Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I’m not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.
By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever’s hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!
Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.
Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne’er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.
A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare’s plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ogden Nash's poem Common Cold


  1. Nancy Bowman says:

    My daughter won a speech contest with her rendition of this about 20 years ago. We love Ogden Nash!!

  2. brian says:

    I think it was a very unique poem. It is very funny and interesting to read. I do agree there were a lot of literary elements in it and it was a great poem for people to write about.

  3. LeoP says:

    Whether how to define serious cold, or it is a virus and when thus there is a sense to address to the doctor? Or it is possible to lay simply at home, being treated most? WBR LeoP

  4. sam frank says:

    The copyright holder is by law
    entitled to project his jaw,
    state his case as his lawyer saw.
    But there are those who see his greed
    as callous and would pray he heed
    a higher law for those in need
    of Ogden’s wit and careless folly
    Go take your law and selfish ways
    and stick it where it does not pays.

  5. blueberry muffin says:

    ten pages for AP english on this one poem! it ended up working out alright though, even though the assignment was insane.

  6. Atrocity says:

    sweet poem i chose this poem for my english project as well. Not that commenting does anything important if anyone plays Tribes Vengeance http://www.versatilefighters.com and join

  7. Alex says:

    I think it is a great poem. Full of literary devices. The poem is overflowing with creativness. I am using it for a ENGLISH project i am in 9th grade.
    thanks Ogden,

  8. Lorely says:

    it is a realllllllyy good poem

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