Riddle,” by Samuel Griswold Goodrich, is in the form of a poem; riddles and puzzles were quite popular with the readers of Robert Merry’s Museum, but this one was never answered. Thanks, however, to Hal Johnson, for pointing out the answer (highlight to reveal): the answer must be the letter “W”.

“Riddle,” by Samuel Griswold Goodrich (from Robert Merry’s Museum, June 1853; pp. 183-184)


Go wide o’er the world,

And every where seek me—

In earth, sea, or air,

Thou never shalt meet me!

Go wide o’er the world—

I always am there—

Wherever thou roamest,

In earth, sea, or air!


Go, speak to the woodland,

And question of me—

Oh ne’er shalt thou find me,

With forest or tree!

Go, speak to the woodland,—

I ever am there,

And live in its whispers,

Tho’ lighter than air!


Go, winnow the wave,

And seek for my breath—

Ah, ocean and river,

Reveal but my death!

Go, winnow the wave,

Tho’ with winter it shiver—

There—there shalt thou find me,

’Mid ocean and river!


In whirlwinds I revel,

Yet in zephyrs expire—

I flourish in warmth,—

And I perish in fire!

The winter I cherish,

Yet each season I shun;

Half living in harvest,

In summer, undone!


I come with the warlock—

I go with the ghoul—

I shriek with the wizard—

I hoot with the owl!

I ride on the hazel

Which witches have rent—

I fly on the wind

Which the eagle hath bent.


I come and I go—

Oft unseen and unsought;—

I live but in words—

I perish in thought.

So to all and to each,

I bid you adieu;—

Yet to all and to each—

I stay double with you!

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