"King Alfred Burning the Cakes" by David Wilkie‘Alfred the Great’ and Other Limericks by Peter Hartley The Society October 12, 2021 Culture, Humor, Limerick, Poetry 25 Comments . Alfred the Great Alfred the Great was a shy king Who found it not much to his liking __Making do with cornflakes __‘Cos he’d burned all the cakes While hiding his face from the Viking. __ Sweyn Forkbeard It is said that Sweyn Forkbeard Would frequently walk weird. __His lumbering limp __Made him look like the wimp The lusty old Bishop of York feared. __ Æthelread the Unready Æthelread the Unready Often felt rather heady. __Territorial gains __From his war with the Danes Left him moderately flushed and unsteady. __ King Canute King Canute entered into dispute With his courtiers hot in pursuit. __No matter, the tide __Was to shatter their pride And refute his omnipotent repute. . . Peter Hartley is a retired painting restorer. He was born in Liverpool and lives in Manchester, UK. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 25 Responses Joe Tessitore October 12, 2021 Good work! Shy king/ liking/Viking is exceptional! Reply Peter Hartley October 12, 2021 Ravi – Thank you for the comment. Either that heady mix or the poor vodka has a lot to answer for. Reply Ravi Choks October 12, 2021 Nice ones Mr. Hartley. Would like to add some more spice to the heady mix. Bloody Mary Didn’t want to get blackened at fiery stake So chanted her name to keep me awake I saw fear in mirror’s eyes Now thousand piece it comprise Blame icy Russians for poor vodka make. Reply Peter Hartley October 12, 2021 Joe – Thank you for the kind comment, but I’m glad he wasn’t King William of Orange. Reply James A. Tweedie October 12, 2021 Peter, these limericks serve as a witty appetizer to whet palates for more since they assume readers know as much about these characters as you do! Not surprisingly, I didn’t know that Sweyn (Sven?) Forkbeard had a limp or, more important than that, I didn’t know who he was at all. As for Æthelread, besides having the coolest last name in history, wouldn’t it be great if a few parents gave that name to their child and insisted that it be spelled and formatted correctly? “This is my son, Æth.” You have also succeeded in enabling my dream of being better able to multi-task insofar as I am 1. reading your limericks, 2. scratching my head, and 3. laughing all at the same time. Thank you for that. Reply Peter Hartley October 12, 2021 James – I only make the assumption that Sweyn Forkbeard had a limp because he accidentally had both his kneecaps shot off in a motorcycle accident in 1013AD. As you probably know “unready” means poorly counselled or ill-advised. As to multi- tasking if I lie on my back I am able to breathe, sleep and snore all at the same time, oh! and juggle four bananas. Thank you for the kind comments. Reply Paul Freeman October 12, 2021 Very nicely done, Peter. I, too, was unaware of Sweyn Forkbeard and the Bish. If I may: Though Alfred the Great ruled a nation, He caused one old hag consternation; For her cakes, which he watched, Got entirely botched On the stove in a mass conflagration. Thanks for the entertaining reads. Reply Peter Hartley October 12, 2021 Paul – Thank you for the kind comment and, particularly, for the incendiary poem. King Edward the Elder From the moment he beheld her Shared exactly the views Of his twenty-stone wife Eadgifu’s. King Æthelstan’s Unacceptably murderous plans Involved spearing Saint Cuthbert On the point of his halbert. Reply Paul Freeman October 12, 2021 Aha! So we’re going down the Clerihew route! The Briton, Queen Boudicca, The Roman centurions called a moody cur, to which, with a screech and a frown, she got in her chariot and mowed them all down. Peter Hartley October 12, 2021 Paul – you don’t know how pleased I am that you brought up the issue. King Edward the Martyr, His claim to the throne a non-starter, Only wanted a life without hassle But was sadly killed at Corfe Castle. King Edmund Ironside Was glorified countrywide, And was better known for his valour Than his thanatognomonic pallor. King Edward the Confessor’s Comedo expressers left his mirrors less reflective And consequently less effective. Hereward the Wake took umbrage At outcasts from Cambridge But associated more freely With exiles from Ely. Reply Paul A. Freeman October 13, 2021 Thank you for ‘thanatognomonic’! And… Ethel the Woke claimed she misspoke. She wanted headlights on bikes, not heads high on spikes. Reply Peter Hartley October 13, 2021 Paul – An immensely useful word it is, particularly since it has a silent G slap bang in the middle. Ethel the Woke at a stroke (Though folk spoke of her as a joke) Would forsake her beefcake And take Hereward the Wake Till a poke proved he wasn’t a bloke. Jeff Eardley October 12, 2021 Peter, “Forkbeard,” “walk