We’ve mentioned Robert Conquest‘s new book of limericks, Garden of Erses, and wrote about the poet and historian here and here. Dave Lull, patron extraordinaire of bloggers, pointed out that a handful of erses were already published in the April edition of Standpoint here.
We’ll cite two of them, to brighten a slow Thursday a bit:
Said a stammering wit out at Woking,
“Though I like d-d-drinking and smoking
One thing I suppose
I like better than those
Is p-p-p-practical joking.”
Oedipus said to the Sphinx,
My name’s been perverted by shrinks.
Who’d think that Jocasta’d
Call me a bastard?
I say that psychology stinks.
One question remains: What’s an “erse”? My dictionary says: “Scottish Gaelic, or, less properly, Irish Gaelic.”
During the late 1920s and early ’30s, all of New York’s newspapers carried a daily column of light verse, most famously Franklin P. Adams’s “The Conning Tower” and Don Marquis’s “The Sun Dial.” They encouraged submissions from their readers, and it was in those hospitable columns that many men and women who later made their name as writers and playwrights and wits—Dorothy Parker, Russel Crouse, Dorothy Fields, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley–first saw their name in print. As E. Y. (Yip) Harburg put it, “We lived in an age of literate revelry in the New York daily press, and we wanted to be part of it.”