Competitions- Background
                The competitions below are designed to stimulate the "grey cells" at a time when Probus and other clubs cannot meet.                        
These competitions are open to members of all clubs who use the Probus Speakers Website.
                   Since the Probus Speakers Website is password protected and too complicated to open up for all members these competitions are posted
on the Glevum Probus Website (I'm a member).
 
            In 1907-08 there were a huge number of Limerick writing competitions, with an entry fee of a 6d postal order  (4.5 million sent per year).          
Generally the competitions were based on the general public writing the last line of a Limerick or writing the full verse.
I have extended the idea to writing the last line of not only a Limerick but also an Epigram (pseudo-Epitaph in this case) and a Clerihew (definitions later).
The full verse (Limerick and/or Clerihew)can include political references.
NO entry fee- send as many  entries as you like to: probus@aggleton.name
These are the minor prizes with the main ones being for writing a full Limerick or Clerihew.
Therefore there are 6 prizes:
Last Lines (3 prizes): bottles of wine (c.£10 each)
Full verses (3 prizes): bottles of champagne (c.£25 each)
 
Limerick Definition
A Limerick poem's metre is: First two lines of three “feet*” each Then a line of four “feet” divided into two Followed by another line of three “feet” Rhyming: AABBA.
* A poetic "feet" comprises a stressed and unstressed syllable.
 
Edward Lear popularised the Limerick format (but was not the originator) aiming mainly at children.
 His verse suffered from having a weak last line compared to modern versions.
A typical example, where the last line does not add significantly to the story is compared with a more modern Limerick:
There was an Old Person of Chili,
     Whose conduct was painful and silly;
He sat on the stairs
     Eating apples and pears
That imprudent Old Person of Chili.
There was an old fellow of Lympne (Lime)
Who married three wives at one time;
When asked: "Why the third?"
He replied:"One's absurd
And bigamy,sir, is a crime.
 
A famous example from Lewis Carroll is:
There was a young lady of Niger
 Who smiled as she rode a tiger;
They came back from the ride,
 With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
 
Epigram (pseudo-Epitaph) Definition
The Epigram is a witty short poem generally from two to four lines, with rhymes up to the author. Line length is also dependant on the author.
Epitaphs (especially pseudo) are a popular version of the Epigram.
An example from Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
Swans sing before they die-
 'twere no bad thing
Should certain persons die
Before they sing .

and by the same author:

What is an Epigram?
 a dwarfish whole,
 Its body brevity,
and wit its soul.
and some more modern examples:
                
                He passed the Bobby without any fuss,
    And he passed the cart of hay,
       He tried to pass a swerving bus,
And then he passed away.
Here lies the body of Mary Chowder,
           She burst while drinking a Seidlitz Powder;
She couldn't wait till it effervesced,
So now she's gone to eternal rest.
 
 
Clerihews
A Clerihew is a four line comic  verse which includes the name of a famous person in the first line
 and an indication of what they are famous for in the rest of the poem.
Line length can be vary variable (almost prose rather than verse). Rhyme is AABB.
First written in c.1890 by E. Clerihew Bentley the format is not often used but can be very funny.
Good examples from E.Clerihew Bentley are:
        
Sir Christopher Wren
        Said “I am going to dine with some men
        If anyone calls
        Say I'm designing St Paul's”
Sir Humphrey Davy,
Detested gravy.
He felt the odium
Of inventing Sodium.
   
   
 
 
Please click below to advance to the actual competitions
 
Webmaster: Dr Mike Aggleton-probus@aggleton.name