Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light


My Facebook friend (and friend) Ruth Dudley Edwards said she needed a four line humorous poem and couldn't think of any. This made me remember the following, though I should have been working. 

You may know them all. They are not obscure.

The first two are anonymous.

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust hath the just's umbrella

Oh, see the happy moron;
He doesn't give a damn.
I wish I were a moron.
My God, perhaps I am.

My father loved to recite this. It turns out not to be anonymous  but to have a history.
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

And my favourite:

Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light
Himself. It struck him dead:
And serve him right!It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.

Belloc never lets you down. Whether you are 7, 17 or, I imagine, 77.

Here is more from him.

Here richly, with ridiculous display,
The Politician's corpse was laid away.
While all of his acquaintance sneered and slanged
I wept: for I had longed to see him hanged

I was strongly reminded of that at Ted Kennedy's funeral, as of this:

The Politician, dead and turned to clay,
Will make a clout to keep the wind away.
I am not fond of draughts, and yet I doubt
If I could get myself to touch that clout.

Everyone knows this.

The accursed power which stands on Privilege
(And goes with Women, and Champagne, and Bridge)
Broke - and Democracy resumed her reign:
(Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).

This is AP Herbert.
As my poor father used to say
In 1863,
Once people start on all this Art
Goodbye, moralitee!

And Wendy Cope

Some people like sex more than others -
You seem to like it a lot.
There's nothing wrong with being innocent or high minded
But I'm glad you're not.

Finally, my father was always reciting this to me when I was a boy, particularly when he poked the fire.

Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,

Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;

Now, although the room grows chilly,

I haven't the heart to poke poor Billy.


  1. Alfred de Musset
    Called his cat a Pusset.
    His accent was affected.
    But that was only to be expected.

  2. Ogden Nash. A Word To Husbands.

    To keep your marriage brimming
    With love in the loving cup,
    Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
    Whenever you’re right, shut up.

  3. Is propriety...
    What piety's for?
    Bible on the table,
    Liquor in the drawer.

  4. Ogden Nash: Reflections On Ice-Breaking
    Candy is dandy,
    But liquor is quicker.

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    1. A woman whose face is covered in paint
      Has an advantage with me over one whose ain't.

  6. Which reminds me of Yip Harburg:

    When I'm not near the girl I love
    I love the girl I'm near.

  7. Big fleas have little fleas,
    Upon their backs to bite 'em,
    And little fleas have lesser fleas,
    and so, ad infinitum.