Well, stone the crows. I published this post on August 15; and a book has just come out with collected limericks by Anglophone members of the bishops at Vatican II. It contains the first of the limericks below (bowdlerised), and the claim is made that it was written by an anonymous Council Father. It wasn't. It was in a volume published in 1959 by Dr Mascall. and, incidentally, copyrighted by him. The book was entitled Pi in the High because Mascall began his academic life as a Cambridge Mathematician, later becoming an Oxford Anglican Theologian.
This brings out the latent Anglican still within me ... bl**dy papists ... plagiarists ... can't even write their own limericks ... can't even give credit where credit is due ...
The new volume is from the admirable Arouca Press, in conjunction with Douai Abbey. A Limerickal Commentary on the Second Vatican Council. I cordially recommend it, but add a warning that it is not very tightly proof-read. Despite the claim that it has been reproduced carefully from a typescript, there are typos which I suspect are not due to the original: e.g. page 35 suet and rues. Although three people are named as having helped with the Latin, there are peculiarities such as printing the Latin diphthong oe as a u with an acute accent over it (but not consistently): pp 15 and 37. And all the footnotes from 21 onwards are misnumbered.
Now follows my original post of August 15.
There was an old priest of Dun Laoghaire
Who stood on his head for the Kaoghaire.
When his people asked why
He explained it all by
The latest liturgical thaoghaire.
What's that you say? That you're a Platonist rather than a liturgist? Excellent! You'll get into heaven far sooner. And perhaps you'll like this one better:
To Plato I said, "Tell me, P,
What are those pink rats that I see?"
With a soupcon of pride
He politely replied,
"Ta metaxu tou ontos kai me."
Two limericks by the Reverend Canon Professor Dr E L Mascall, 1905-1993. In the first of them, readers whose minds delight in impropriety will be easily able to devise varias lectiones, variant manuscript readings for the first five words of line 2.
I am not anti-Irish. Many of my best ... er ... Of course, if one preferred to read 'Kingstown' the textual disturbance would be greater.
Mascall was ahead of his time in suggesting that liturgical improprieties may be more characteristic of elderly than of younger clergy.
Superb! Mind you, Gaelic spelling (both the Scots and Irish varieties) does rather lend itself to this sort of orthographic punning. The only English equivalent that immediately comes to mind relies on conventional abbreviations rather than spelling, but it's still delightful:
There was a young curate of Salisbury
Whose manners were quite halisbury-scalisbury.
He ran around Hampshire
Without any pampshire
Till his vicar compelled him to walisbury.
I was born in Dún Laoghaire and that Limerick has always delighted me. Although it only works with the standard English mis-pronunciation of the name. I seem to remember seeing a photo of Mascall in Dun Laoghaire waiting for the boat to Holyhead; shows he nelonged to the quality, not going to the North Wall.
NB Mascall had his Irish fans - Fr James McEvoy always liked to recite the Platonic limerick, and his old boss +++Cahal Daly compiled a complete collection of everything that Mascall ever published!
Dear Father, I note that you warn us that "A Limerickal Commentary" is not very tightly proof read. I have in my library a volume entitled, "The Original and True Rheims New Testament",(1998), prepared and edited by Dr William G. von Peters PhD.The very first word of the volume reads: FORWARD, clearly a mistake for FOREWORD. I never bothered to read any further.
In a lull at the Council in Rome,
For relief, a bored bish penned a poem.
The prelatical rascal
Stole the text from Pa Mascall,
But a blog dished the dirt. That’ll show ’im.
Is ‘Pi in the High’ still in print?
The Ultra Catholic is still to be found.
The typos are regrettable, and are almost all due to my using a typeface different to the designer, and the change in font did not always see certain glyphs reproduced correctly. The numbering of the notes has already been corrected in copies now being printed. It certainly does reinforce the value of a good proofreader.
The attribution to Mascall of the first limerick I discovered after I had submitted the text. I shall look into this and in any future edition I may add a note to acknowledge the variant attribution. My focus had been to identify the context for each limerick, not verify the authenticity of the attributions in Archbishop Dwyer's typescript.
I hasten to add to my previous that the copy Fr Hunwicke received was a pre-publication copy, most of the typos of which were corrected for the published edition.
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