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The Klapphornvers is a humorous poem form with four lines that was created in Germany . It is related on the poetic level to the English Limerick (which has five lines of verse) and was created over 100 years ago.


In the humorous magazine Fliegende Blätter of July 14, 1878, the Göttingen notary Friedrich Daniel wrote a poem that was meant to be serious under the title Idylle . He sent in this attempt:

Two boys went through the grain
The other blew the key horn ,
He couldn't blow it properly
But at least he blew it to some extent.

The editor and reader of the Fliegende Blätter recognized the involuntarily comical quality of the serious submission and responded with a lively, long-lasting wave of imitations and further poetry, for example:

Two boys went through the grain
the second has lost his hat.
The first would find him
he went back instead of front.


Two boys ran through the grain
the other behind, the one in front
but nobody went in the middle
you can see from this that the third is missing.


Two boys were walking through the grain
They both went ahead.
Nobody could go behind
The air wasn't nice back there.


Two boys on the edge of the forest
they practiced somersaults
one of them never wants to succeed
to finish the somersault tree.

or, this time with girls:

Two girls ran through the tall grass
one of the panties got wet,
only the other's legs
because it wore no panties.


The clapper horn verses were often passed on orally and recited ( see also occasional poem ). Also Schobert and Black wrote (and sang) folding Horn verses and the castle Waldeck festivals known chansonnier Walter Hedemann was in the 1970s on his LP Bottom gooseberry bush brought some self-written, sung examples.


  • Quatrains with rhyme scheme [aabb].
  • In the first verse, the two characters (mostly boys) are introduced.
  • Their action or nature is described below. This creates a grotesque or bizarre comedy.


Even decades later, prominent authors and poets such as Christian Morgenstern or Karl Valentin followed the form :

Two boys climbed a tree
They wanted to smack apples;
At the top it became clear to them
That that was a flagpole.

As well as the somewhat common:

Two boys were walking through the grain.
Both of them went ahead.
Nobody wanted to go back
because in the back the air wasn't nice.

Folding horn verses are still made today:

Two teachers named Klapp and Horn
got angry at the noise.
One of them beheaded his pupils
the other reacted cooler.


  • Heinrich Stillfried: A hundred stanzas à la Klapphorn! Stauffer, Leipzig 1884.
  • Hans Arthur Thies: Two boys on the shaking grate. The most beautiful u. the latest shake rhymes, flip-horn verses, liver rhymes, Schnadahüpfl and limericks. Braun & Schneider, Munich 1954.

Web links

Wiktionary: Klapphornvers  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations