A Balliol rhyme is a doggerel verse form with a distinctive meter. They are quatrains consisting of two pairs of rhyming couplets, each line having four beats. The first couplet contains the name of a particular individual, and the second couplet usually elaborates on that person's character or exploits or weaknesses.
Balliol rhymes are almost always about a person. They are four lines long and the rhyme scheme is usually a-a-b-b. They are not to be confused with Clerihews.
- First come I. My name is J-w-tt.
- There's no knowledge but I know it.
- I am Master of this College,
- What I don't know isn't knowledge.
About George Nathaniel Curzon:
- My name is George Nathaniel Curzon,
- I am a most superior person.
- My cheeks are pink, my hair is sleek,
- I dine at Blenheim twice a week.
About the building of the Athenaeum Club (it does not follow the AABB rhyme scheme):
- I'm John Wilson Croker,
- I do as I please;
- Instead of an Ice House
- I give you - a frieze!
- Walter George Hiscock: "The Balliol rhymes".
- The Times, Monday, Aug 30, 1954; pg. 7; Issue 53023; col F
- Balliol Rhymes J. A. VENN.; CYRIL BAILEY. Balliol College, Oxford, Aug. 28.. Category: Letters to the Editor