Books On Books Collection – Peter Criddle

Commend Me to the Ampersand (2018)

Commend Me to the Ampersand (2018)
Peter Criddle
Booklet, sewn saddle-stitch, untrimmed at the head. H110 x W154 mm. 10 folios, untrimmed at the head. Acquired 8 September 2022.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

Like Andrew Morrison’s Ampersand& (2007), also in the Books On Books Collection, Peter Criddle’s booklet is a design festival of ampersands. In his celebration, Criddle uses metal & wood ampersands (whereas Morrison’s are all wooden) , but his effort’s chief distinction is the revival of an extended piece of doggerel, first presented in Punch Magazine (1869).

He’s never bothered, like A.B.C.
In Index, Guide, and Directorie:
He’s never stuck on a Peeler’s coat,
Nor hung to show where the folks must vote.
No, my nice little Amperzand,
My plump and curly Amperzand,
When I’ve a pen in a listless hand,
I’m always making an Ampersand!

Nothing for him that’s starch or stiff,
Never he’s used in scold or tiff,
State epistles, so dull and grand,
Mustn’t contain the shortened and.
No, my nice little Amperzand,
You’re good for those who’re jolly and bland,
In days when letters were dried with sand
Old frumps wouldn’t use my Amperzand!

But he is dear in old friendship’s call,
Or when love is laughing through lady-scrawl:
‘Come & dine, & have bachelor’s fare.’
‘Come & I’ll keep you a Round & Square.’
Yes my nice little Amperzand
Never must into a word expand,
Gentle sign of affection stand,
My kind, familiar Amperzand.

‘Letters Five do form his name:’
His, who Millions doth teach and tame:
If I could not be in that Sacred Band,
I’d be the affable Amperzand.
Yes, my nice little Amperzand,
And when PUNCH is driving his five-in-hand,
I’ll have a velocipede, neatly planned
In the shape of a fly-away Amperzand.

For now, Criddle’s may be “the last word on the ampersand”.

Further Reading

The Last Word on the Ampersand“. 27 June 2020. Books On Books Collection.

Andrew Morrison“. 15 September 2021. Books On Books Collection.

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