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The port in literature

Frost fair 'poetry'

The frost fairs

The Fair on the Thames, February 4th 1814.
View full size imageThe Fair on the Thames, February 4th 1814. © NMM
The Thames frost fairs were a source of great pleasure for most Londoners, but they also generated some of the worst poems ever written in the English language.

To be fair, most of the verses that have survived did not pretend to be great poetry, but merely sought to advertise services.

Crimes in print

Printers produced the worst drivel. During the first great frost fair in 1683/84, printers earned large sums by producing souvenirs. It seems that none of this money was spent on commissioning a half-decent poem. Instead, the following epic has survived:

Quotation marks left
To the Print-house go,
Where men the art of Printing soon do know,
Where for a Teaster, you may have your name
Printed, hereafter for to show the sam