(Poem #207) Clerihews
The art of Biography Is different from Geography. Geography is about maps, But Biography is about chaps. Sir Christopher Wren Said, 'I am going to dine with some men. If anyone calls Say I am designing St. Paul's.' John Stuart Mill, By a mighty effort of will, Overcame his natural bonhomie And wrote 'Principles of Political Economy.' What I like about Clive Is that he is no longer alive. There is a great deal to be said For being dead. Edward the Confessor Slept under the dresser. When that began to pall, He slept in the hall. Chapman & Hall Swore not at all. Mr Chapman's yea was yea, And Mr Hall's nay was nay. It was a weakness of Voltaire's To forget to say his prayers, And one which to his shame He never overcame.
from 'Biography for Beginners', 1905. Not many poets can lay claim to inventing a poetic form; still fewer have had forms named after them. Lucky old ECB :-). thomas. PS. Again, having such an odd middle name helps :-) [Biography] Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) is remembered mainly for his classic detective story Trent's Last Case and for the verse form that was named after him - the clerihew. It was at the age of sixteen, while he was at St. Paul's School in London, that Bentley first started writing clerihews, as a diversion from school work. G. K. Chesterton, Bentley's life-long friend, was at St. Paul's at the same time, and he too wrote clerihews. Here is one of Bentley's original clerihews from this period: Sir Humphrey Davy Abominated gravy. He lived in the odium Of having discovered sodium. Bentley's first collection of verse in this vein was published in 1905 as Biography For Beginners. Further collections appeared in 1929 and in 1939. It was soon after publication of the first volume that the name 'clerihew' became applied to this particular form of light verse. What exactly is a clerihew? Frances Stillman in The Poet's Manual and Rhyming Dictionary defines it as 'a humorous pseudo-biographical quatrain, rhymed as two couplets, with line of uneven length more or less in the rhythm of prose'. Add to this, that the name of the subject usually ends the first or, less often, the second line, and that the humour of the clerihew is whimsical rather than satiric, and there you have a complete definition. -- http://thinks.com/words/clerihew.htm