22 MARCH 1957, Page 26


SPECTATOR COMPETITION No. 368 Report by Blossom

Competitors were invited to provide three continuous ckrihews that might have been used between one of the following pairs: Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Shylock and Portia, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, or Hamlet and his father's ghost.

BY and large I think that a good clerihew just happens. Certainly there are rules of construction but these are quite simple and the very nature of this competition permitted greater latitude than usual; even so, there still seems to be an element of doubt. For those of you who may have been disqualified on technical grounds, the clerihews which I sought would, ideally, have consisted of two short couplets without, by tradition, any regard for rules of metre. In fairness to the purists, my views must be related to the circumstances of the present competition; I am well acquainted with the interpretation of Chambers's Mid- Century Dictionary.

Many of you were transparently worried by the seriousness or otherwise of my intentions. I had no preconceived designs and any entry showing an element of enterprise would have been well in the running. The balance, I suppose, should weigh in favour of the style of the sixteenth century if only by virtue of the wording of the competition as set. I think that we all would have missed some- thing if I had been dogmatic in my judgement and, after all, a clerihew is not an over-serious matter anyway.

I had an underlying feeling that my leg was being pulled quite violently once or twice— especially by some of the regular customers— otherwise Vera Telfer would not have tried to rhyme `Glamis' with 'blame is.' Rhoda Tuck Pook ought not to have experimented with 'hereditary' and 'apothecary,' both of which are separated by six full columns in Webster's Rhyming Dic- tionary. A. W. Dicker's 'Scone' and 'stone' left me almost speechless and I was born a good 300 miles south of the border. One last word, what would you have done with PM's 'thumping' rhyme to 'something"? It might have been sheer coincidence that D. R. Peddy's report on calypsos appeared on the same page as that on which my competition was set!

The many entries which were received were bound to provide some pretty gems. For this reason I will limit my castigations to give the deserving clients the satisfaction of seeing them- selves in print, if not in the money.

I suggest that the prize money be divided equally among H. A. C. Evans, Norah Bone, R. A. McKenzie and Joyce Johnson. The follow- ing came as near as not to finding themselves in

the preceding sentence : P. W. R. Foot, Areas, W. K. Holmes, Nancy Gunter, Gloria Prince and J. A. Lindon. Samples are quoted below. • PRIZES

(H. A. C. EVANS) Macbeth

Hath done sleep to death And Cawdor Shall sleep no more.

Go wash thy hand And Smear with blood each groom In Duncan's room.

I'll not go there Nor dare View What e'en my thoughts rue.


SHYLOCK : Since Antonio's

Defaulted on the loan he owes, I'm here to sue him.

Can I go ahead and do him?

The way I read This deed.

If you spill any gore, it

Means you're the one that's for it.

Is that the law?

Cor !

Well since there won't be any kicking of buckets, I'll have my ducats.


Are you below me, 0 My Romeo? (Lor' what a fright he

Would think me in my long grey

flannel nightie!) 'Tis Juliet !

Thank God I duly ate Those scented cachous which, with Love's hypnosis, Will, in a clinch, conceal my halitosis, Sweet Romeo!

Will you not show me-0 How much I long to see—but no, that would be sinning!

Your face, my love, will do for a beginning.








Who or what Has led me to this spot?

1 see a transparent form On the edge of the platform.

I'm your father's ghost

Cooling off from the daily roast.. Your getting in a funk'll

Only help your horrible uncle.

He poured something rather queer Into my ear, It was all a dirty Trick to get Gertie.


(P. w. R. FOOT)

GHOST: Claud took my life,

So he'd be king with Gertrude wife;

Now she's a bawd, Must thou 'do' Claud.


CLEOPATRA : My sacred-crocodile!

Come, reign with me beside the Nile!, And I'll forgive your behaViour With Octavia.

(w. K. HOLMES)

What a hope then for me! You arc sure of your fee, Which is very nice, but You'll deny me my cut


JULIET: Stay, Romeo, stay,

It is not yet day, It is the nightingale and not lark, Hark!


SHYLOCK : 0 Justice, why lock

Your doors on Shylock?

What self-respecting Jew would choose for supper A Christian crupper?


MAcerni: Duncan Was never drunken.

And it seems wrong to perforate the container Of a near-total abstainer. •