- Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875—1956) was a British journalist who became a detective-fiction writer; his best-known novel was Trent's Last Case. But Bentley was immortalized not by his novels, but by his humorous quatrains about a person or thing that he mentions in the first line. Bentley, according to G. K. Chesterton, could "write clear and unadulterated nonsense with . . . serious simplicity."Bentley wrote the first clerihew when he was sixteen years old: "Sir Humphrey Davy/ Abominated gravy./ He lived in the odium/ Of having discovered sodium." Possibly the most well-known clerihew is "Sir Christopher Wren/ Said 'I'm going to dine with some men./ If anybody calls/ Say I'm designing St. Paul's.' "Eventually Bentley published his clerihews as a book. It included: "George the Third/ Ought never to have occurred./ One can only wonder/ At so grotesque a blunder." And: "The art of Biography/ Is different from Geography./ Geography is about Maps, / But Biography is about chaps." Another: "It was a weakness of Voltaire's/ To forget to say his prayers, / And which, to his shame, /He never overcame."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.