Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chinoise béribéri goutte, forsooth

That previous post reminded me of the words by Swansea poet Nigel Jenkins which one can sing at rugby matches to make it look as though one knows the Welsh national anthem:

My hen laid a haddock, one hand oiled a flea,
Glad farts and centurions threw dogs in the sea,
I could stew a hare here and brandish Dan's flan,
Don's ruddy bog's blocked up with sand.
Dad! Dad! Why don't you oil Auntie Glad?
Can whores appear in beer bottle pies,
O butter the hens as they fly!

Then there is the wonderful "d'Antin Manuscript" by Luis d'Antin van Rooten, aka "Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Râmes" . This is supposedly a collection of medieval French lays, which just happen, when read aloud, to sound like English nursery rhymes. A few good ones are linked here. The funniest thing is the deadpan footnotes.

My personal favourite (not available at the link) is

Amboise élite gueule, chic à d'élite écoeure-le
Ratine démis de l'eau va fort raide.
Oing chinoise goutte, chinoise béribéri goutte
Beau douane chinoise batte, j'y vais au rides

1. The poet reveals his feelings quite clearly anent the élite. He finds their elegance disgusting and their red clothing with a high nap stiff and uncomfortable. Their taste for Oriental ointments, fancied exotic maladies and childish attempts to smuggle their purchases makes him grow old before his time. The high moral tone of these fragments precludes the assumption that it might be just envy.

Compare Horace's "Persicos odi, puer, apparatus........."


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