their master,
Thus helping him solve some hard cases faster.

A Baker Street Christmas

tune: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by J. Baptiste Calkin,
sequenced by John McDonnell
The yellow bricks across the way
Look cheerful 'neath the buried roof.
The daily din is muffled now.
The street beneath's unstruck by hoof.

All motions through the path are cheered
By waving arms and boisterous cries.
All breathing's seen, all wonder felt,
All memories prompting tender sighs.

And look! Within the snow-filled scene
Approaches now a motley crew,
The urchins Holmes sometimes employs,
Now making old-time carols new.

They stop to sing before our place.
I call at once toward Holmes's room
That he might see and hear this group.
I hope he's not in some deep gloom.

But then above the off-key sounds
A touching descant part joins in.
I look below surprised to see
That Holmes is playing violin!


The Brits would still be using
Their gasogenes today,
But the French found there's no losing
Their source of Perrier,
Which, bottled, was so easily shipped
That the gasogene market was permanently nipped.
Memo to antique gasogene collectors:
Before you try out bubbling some nectars,
Please learn how they can be safely made,
Or you may find that you have paid
For a rather expensive glass grenade.

A Welcome Holmes Song

tune: Tennessee Waltz by Pee Wee King,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson,
Mary Morstan, Mrs. Hudson,
Are some characters Americans hold.
Likewise Asians, Europeans,
And Australians, Polynesians,
And Africans also, we're told.
Sixty stories we love
For the verve they're made of,
Here's a place for discussing them all,
Done in English with computer,
With some wittiness and humor.
The tales of Holmes still enthrall!

from "Queen Victoria's Jubilee" (1897) by Mark Twain:

I got to my seat in the Strand just in timefive minutes past tenfor
a glance around before the show began. The houses opposite, as far as
the eye could reach in both directions, suggested boxes in a theater
snugly packed. The gentleman next to me likened the groups to beds
of flowers, and said he had never seen such a massed and
multitudinous array of bright colors and fine clothes.

At Queen Victoria's Jubilee

By blowing fumes from his cigar a bloke
Into the better seats had worked his way
As coughing persons, reeling from the smoke,
Would scoot aside on that most glorious day.
A man who sat downwind from Mr. Rude
Scooped up some fallen ashes in a card,
And through a convex glass the ashes viewed,
Then said: "To know each kind is not that hard.
"Your cheap cigars are purchased by the barrel
"For seven dollars — that includes the barrel.
"Of course you have your drawl and writer's hand.
"You are Mark Twain, most welcome in our land.
"These gathered crowds, like flower gardens seen,
"Without your smoke might better view our Queen!"

"Sherlock Holmes" Fanfics

Enthused by tales of Sherlock Holmes, all sixty had I read,
And then could only wish for more or read pastiche instead.
The films I watched took liberties that need not have been done
When scenes remaining true to text would surely be more fun.
Our changing age has no fixed point. These fanfics are not based
On Holmes that Watson wrote about. The character's replaced
By one that Watson never knew nor would he want to know.
My mind still soars with Watson's Holmes, though his name's defamed below.

Ode to Dr. Watson

Of all the many entertaining authors
Whose published books by some are fondly kept,
Have any matched your subtle pawky humor?
Were any at descriptions as adept?

Of course you had the great unique advantage
Of having such a gifted friend to know,
And living at a time we view as charming,
From those quaint glimpses that your stories show.

But still, the manner of your stories' tellings
Stirs up imaginings more than a guess.
We've shuddered at portrayals of the villains.
We've warmed to view the damsels in distress.

And as for Holmes, you've made him such a hero,
We'd no doubt swarm to get his autograph,
And search his face to sense the egotism
That never fails to make our spirits laugh.

Then cheers from all for sturdy Dr. Watson!
The one fixed point within all changing scenes.
His writings cause some pilgrimage to London
Or shorter jaunts to local silver screens.

Would-Be Author

tune: Heart and Soul by Hoagy Carmichael,
arranged and sequenced by Jim Bottorff
I want to be a published author of storied art.
I need to imitate some classic to make my start.
Sherlock Holmes is just the character
That could work for me, an amateur,
Until I find my own sweet style
That entertains without guile.
Sherlock-Holmes-and-Dr.-Watson talk
Just might cure a case of writer's block
Until originality
Awakens in me.
Oh, can I spin adventures that will seem real?
Oh, can I spew a tale in some unique spiel?
If some day I write a book that sells
For its charm, the view of life it tells,
You'll know I learned from Conan Doyle,
And burned some midnight oil.

publication order of Sherlock Holmes stories by A. Conan Doyle
poems and songs by John McDonnell