30 October 2009

Two Semantic Limericks - Gavin Ewart

1. According to The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1933)

There existed an adult male person who had lived a relatively short time, belonging or pertaining to St. John’s*, who desired to commit sodomy with the large web-footed swimming-birds of the genus Cygnus or subfamily Cygninae of the family Anatidae, characterized by a long and gracefully curved neck and a majestic motion when swimming.

So he moved into the presence of the person employed to carry burdens, who declared: “Hold or possess as something at your disposal my female child! The large web-footed swimming birds of the genus Cygnus or subfamily Cygninae of the family Anatidae, characterized by a long and gracefully curved neck and a majestic motion when swimming, are set apart, specially retained for the Head, Fellows and Tutors of the College.”

2. According to Dr Johnson’s Dictionary (Edition of 1765)


There exifted a person, not a woman or a boy, being in the firft part of life, not old, of St John’s* who wifhed to – the large water-fowl, that have along and very straight neck, and are very white, excepting when they are young (their legs and feet being black, as are their bills, which are like that of a goofe, but fomething rounder, and a little hooked at the lower ends, the two fides below their eyes being black and fhining like ebony).

In consequence of this he moved step by step to the one that had charge of the gate, who pronounced: “Poffefs and enjoy my female offspring! The large water-fowl, that have a long and very straight neck, and are very white, excepting when they are young (their legs and feet being black, as are their bills, which are like that of a goofe, but fometimes rounder, and a little hooked at the lower ends, the two fides below their eyes being black and fhining like ebony) are kept in ftore, laid up for a future time, for the fake of the gentlemen with Spanish titles.”

*A college of Cambridge University


Source Well it amused me....

8 comments:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

A real gem for sure ;-)

James Higham said...

Y-e-e-e-e-s, an acquired taste, methinks.

Stephanie, Mama Dramatist said...

Ouch.

jams o donnell said...

Glad it had a reaction!

Eunoia said...

Actually, in the UK, all swans are owned (sic!) by the Crown ;-)

jams o donnell said...

Hmm which makes this treason!

A Free Man said...

Love these! I'm trying to work out the original, is it something like:

"There once was a young man from St. Johns,
Who wanted to bugger some swans,
So he went to the ????
?????????
The swans are reserved for the Dons."

Come on, fill me in!

jams o donnell said...

I think it;s something like He went to the water, but was told by a porter