Limericks croisés : Once a Mother Professor and Daughter
for Farid & Zafir
Once (a) Mother Professor and Daughter
Came to Paris to see a Poet Mister
He took them on a lope
From Opera* to Procope*
Till their feet got thicker with blister
He took them to see Doctor Goethe :
Said Devil was shooting thorns from Under
They went to Mephisto*
To calm down their sore toe
« Une belle épine du pied , Mister »
« Vous m’enlevez »,* said learned Mother.
« How can we repay you », said Daughter.
« Not a care, I dare hope,
I’ll take you to Procope. »
The bill for trout, veg-dish and butter
Came to more than what they could then pay.
« Don’t give us this ol’ Napoléon lay !
You’re not wearing Bicorne*! »
« Yes, but for Devil’s thorn ! »
« Leave us your Mephisto shoes or pray ! »
So Mind-Full Poet took them upstair(s)
To prostrate long at Table Voltaire*
Philosopher weighed plea
Said : « This Poet like Me ! »
Mephisto shoes freed from Procope lair !
• Opéra : The National Academy of Music in Paris where ballets are still performed ; opera performances having been moved to the new concert hall in the Place de la Bastille.
• Procope : One of the oldest cafés in Paris, founded in 1686 (and opened in 1689) by a Sicillian whose Frenchified name was « Procope », at 13, rue de la Comédie Française, Paris-75006.
• Mephisto(pheles) : In Goethe’s play : Faust, one of the principal devils. Happens to be a brand name for shoes under the pretexte that it is better to have the Devil under-foot rather than in the boudoir.
• « Vous m’enlevez une belle épine du pied » : French for, according to Collins (bi-lingue) Dictionary : « You have got
me out of a spot. » Literally means : « You have extracted a painful thorn from (the sole of) my foot. »
• Bicorne : two-cornered hat
• Napoléon lay : Napoléon as a young officer is supposed to have left his « bicorne » hat as a pledge for the meals he ate there and could not settle with cash. The hat is displayed in a glass case at the entrance till this day, for the future emperor had far more interesting things to do – like conquering a continent – and could not take the time off to reclaim it.
* Voltaire : The great French philosopher, author of the satirical
novel : Candide, became a Freemason just four months
before his demise. He was a frequent visitor to the Procope,
and his table is still displayed on the first floor of the
café-restaurant at the top of the ornate stairway.
The décor of the place is preserved exactly as it was realised in 1835.
© T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013