Aleister Crowley Limericks

A book listing on the ever-useful Abebooks includes a first edition copy of Crowley’s wonderful The Winged Beetle.

What makes this copy exceptional – apart from its £5,000 asking price! – is the inclusion of three previously unpublished limericks written by Crowley as part of his inscription to the owner.

Given that each is written for one of the dedicatee’s children, they are quite enchanting.

Anyone considering the purchase of the book should be advised that I’d be more than happy to look after it on their behalf! 🙂
CROWLEY, Aleister
The Winged Beetle
Privately Printed. 1910. Octavo, pp. [2] blank, x, 228, [2] glossary. Original brown papered board, gold design and lettering to upper side, gold lettering to spine, edges rough trimmed, top edge gilt. Light even sunning to the spine, a short tear at the spine head, very light scattered foxing to fore edge and endpapers. Crowley s inscription in black ink to front endpapers and blank. An excellent copy. First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by Crowley with an original limerick for each of the three Harrison children, fifteen lines in all, signed and dated Aleister Crowley Sunday Aug 19 22 e.v. Austin Harrison was editor at the English Review, and had commissioned from Crowley the Shelley centenary article. In his Confessions Crowley describes Harrison s writing as always amazing and sometimes first-rate. This is certainly one of the longest inscriptions on any of Crowley’s books. Number 113 of 350 copies.

The original manuscript limericks read:

1) A sneezing young lady named Monica
Said: Yes, I must take a strong tonic a
Cold in the head
May turn, it is said,
To Dengue or Pestis Bubonica

2) There was a bright Spirit named Rene
Who said that the worst of the pain he
Suffered from was
Merely because
He was born so tremendously brainy

3) A young lady they called Josephine
Invented a talking machine
It met with disaster
For she could talk faster –
‘Now really, that’s awfully mean!’

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