Concept

Clerihew

Summary
A clerihew (ˈklɛrᵻhjuː) is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem of a type invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem's subject, usually a famous person, and the remainder puts the subject in an absurd light or reveals something unknown or spurious about the subject. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular. Bentley invented the clerihew in school and then popularized it in books. One of his best known is this (1905): Sir Christopher Wren Said, "I am going to dine with some men. If anyone calls Say I am designing St Paul's." Form A clerihew has the following properties:
  • It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it mostly pokes fun at famous people
  • It has four lines of irregular length and metre for comic effect
  • The rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rh
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