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.



  1. 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."

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

  3. 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.

  4. @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.

  5. 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

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

  7. Nicholas Fulford6 June 2014 at 02:24

    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.

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

  9. JP,

    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.


  10. 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.

  11. @WmJas - That's very good!

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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."