weird” and “York feared” is so delightfully, breathtakingly bonkers. Thank you for a huge chuckle today. Reply Peter Hartley October 13, 2021 Jeff – Sweyn really was a king of England, the first Danish one, though he only lasted from 1013 to 1014 and his life was made a misery by all the revolting peasants. I can’t vouch for the limp though. Thank you for your splendid comment. Reply Jeff Eardley October 13, 2021 Peter, I have just noticed a range of gentleman’s shaving products under the brand name of “Sweyn Forkbeard” I wonder if if you give some as a gift on Christmas Day, to a revolting peasant, it will last just five weeks…a bit like Sweyn’s reign? Peter Hartley October 13, 2021 Jeff – Dedicating a range of gentlemen’s shaving products to Sweyn Forkbeard sounds a bit like honouring the name of Orwell’s Napoleon with a set of giant pig-castrating shears. Swine Forkbeard never shaved in his life, being far too busy with his revolting peasants. Reply Jeff Eardley October 13, 2021 Peter, just a word to say that Chieftains founder, Paddy Moloney, passed away today. He was an amazing bundle of energy. Best wishes to you and thanks for the smiles today. Reply Peter Hartley October 13, 2021 Jeff – Thank you for that information and it is sad to think he will no longer be around. To me he always looked old, but that is only because he was so much older than me, but his age was always belied by his incredible energy. A great loss to the world of Irish music and I particularly like the sound of instruments that, like the hurdy-gurdy and the Northumbrian and Highland pipes, always sound good on their own because they have their own drones. Susan Jarvis Bryant October 16, 2021 Peter, this set of hilarious limericks are not only entertaining – they’re a lesson in spot-on rhyming skills that show just how significant the right end rhymes are when writing humorous poetry. You have nailed it! I hope there are more uproarious limericks to come. Reply Peter Hartley October 17, 2021 Susan – These four are from a set of ten poems called Anglo-Saxon Chronicles but the other six, scattered among my responses to comments, were all clerihews as opposed to limericks. But I have a lot more of both that I have composed in the last couple of months with some more Cs coming up before the end of the year I hope. Thank you very much for your very kind comments, from somebody who knows all about the importance of good end-rhymes in any poetry, whether it is miserable (and just wait for my next one which reaches the absolute pits) or humorous, but particularly so when you are trying to be funny. I am reminded of a clerihew quoted by Bruce Dale Wise in these pages which really must take the biscuit: “Steady the Greeks!” Shouted Æschylus. / “We won’t let such dogs as these kill us!” / Nothing, he thought, could be bizarre than / The Persians winning at Marathon. For contorted rhyme I think that would be very difficult to beat (unless you know better!) Reply Peter Hartley October 19, 2021 I meant “bizzarer than”, not “bizarre than” Margaret Coats October 18, 2021 Peter, while this discussion seems British-oriented, there is certainly great limerick opportunity around the world, considering all the place names and personal names that beg for suitably amusing rhymes. You have me thinking! Reply Peter Hartley October 19, 2021 Margaret – I’m really looking forward to the reguerdons (I really do believe I came out with a bit of Old French there – known to me only because it is English as well) of your labours in the near future. The following is vaguely right up your street I think: John Gower Would glower and turn sour When his “Confessio Amantis” Was lost in Atlantis. Reply Margaret Coats October 19, 2021 Peter, none of us could hold a rhyming candle to Gower himself. Put his name in our SCP search bar at the upper right above the Trending column, and you’ll find my translation of some marriage poems by him. Notice the last stanza of originals, and you will see him rhyme 8 lines in a row with the same sound, AND put an internal rhyme in each line, for a total of 16 rhymes on that sound in the space of 8 lines! As you’ll see, my translation could only manage eight. Reply Peter Hartley October 20, 2021 Margaret – first of all many thanks indeed for telling me how to find references by putting single words into that grey box! I had not seen that translation of yours when I posted my John Gower clerihew to you. He had a much easier job writing his epithalamia than you did in the translation though, and was well advised to write it in Latin, with its identical genitive plural suffixes (?). I could find myself quite jealous of Petrarch for making it so much easier to write an Italian sonnet in Italian than it is to write one in English! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.