Rhymes for Writers
SPECTATOR COMPETITION No. 442: Report by A.M.O.S.
Many years ago, The Captain ran a competition for the best couplet incorporating names of cricketers. The winning entry was:
Fry, Poore Young Mann, Wood faze play.
But the Sharp Payne Burns Knight and Day.
The usual prize of six guineas was offered for (mother such couplet using the names of well-known literary men or women, living or not long dead.
Tit is competition proved unexpectedly popular, some 200 couplets having been submitted by veterans and backwoodsmen alike. The quality, however, was far from alike. What I thought I might reasonably expect from a good entry were a well-scanned couplet, as many names as Possible in the two lines, good sense and un- straining readability. Oh, and another requisite in my mind was decent rhyming (since only two rhymes were required). But I think more than half the couplets contained what are, for me, excruciating rhymes. I hope I am not the only Person who still believes that Waugh should not be pronounced 'war'; and that the name Shaw cannot really be accepted as the phonetic equivalent of 'sure' or 'shore,' yet I shudder to think how many competitors apparently do believe that such substitutes are admissible.
Too many entrants, also, were too ingenious, or perhaps I should put it, not quite ingenious enough. Ingenuity is all very well, if it does not make difficult reading : the best ingenuity is that Which produces an effect of simplicity. Some of the couplets sent in were so tortured to get the names in, that long deliberation was necessary to fathom the (not very important) meaning. Few sent in entries as pleasantly simple as the model I gave. Again, I should have liked the winning entries to be connected not only by literary names, but literary subject matter, just as the model was of cricketers about cricket. But that, apparently, was expecting too much. I suggest a prize of one guinea to each of the first six entries printed below.
PRIZES Bishop and Lehmann went to Church in Spain; But Rowse on Graves Cost Priestley Mann Stark
Payne. M. A SULLY You said I couldn't Loos—Dunne Brown am I; In Bottome Pound of hell go Burne and Fry I
RHODA TUCK POOK
Snow on a Riding Mann's be-Hinde may Fitt well; But Howe, Beerbohm all Frost, can Sheriff Sitwell?
J. A, LINDON
The Keyes of Bliss are Twain, I guess : Drinkwater Morand Bordeaux less.
V. R. ORMEROD
Noyes Heard in Household—Mann Keynes Childe; Yet Wilson Sitwell—Amis Wilde.
S. H. FINDLAY
Blunt Haggard Mann with Botta= Byrne cried, 1nnes tone despairing;
'Can't Sitwell on a Brick hill with this Boyle that 1 am Baring.'
R. A. MCKENZIE
The Wilder Woolf at Waugh with Mann, in Priestley Groves doth lie ; The Hardy Spring Buck roam the Moore, in
Snow-White Frost to die. C. B. RAMAGE
He Forster to be his Bridie, in the Church where the Priestley gather, But he severed the Linklater, for he wasn't the
Bairnsfather. R. KENNARD DAVIS
A Mann in Church has Forster Locke, Fate Knox : Two Kops Sitwell disguised in Priestley frocks.
Snow on Greene Graves and Blyton Bloom : Spring's Dunne now Herbert's limes tomb.
R. T. POOK
Spender Pound Amis on Marshall toys : Wyndham, and your Braine is Fuller Noyes.
SHEILA M. BROOKS
The Brooke is in Strong Speaight with Frost and Snow; See Street, Bridge, Field and Summers Bloom be-Low. LED Cross West Woolf Peake in Philpotts Wain And Loader Gunn to Shute in Spain.
With Woolf at door, White. Haggard, and in Payne, A Cross Young Mann played Bridge to Rowse his
Braine. HELEN MACGREGOR
Mais late this Spring, for Hale and Frost Stark White
Did Raine a Blyton Greene Shute in the Knight.
Do not Drinkwater, Harte. at Brooke Orwell; Woolf's Amis now to Hunt your Greene Home Dell. LESLIE JOHNSON
Wilde Joyce Hazlitt the Church House, Mann, and Dickens, Howitt Burns!
Buck up, run Sharpe to Wells or Brooke—'Q' up, Phillpotts by turns. R. L. SADLER
Who Graves his name on Church and Bridges Should Fry or turn to Frost in 'fridges.