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National Amateur Press Association
Monthly Bundle Sample, Leather or Prunella 10, February 2000, p.1

Worth makes the man, and want of it, the fellow.
     The rest is all but leather or prunella.

      —Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, IV, 203-204

Whole No. 10. Published by Ken Faig, Glenview, Illinois, for the NAPA Bundle. This issue dated 02/2000.


The clerihew is a form of verse defined by Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as "a light verse quatrain rhyming aabb and usually dealing with a person named in the initial rhyme." The verse form is named for detective novelist Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), who is generally credited with its invention. Bentley's first published collection of clerihews, Biography for Beginners, was originally published by T. Werner Laurie in London in October 1905, in a much-reprinted edition illustrated by G. K. Chesterton. The collection begins with Bentley's classic clerihew:
      Sir Christopher Wren
      Said, "I am going to dine with some men,
      "If anybody calls
      "Say I am designing St. Paul's."
A lesser-known clerihew by Harvard poet David McCord deals with another architect, Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942), who designed the home office building of New England Life in Boston:
      Ralph Adams Cram
      One morning said damn
      And designed the Urn Burial
      For a concern actuarial.

You can see that the clerihew has the potential of a lot of fun—and usually very little malice. While working on Edith Miniter the other day, I was pleased to notice a poem of hers, first published in the "Advertisements" column of The Hub Club Quill for April 1902, which on first impression strikes one as an example of this obscure poetic form:
      Mr. James Ferdinand Morton
      The question constantly thought on,
      As to whether 'twere best
      This existing out west
      Or to come back and LIVE here in Boston.


    Last updated: 04/02/2000