written quotes

Lost quotations

Have a look at the lost quotes below and see if you can help us out! (Please note that comments must be suitable for audiences of all ages and may be removed if not.)

No puppet master pulls the strings | 08-Dec-07

No puppet master pulls the strings on high
Proportioning our parts, the tinsel and the paint
A twisted nerve, a ganglion gone awry
Predestines the sinner or the saint
Each held more firmly than by hempen bands
Slave of his entrails, struts across the scene
The malnutrition of some gland
Makes him the Ripper or the Nazarene

6 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!

Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


I have mused about these lines for many years. The first stanza is quoted at the beginning of a 1960s film starring Hywel Bennett called A Twisted nerve about a young man with mental ill health and the lines are the motif of the film.

From hazy memory I think the lines are from a poem by Thomas Chatterton but so far have failed to locate the poem in anthologies. I will keep looking and keep you informed.
dec sweeney

Poem "Slaves" by George Slyvester Vireck 1884-1962. According to REH Bookshelf - V, it appears in a collection of Viereck's poetry: The Three Sphinxes and Other Poems (Girard, Kansas: Haldeman Julius Co., 1924).
Tim Barber

I'm 99% sure it's William Wordsworth, perhaps The Prelude.
Bob Burns

You are quoting from a poem entitled "Slaves" by: George Sylvester Viereck.
Priester John

Wikipedia says in the entry on the film Twisted Nerve, which quotes part of this, that it comes from Slaves by George Sylvester Viereck.
John Moseley

Is it not extraordinary that a) the lines don't scan regularly from line to line *and* scan differently from one stanza to the next; and b) that no-one has yet pointed this out?
Thomas Gibson

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