Thursday, 5 June 2014

My favourite smutty limerick


From memory, from the New Oxford Book of Light Verse edited by Kingsley Amis - supposedly by "Anon" but it has Amis's fingerprints all over it.

A vice most obscene and unsavoury
Holds the Bishop of Balham in slavery.
To hideous howls
He rogers young owls
Which he keeps in an underground aviary.



JP said...

My favorite limericks are from Edward Gorey, e.g.:

To his clubfooted son said Lord Stipple,
As he poured his postprandial tipple,
"Your mother's behavior,
Pained Our Lord Savior,
And that's why He made you a cripple."

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - not to my taste. The fourth line lacks smooth scansion and the joke isn't whimsical in the way I prefer.

Bruce B. said...

From memory, my grandmother used to recite some really un-PC ones:

The poor but honest Hindu
He does the work he can do
He sticks to caste
From first to last
And for pants, he lets his skin do

I’m pretty sure Kipling didn’t write it but it was definitely from a different time.

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - Qua limerick, it doesn't yet scan - needs more work. But it might be made good. For starters, the first line would need to go Ti-tuppi-tee tuppi Hin-DOO with the stress on doo.

My general feeling is that light verse needs to be technically perfect to be good - especially in terms of rhythm. WS Gilbert, AA Milne, Lewis Carroll etc.

David said...

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

Not so much smutty as sweet. From Love - the essence of the Gospel by President Thomas Monson

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Unfortunately it doesn't work in America, where "aviary" doesn't rhyme with the other two words.

Nicholas Fulford said...

There was a young lady named Bright,
Whose speed was far faster than light.
She set off one day
in a relative way,
and returned on the previous night.

To her friends said the Bright one in chatter:
"I have learned something new about matter.
My speed was so great,
much increased was my weight,
yet I failed to become any fatter.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - See my remarks on poetry being untranslatable ;-)

Bernard Brandt said...


The penultimate line to your quoted Gorey limerick should read:

"Gave pain to our Saviour"

Prof. Charlton,

My favorite limerick is by W.H. Auden, and goes:

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money,
The screamingly-funny,
And those who are very well hung.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

There once was an X from place B,
That satisfied predicate P,
He or she did thing A,
In an adjective way,
Resulting in circumstance C.

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - That's very good!

Why not post it on your blog? - or I'll do it here?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

It's not mine. I read it somewhere; I don't remember where.

Bruce Charlton said...

This is a brilliant subversion - and is also smutty in a double-entendre/ 'Carry On' movie kind of way:

There once was a maid from Madras
Who had a magnificent ass.
Not rounded and pink,
As you’d possibly think;
It was grey, had long ears, and ate grass.

Bruce Charlton said...

From Elijah Armstrong:


"I'm also very fond of Gilbert's anti-limerick:

There was an old man from St. Bees
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp.
When they asked "Does it hurt?"
He replied "No it doesn't,
"But I thought all the while 'twas a hornet."

I wrote this one about Howard Gardner:

There once was a fellow named Gardner
Whose theory was quite a non-stardner.
He said, "There's no g,
"There's not one, two or three
"But nine ways that you can be smardner."