29 JULY 1989, Page 44




In Competition No. 1584 you were in- vited to offer up to 12 lines of macaronie verse.

This style of verse-making was apparent- ly popularised by Teofilo Folengo, a Man- tuan monk. A history of macaronic poetry, if you are rabidly curious, was published in 1801 by A. Cunningham. Brewer gives a simple example by J. A. Morgan, a 'trans- lation of Canning's, 'The Elderly Gentle- men':

Prope ripam fluvii solus A senex silently sat Super capitum ecce his wig Et wig super, ecce his hat.

Blew Zephyrus alte, acerbus, Dum elderly gentleman sat; Et a capite took up quite torve Et in rivum prejecit his hat.

There was more gallantry than ingenuity this week. I imagine that most of you would echo D. B. Jenkinson: 'Apits muchos gin and tonics/Ich commence les macaronies.' But the winners, who take £12 each, were well up to standard, and I'm happy to hand the bonus bottle of Lamberhurst 1986 Seyval Blanc Dry En- glish Wine, presented by Stephen Skelton of Lamberhurst Vineyards, to Monica G. Ribon.

Of mountaineers j'ai lately lu Des faits bizarres in High Peru, Peter lesquels they sat a table In morning dress, tout impeccable; Un gran altura, fitting scene — A high plateau for haute cuisine!

Himmel! So high they had to dine On truite tres bleue, on frozen wine, And when it came to l'heure du the, Chasing a llama pour son lait, The butler tripped, cassed une cote.

Auf wiedersehen to table haute!

(Monica G. Ribon)

I am a macaroni man, un polyglotte di pasta, Un rimailleur, em Dichterling, in fact a poetas- ter

Who majors in den Mischmasch, un pele-mele amateur Of multi-lingual jumble, em Knittelvers jong- leur, for plusieurs Sprachen sound so well when mixees and combined, Embrouillees durcheinander, mischiate, intert- wined, That una lingua franca ist gar keine good idea — Viel besser Vive la difference e viva lingua mia! But vraiment this Weltdichterling, cc rimailleur del mondo, Is nicht sehr lustig, assez glum and far from giocondo, This pasta poetaster est a bout and fit to drop, So dankbar to be coming to his polyglottal stop. (David Heaton) Was 1st denn theses komische Cricketspiel? This game we're watching since our tyre's just burst .

So auf rind ab zu laufen? 1st das das Ziel? Has quite an ancient history. Though at first . . . 'Wicket' veut dire `mechant', n'est-ce pas? Ou quoi?

Linked with excessive gambling, it became . . . Le vieux let-bas, pourquoi ii leve le doigt? The quintessential English summer game. Ein unverstandliches Spiel! Wo 1st die Bar? You'd grasp it quickly, really, if you tried. . . . Quel jeu diabolique! Je rentre au car! (Why did I chose to be a tourist guide?) (Chris Tingley) Last night I'm afraid I indulged ad lib. My Frau dit, `Man, you're drunk And the vicar is coming to dine mit us, Oh Heaven, mein Gott, quid nunc?'

'I'll prove I'm as sober as you, ma chere,'

I said, nil desperandum. Und I touched my toes with the tip of my nose: Quod erat demonstrandum. (N. E. Soret) Ars longa, vita brevis — Motto veritatis.

Tempus fugit. Au revoir, La rose finale aestatis.

Diem perdidi — not half! Les jours just seem volare De mal en pis, mais plus ca change. . Humanum est errare.

(A. D. Gibbons) Je suis un trendy Catholic clergyman Who makes la Messe as modish as I can: Hans Kung's echt-Deutsche pop-psychology Is for moi-meme le vraiment dernier cri. Je cherche les hippies, Maoists, live-in lovers: Je fais l'ambiance de Sixties album covers. A bas ins flics, Militarismus, Tories! Viva Fidel and his attendant glories! On dit que meine Bishop's perturbation Apres moi le deluge, chum, Winter semper closer. Veni, vidi, not much else — La vie, c'est dolorosa!

At last week's Gruppensexe situation

May well get moi defrocked. It won't, you know: Priests who can speak in tongues are all the go.

(R. J. Stove) In dix-sept cents and eighty-nine, Just two siecles ago, Les foules en sueur, as at a sign, Brandaient their bras en haut.

If peintures of the time are juste, They piled themselves en masse. And, au sommet, there always used To be a femme bien grasse.

This maid, la Liberte, begot Nos freedoms from afar: As well as being sans culottes, She's usually sans bra. (Noel Petty)