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Just when I was thinking that I really needed a tactic to drive readers away from my column in droves, I got an e-mail from Eileen Mattingly, daring me to rewrite old jokes as Elizabethan sonnets.

- - -

A minister, a rabbi, and a priest

Went golfing once, not very long ago

Irate they soon became, to say the least:

The foursome just ahead was far too slow.

The clerics asked a keeper of the green

To prod the dawdlers, if he wouldn't mind.

The keeper, though, declared the act too mean

As each man in the group ahead was blind.

Quite mortified, the minister then vowed

That from the pulpit, blind golf he would praise.

"I'll pass the plate," the noble priest allowed,

So for blind golf, some riches he would raise.

The rabbi, too, had thoughts about what's right:

"Why can't these people play the game at night?"

- - -

A man of feeble mind and childish thought

Awakes to face the dawn one day with hope,

For overnight, while dreaming, he had wrought

A plan to show the world he's not a dope.

"I might lack brains and smarts and all that stuff,

And am considered oafish, and a lout.

But I can practice science, sure enough.

And do experiments to find things out."

Arising from the bed in which he lay,

To show the world he wasn't just a jerk,

He boldly seized an object - and the day!

And put his clever theory right to work.

The clock went out the window, and here's why:

"Because," he said, "I got to see time fly."

- - -

Nantucket was the home of Richard Wills

A fisherman of fine and hearty stock

Known far and wide, and not just for his skills

But also for his tendency to shock.

In most regards, in stature he was apt,

But part of him did mayhem so portend,

That the ladies stayed away! Still, he'd adapt

'Cause he could be his very own best friend.

He often joked his life was doubly tough:

Anatomy had done him this affront,

For had his ear been made of diff'rent stuff

He'd have a way to pull a nifty stunt.

"See, had it been like that," he said, "then natch ...

I'd be a man who can both pitch and catch."

- - -

Upon my doorstep stood a maiden fair

Who asked if there was work that she could do.

I cast my eyes upon her yellow hair,

And felt a pang of pity, through and through.

Girls with golden ramparts at their ears

Are often curs'd by claims that they are slow.

"My porch needs paint," I said, "and has for years."

She smiled and said she'd give the job a go.

I showed her to the paint and paid her well,

And went inside, and left her all alone

'Twas not an hour ere she rang the bell

Declaring that the painting job was done.

And with a grin as big and bare as Texas,

She said, "That's not a porch, sir, it's a Lexus."

- - -

Thank you. I am also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

My friends Caitlin Gibson and Pat Myers ably assisted with scansion.

Gene Weingarten can be reached at