My brandnew riddle - the Rose of Castile
U 7.586-91 Lenehan extended his hands in protest.
- But my riddle! he said. What opera is like a railway line?
- Opera? Mr O'Madden Burke's sphinx face reriddled.
Lenehan announced gladly:
- The Rose of Castile. See the wheeze? Rows of cast steel. Gee!
In “Two Gallants” Lenehan is described as “a sporting vagrant armed with a vast stock of stories, limericks and riddles”. The most conspicuous one is quoted above. But when Lenehan demands: "Silence for my brandnew riddle!" (U 7.477) he is slightly overstating his case, for the first documented punning riddle about Balfe's successful opera turned up only six years after it was premiered in October 1857.
One year later the Birmingham Daily Post of Friday, 27 May informs its readers that The Rose of Castile (also Castille) is "popularly miscalled in allusion to its enduring pretensions to public favour, 'The Rose of Cast Steel'".
Punch followed in 1865:
The closest forerunner of Lenehan's version was published in “Clippings from the weekly journals” in The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull, England) on Friday, 28 May, 1880:
Joyce's Allusions >