Pirate Clerihews

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A "clerihew" is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley.

A clerihew has the following properties:

  • It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it pokes fun at mostly 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 rhyme, including the use of phrases in Latin, French and other non-English Languages
  • The first line contains, and may consist solely of, the subject's name.

Clerihews are not satirical or abusive, but they target famous individuals and reposition them in an absurd, anachronistic or commonplace setting, often giving them an over-simplified and slightly garbled description. The unbalanced and unpolished poetic meter and line length parody the limerick, and the clerihew in form also parodies the eulogy.

Here's an example of a pirate clerihew, written by yours truly -

Edward Teach

Left his body on the beach

But his black beard and his frown

Are off to Hampton town.

Try your hand at one of these and it may become famous. I am always looking for new pirate-themed material to use in one of the Seadog Slam shows. If the Pub can come up with a couple more, maybe I'll use this as a sight-reading round.

Here's another -

Henry Avery

Tried all kinds of knavery

But he gave the world a slip

After taking just one moghul ship!

Your turn . . .

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The Edward Teach clerihew is clever.

William Kidd

into the sweet trade slid

then fell into their trapping

and hung in chains at Wapping

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Jose Gaspar

Was a crooked old tar

Never caught by the fuzz

because he never was

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Raphael Mission

Was apt at decision

He could bleed you til pale

and then return for the ale

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Black Bartholomew Roberts

With his cup o' tea and gold cross

Was quite the daring rover

Till they caught his crew hungover

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