I'm reliably informed by my mother that "Wolf Hall", by Hilary Mantel, is a great book. It's about Thomas Cromwell, and contains a really groovy description of a memory system used by either him or someone else (I've only got a photocopy of one page that doesn't say who it's talking about). I urge everyone to buy the book, and read not just page 216, but the whole thing.
Anyway, this immediately reminded me of the line in the title, up there, written about Thomas's great-great-great-nephew Oliver [family relationship lazily looked up on wikipedia and so probably incorrect] in 1849, by the Rev. T. Brayshaw (according to this website, which is almost certainly more reliable than wikipedia because it belongs to Russian memory man, othello player and circus strongman Oleg Stepanov and is a transcription of a 19th-century book about memory - and all 19th-century books were entirely accurate and free from factual error). It's part of a mnemonic poem you can use to learn the sequence and dates of English monarchs, and it includes the couplet "Fair MODEL  did first Charles, when martyred, give, / How MISTY  men like Cromwell ought to live."
When I first read this poem, I thought "What a stupid line. In what way could Cromwell be described as 'misty'? It makes no sense at all, and so doesn't work as a mnemonic!" Of course, this meant that the only phrase from this poem that stuck in my head was "misty men like Cromwell", and ensured that any time I've seen a patch of mist since then, I've always thought of Oliver Cromwell [and presumably also his son, who doesn't get a line to himself in the poem]. Three cheers for the power of mnemonics and the golden rule that silly nonsensical images are the most memorable!
The one thing I didn't remember, of course, is what year the word "misty" was supposed to represent, because the Reverend Brayshaw used a system of his own devising that nobody else has ever used since. Still, his book of Metrical Mnemonics sounds downright awesome, and I must try to find a copy. Not least because either his book, the 1885 book that quoted it, or Oleg's transcription of the latter, misses out a line of the poem.
It's the line about King John - 1199, which in this system is [B or C], [T or V], [T or V] ("battle" sounds obvious but seems to be disallowed because all the other mnemonic words in the poem use only the three consonants, no extra ones on the end), and rhyming with the following line "His FACE, IN Parliament, weak third Henry shows." I'd suspect "covet" for the mnemonic, and "goes" for the rhyme, but I can't think of a good way to make a nice metric out of them...