[Ads-l] More on Niger

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 22 16:19:04 EDT 2017


Fred has an entry for the "Niger" version of the limerick in "The Yale
Book of Quotations". He mentions the common attribution to Cosmo
Monkhouse and gives an 1891 citation.

Here is a citation for the "Riga" version of the limerick from a
temperance speech in January 1887 in Northern Ireland.

Date: January 12, 1887
Newspaper: The Northern Whig
County: Antrim, Northern Ireland
Article: Public Meeting in the Ulster Hall
Quote Page 7, Column 5
Database: British Newspaper Archive

[Begin excerpt]
When he thought of England and the drink traffic as carried on at
present, he was reminded of nursery verse which was quoted on a
platform recently in another connection--

There was a young lady of Riga,
Who went out for a ride a tiger.
They came back from that ride
With the lady inside,
And smile on the face of the tiger.

(Laughter.) That was an illustration of what would follow if the
British people tampered much longer with the drink question, playing
with the monster which was only waiting the opportunity to devour
them. (Hoar, hear.)
[End excerpt]

Below is a citation in a London periodical for the "Niger" version in
April 1887.

Date: April 1, 1887
Periodical: The Democrat
Periodical Location; London
Volume 4, Number 101
Article: (Short Untitled Piece)
Quote Page 175
Database: HathiTrust

https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015066915813
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015066915813?urlappend=%3Bseq=181

[Begin excerpt]
Therefore, the Tory policy is bayonets and bullets. But, as Lamb used
to say of Coleridge's philosophy, it's only their fun. Heroics are
good in after-dinner talk. Sensible men remember the history of the
Tory party and laugh. The Tory party, endeavouring to over-ride
Ireland, is like—"

"The young lady of Niger,
Who went out for a ride on a tiger;
They returned from that ride
With the lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger."
[End excerpt]

Below is another "Niger" instance in a North Carolina newspaper in May 1887:

Date: May 6, 1887
Newspaper: The North Carolina Prohibitionist
Newspaper Location: Archdale, North Carolina
Article: Total Abstinence or Moderation
Quote Page 4, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Canon Wilberforce in a late address, warned the church of England
Temperance Society that if it did not abandon its "double basis" (two
pledges, one total abstinence the other "moderation"), the tiger, the
drink traffic, would prove too powerful for them, and their fate would
be similar to that of

"The daring young lady of Niger.
Who went for a ride on a tiger;
They returned from that ride
With the young lady inside,
And a smile on the face of the tiger."
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Except Riga is pronounced "Reega."
>
> But maybe the mispronunciation is part of the fun, or dates from the heyday
> of anglicizing furrin words.
>
> So maybe the same goes for Niger/tiger.
>
> Or maybe "NYE-jur" was thought close enough to "TYE-gur" for limerick use.
>
> Makes my head hurt.
>
> PS: Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon correspondent, says "Nye-ZHEER-iun."
> Probably not the best choice.
>
> JL
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list