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Tag: sonnet

When a Limerick is not a Limerick

Friday, 6 November, 2015 0 Comments

After Lord Montagu of Beaulieu died in August, a seat in the House of Lords became vacant. This has now resulted a hereditary peer by-election — the system by which vacancies left by the death of a sitting hereditary peer are filled. The Earl of Limerick, Edmund Christopher Pery, has put himself forward for the job and the press is reporting that he’s hoping to convince sitting peers to support his bid “by presenting them with a personal statement in the form of a limerick poem.”

As most people know, however, a Limerick (limerick) is a form of poetry in five-line, mostly anapestic tetrameter with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA). Limericks are sometimes obscene but the intent is always humourous. The verse that the Earl of Limerick has produced is not lewd, but it is not a limerick and with 12 lines it’s not a sonnet, either. Still, he does get points for “embenched”.

The Upper House knows none so queer
A creature as the Seatless Peer
Flamingo-like he stands all day
With no support to hold his sway
And waits with covert eagerness
For ninety-two to be one less
Then on to hustings he must pace
Once more to plead his special case
Noble Lordships, spare a thought
For one so vertically distraught
And from your seats so well entrenched
Please vote that mine may be embenched

Oxford English Dictionary: embenched em ‘benched, ppl. a.Obs.rare—1
[f. en- + bench n. + -ed.]
Formed into ‘benches’; cf. bench n. 6, 7, and v. 2.
1599 Nashe Lent. Stuffe 9 Cerdicus… was the first..that on those embenched shelues stampt his footing.


God and Shakespeare at work

Monday, 17 February, 2014 0 Comments

“And what a character is Iago! undaunted John Eglinton exclaimed. When all is said Dumas fils (or is it Dumas pere?) is right. After God Shakespeare has created most.” Ulysses, by James Joyce, Episode 9, Scylla and Charybdis.

On 26 April 1564, John Bretchgirdle, the parish vicar of Statford, a small town in Warwickshire, noted the baptism of “Gulielmus filius Johannes Shakespeare.” This year, Rainy Day (and the world) will celebrate the 450th birthday of that extraordinarily creative person. We’re kicking off with Shakespeare Exchange, a New York based theatre company, which is publishing video clips of each of his 154 sonnets, performed by 154 different actors. For beginners, here’s Sonnet 101.


The towers, domes, theatres and temples of London

Monday, 7 October, 2013 0 Comments

Our blogging theme this week is the city, ancient and modern, with its towers, domes, theatres and temples. We’re kicking off with an urban sonnet by William Wordsworth describing London, viewed in the early morning.

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 — 23 April 1850)