1 Feb 2011

And Then There Was Verse And Worse….

May I recommend a book to you? If you enjoyed the site I pointed you to a while back, 'Make 'Em Laugh', you will surely enjoy this book. If you don’t already have him that is.

A possible snag could be that, my copy, is marked as published in 1952 with this copy showing 1969. it came into my possession, through loaning it, liking it and neglecting to return it, some time in the early seventies and has been read almost to destruction. The perfect addition to the bedside table, next to the Teas Made. Damn, remember those things?


Well, that was no snag at all; Why don't I do this stuff first? Good ol' Mr. Google got it!! Amazon has 14 used copies at eight pence a pop!! This copy cost seven shillings back in the day. Postage and packaging will probably whizz it up a tad, but if you enjoy the samples below, it’s a bargain.

These three sample will make the title of the book more obvious. I love 'em.

There was an old man who averred,
He had learned how to fly like a bird.
Cheered on by thousands of people,
He leapt from the steeple--
His tomb states the date it occurred.
He passed the bobby without any fuss,
And he passed the cart of hay,
He tried to pass a swerving bus,
And then he passed away.
A bird, a man, a loaded gun.
No bird, dead man, Thy will be done.

I had a duck—billed platypus when I was up at Trinity,
With whom I soon discovered a remarkable affinity.
He used to live in lodgings with myself and Arthur Purvice,
And we all went up together for the Diplomatic Service,
I had a certain confidence, I own, in his ability;
He mastered all the subjects with remarkable facility;

And Purvis, though more dubious, agreed that he was clever,
But no one else imagined he had any chance whatever.
I failed to pass the interview, The Board with wry grimaces
Objected to my boots and took exception to my braces;
And Purvis too was failed by an intolerant examiner,
Who said he had his doubts as to his sock-suspenders
Our summary rejection, though we took it with urbanity,
Was naturally wounding in some measure to our vanity.
The bitterness of failure was considerably mollified,
However, by the ease with which our platypus had qualified.

The wisdom of the choice, it soon appeared, was undeniable,
There never was a diplomat more thoroughly reliable.
The creature never acted with undue precipitation O.
But gave to every question his mature consideration O.
He never made rash statements that his enemies might hold him to;
He never stated anything, for no one ever told him to;
And soon he was appointed, so correct was his behaviour,
Our Minister (without portfolio) in Trans Moravia.

My friend was loved and honoured from the Andes to Estonia;
He soon achieved a pact between Peru and Patagonia;
He never vexed the Russians nor offended the Rumanians;
He pacified the Letts and he appeased the Lithuanians.
No Minister has ever worked more cautiously or slowly O;
In fact they had decided to award him a portfolio,
When, on the anniversary of Greek Emancipation,
Alas! He laid an egg in the Bulgarian Legation.

This unexpected action caused unheard—of inconvenience,
A breach at once occurred between the Turks and the Armenians;
The Greeks poured ultimata, quite unhinged by the mishap, at him;
The Poles began to threaten and the Finns began to flap at him;
The Swedes withdrew entirely from the Anglo-Saxon dailies
The right of photographing the Aurora Borealis;
And, all attempts to come to a rapprochement proving barren,
The Japanese in self-defence annexed the Isle of Arran.

My platypus, once thought to be more cautious and more tentative
Than any other living diplomatic representative,
Was now a sort of warning to all diplomatic students-
The perfect incarnation of the perils of imprudence.
Beset and persecuted by the forces of reaction O,
He reaped the consequences of his ill-considered action O;
And, branded in the Honours List as Platypus, Dame Vera,
Retired, a lonely figure, to lay eggs at Bordighera.

Quote; Paul Sweeney.

“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

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