Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3651 Set by Margaret Rogers

We asked for verses entirely composed of lines from famous poems or songs.

Report by Ms de Meaner

I enjoyed these. I particularly liked it when you (Peter Lyon) jumped from Sir Walter Raleigh straight to Pete Seeger. Delicious! However, some of you took too many short cuts. I name John O'Byrne (every single line from a Shakespeare sonnet); John Bovis (three lines from "The Love-Song of J Alfred Prufrock"; three from "The Charge of the Light Brigade"; two lines from "The Pied Piper of Hamlin"; and two from "The Definition of Love"); and Ann Atkinson (the lines were fine, although, as she admitted, "I have made some slight changes [my italics]" - hmm). £20 to the winners; hon menshes to Henry Hogge, Anne Du Croz, D A Prince, Derek Morgan, Ian Birchall and G M Davis - all of whom I was sad to lose. The vouchers go to Will Bellenger for keeping unwaveringly to his subject matter.

Art thou a man of purple cheer?

Drink! for you know not whence you came, or why:

To see the rate you drink your beer

Is to doubt a fit reply.

Ye thought? Ye are not paid to think.

Then hasten to be drunk, the business of the day:

The only hope is the next drink,

Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway.

There is no drinking after death:

'Tis all in vain to hold thy tongue

And impulse! - borne away with every breath,

Forever panting and forever young.

A tankard of home-brewed inviting ale:

Such hope, I know not fear -

I die! I faint! I fail

Beyond the muddy ecstasies of beer.

I am that which began,

With his memories in a trunk -

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can:

A man may drink and not be drunk.

Will Bellenger

Wordsworth, Edward Fitzgerald, Housman, Blake, Kipling, Dryden, Lowry, Gray, Fletcher, Charles Wesley, Byron, Keats, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Tennyson, Shelley, George Crabbe, Swinburne, Bob Dylan, Sir Walter Scott, Burns

'Twas brillig and the slithy toves

The droghte of March had perced to the rote.

I met a girl who sang the blues:

"We two", she said "will seek the groves

Beside remote Shalott."

And all the stars were shining bright -

We skipped the light fandango

And frollicked, in the autumn mist.

I thank the Lord that I've been bless'd -

I could have danced all night.

She taught me how to yodel,

It's easy if you try.

It made the children laugh and play -

How I long for yesterday!

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes . . .

She took me to her elfin grot

And sang to a small guitar:

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot . . .

Knowing me, knowing you - ah haa . . ."

David Silverman

Lewis Carroll, Chaucer, Don McLean, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Tennyson, Phil Spector, Procul Harum, Lenny Lipton, Ken Dodd, Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Ifield, John Lennon, Sarah Josepha Hale, Paul McCartney, Lennon & McCartney, Keats, Edward Lear, Burns, Shakespeare, Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson & Bjorn Ulvaeus (Abba)

Yes, I remember Addlestrop -

Black-gowned, unbreakfasted, and still half-tight,

Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,

I leant upon a coppice gate.

The swaying sound of the sea.

Sixteen short howls, not over loud;

On the tongue on the eyes on the ears on the palms of one's hands -

When all at once I saw a crowd,

and littered grass: then the long cry,

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been,

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth.

Go fetch me a pint o' wine.

They fell from me, that sometime did me seek,

Casting a dim religious light.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

But it must never, never come in sight.

Geoff Thurman

Edward Thomas, Larkin, Hood, Hardy, Auden, Coleridge, Louis MacNeice, Wordsworth, Larkin, Keats, Shakespeare, Burns, Thomas Wyatt, Milton, Yeats, Alice Meynell

Under a spreading chestnut-tree

Twice or thrice had I loved thee.

But she is in her grave, and, oh,

Wastes beyond, wastes below!

I am quite sure she felt no pain.

I wish I were in love again,

My staff of faith to walk upon.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Let me to thy bosom fly

Under the wide and starry sky,

High as a flag on the Fourth of July.

She's the Broad and I'm the High.

So runs my dream, but what am I?

Dig the grave, and let me lie:

And shall do, till the last good-night -

An infant crying for the light.

Peter Lyon

Longfellow, Donne, Wordsworth, Emily Bronte, Robert Browning, Lorenz Hart, Sir Walter Raleigh, Pete Seeger, Wesley, Stevenson, Oscar Hammerstein II, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, Tennyson, Stevenson, Thomas Love Peacock, Tennyson

No 3654 Set by George Cowley

As Boris Johnson (Spectator) recently said: "You know where you are with a cliche." Indeed. We want a weighty editorial from a daily newspaper with at least one cliche per line: the more the better. Max 200 words and in by 9 November.

This article first appeared in the 30 October 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Divorce your husband and watch him get rich