Gelett Burgess

1866 - 1951

"The Purple Cow" must be the best-known bit of doggerel ever published, but in the strange way that great success can sometimes work, it pushed just about everything else that Mr Burgess ever wrote into the shadows ... as Gelett understood all too well, allegedly prompting him to pen:

Yes, I wrote The Purple Cow
I'm sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it.

"Dighton is Engaged" is an example of some of his finer work. Strangely, Google couldn't get any hits for "Dighton is Engaged" -- and Google is pretty good! -- except for appeals I posted years ago to newsgroups enquiring about it. But the last time I asked, Hugh Clary, who posts to a number of newsgroups including alt.arts.limericks and alt.jokes.limericks, gave me a pointer. So here it is:

Dighton is engaged!

Dighton is engaged! Think of it and tremble!
Two-and-twenty ladies who have known him must dissemble;
Two-and-twenty ladies in a panic must repeat,
"Dighton is a gentleman; will Dighton be discreet?"
All the merry maidens who have known him at his best
Wonder what the girl is like, and if he has confessed.
Dighton the philanderer, will he prove a slanderer?
A man gets confidential ere the honeymoon has sped --
Dighton was a rover then, Dighton lived in clover then;
Dighton is a gentleman -- but Dighton is to wed!

Dighton is engaged! Think of it, Corinna!
Watch and see his fiancée smile on you at dinner!
Watch and hear his fiancée whisper, "That's the one?"
Try and raise a blush for what you said was "only fun".
Long have you been wedded; have you then forgot?
If you have, I'll venture that a certain man has not!
Now that dream is over and the episode is dead.
Dighton never harried you after Charlie married you;
Dighton is a gentleman -- but Dighton is to wed!

Dighton is engaged! Think of it, Bettina!
Did you ever love him when the sport was rather keener?
Did you ever kiss him as you sat upon the stairs?
Did you ever tell him of your former love affairs?
Think of it uneasily and wonder if his wife
Soon will know the amatory secrets of your life!
Dighton was impressible, you were quite accessible --
The bachelor who marries late is apt to lose his head.
Dighton wouldn't hurt you; does it disconcert you?
Dighton is a gentleman -- But Dighton is to wed!

Dighton is engaged! Tremble, Mrs. Alice!
When he comes no longer will you bear the lady malice?
Now he comes to dinner, and he smokes cigars with Clint,
But he never makes a blunder and he never drops a hint;
He's a universal uncle, with a welcome everywhere,
He adopts his sweetheart's children and he lets 'em pull his hair.
Dighton has a memory bright and sharp as emery,
He could tell them fairy stories that would make you rather red!
Dighton can be trusted, though; Dighton's readjusted, though!
Dighton is a gentleman -- but Dighton is to wed!