The clerihew was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley when he was just 16 years old sometime in the first couple of decades of the 20th century.
This poetic form consists of 4 whimsical lines about famous people. It is biographical and made up of irregular lines and meter. The rhyme structure is AABB. The first line must end with the subject’s name – most of the time the subject’s name IS the first line.
This poetic form was used by G.K. Chesterton and W.H. Auden (among others), so I’m in good company.
President Biden Went into hidin’ Down in his basement. They’ve made no replacement.
Kamala Harris Went off to Paris. She spoke in French accents To sound like she made sense.
Anthony Fauci Was feeling grouchy. He created such boredon That most folk ignored him.
Ms Jacinda Ardern Promulgated COVIC restrictions quite stern. No one took much notice ‘cos Few knew who she was.
Prime Minister Boris Wasn’t called Horace. He called Number 10 his home But didn’t have a comb.
President Biden When polls had him slidin’ Said Hunter was the brightest man he knew – Which is unfortunately true.
This space is meant to have a pome,
I haven’t witten whum,
Bare the page, still the pen, I sit here on my bum It’s really rather dumb No thoughts will ever come Things are looking glum My brain’s forever numb I twiddle my thumbs
Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water Jack fell down and broke his crown And Jill came tumbling after
Up Jack got and home did trot As fast as he could caper He went to bed and bound his head With vinegar and brown paper.
Have you ever heard such balderdash?
The only reason they went “up the hill” was because “hill” rhymes with “Jill”. Obviously, one doesn’t go UP a hill to get water. If anything, one would go DOWN. In fact, they could have gone to a well to get water. It certainly makes more sense. All they need do is change the name from “Jill” to “Nell”.
Jack and Nell went to a well.
It’s possible they went to a “water hole in the bog”, but what girl’s name rhymes with “water hole in the bog”? Brook?
Jack fell down and broke his crown. Presumably they mean “crown of the head”. Well, if he broke that he’d be dead and not capering home to wrap things up with vinegar and brown paper. In all likelihood, he broke his arm. But “arm” doesn’t rhyme with “down”. At least not in my book.
Lies! Lies! Lies! I shudder to think of the lies that have been told throughout history for the sake of a rhyme. Imagine the fibs told by Shakespeare in all those sonnets. No wonder he wrote his plays in blank verse. And the whoppers scattered throughout Milton’s Paradise Lost. Phew! We won’t even begin to go into the Iliad and the Odyssey.
I could indeed go on about Jack and Jill to illustrate further this proclivity to lie for the sake of rhyme, but I won’t. Suffice to say that “water” doesn’t rhyme with “after” like the author clearly thinks it does. This makes it a lie in an unrhyme. Is there nothing true and sacred left in this world of ours?