A Clerihew is a four-line comic poem with a rigid rhyming scheme, aabb, but no metric requirements. This poetic form was invented by E. C. (Edmund Clerihew) Bentley (1875–1956), British humorist and author. Bentley’s Clerihews always began with the name of a famous person or character to create a rhyming challenge. The remaining three lines “roasted” the figure, sometimes in a historical context. If Bentley hoped he was inventing a poetic form to replace the limerick, he was unsuccessful, since most anesthesiologists have never heard of a Clerihew. I became aware of them when I was loaned a delightful book entitled The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram.1  Below are six Clerihews that I composed about individuals who played a significant role in the early history of chloroform anesthesia. With each is a reference pertinent to the Clerihew so that this collection could serve as a basis for an anesthesia history journal club.

Robert Mortimer Glover

Could never get over

Getting little praise

For his dog days.2 

James Young Simpson

Would have turned crimson

If one were to suggest

Ether was the best.3 

Francis Brodie Imlach

Was the first to extract

Without pain a dentist’s tooth

After neighbor Simpson’s proof.4 

Jane Carstairs,

First of the OB dares,

Christened daughter Wilhelmina

Whom Simpson named Anesthesia.5 

Hannah Greener,

A healthy fifteener,

Earned unwanted fame

When chloroform was the blame.6 

John Snow

Was able to show

Precision is required

When chloroform is inspired.7 

References

1.
Ingram
P
:
The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram
.
North Liberty, IA
,
Ice Cube Press LLC
,
2014
2.
Defalque
RJ
,
Wright
AJ
:
The short, tragic life of Robert M. Glover.
Anaesthesia
2004
;
59
:
394
400
3.
Simpson
JY
:
On a new anaesthetic agent, more efficient than sulphuric ether.
Lancet
1847
;
2
:
549
50
4.
Francis Brodie Imlach
:
Wikipedia.
Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Brodie_Imlach. Accessed January 1, 2019
5.
Defalque
RJ
,
Wright
AJ
:
The myth of baby “Anaesthesia.”
Anesthesiology
2009
;
111
:
682
6.
Knight
PR
3rd
,
Bacon
DR
:
An unexplained death: Hannah Greener and chloroform.
Anesthesiology
2002
;
96
:
1250
3
7.
Ramsay
MAE
,
John Snow
MD
:
Anaesthetist to the Queen of England and pioneer epidemiologist.
Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent)
2006
;
19
:
24
8