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  1. 1. LimericksA Form of Poetry? Limerick Poems? Limericks the genre?The form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems have received incredibly bad press anddismissed as not having a rightful place amongst what is seen as cultivated poetry. Thereason for this is three-fold: • The content of many limericks is often of a bawdy and humorous nature. • A Limerick as a poetry form is by nature simple and short - limericks only have five lines. • And finally the somewhat dubious history of limericks have contributed to the critics attitudes.Limericks - The HistoryVariants of the form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems can be traced back to thefourteenth century English history. Limericks were used in Nursery Rhymes and other poemsfor children. But as limericks were short, relatively easy to compose and bawdy or sexual innature they were often repeated by beggars or the working classes in the British pubs andtaverns of the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventh centuries. The poets who created theselimericks were therefore often drunkards! Limericks were also referred to as dirty.Where doesthe term Limerick come from?The word derives from the Irish town of Limerick. Apparently a pub song or tavern chorusbased on the refrain "Will you come up to Limerick?" where, of course, such bawdy songs orLimericks were sung.Limericks - The formLimericks consist of five anapaestic lines.Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with eachother.Limericks - A Defence - Shakespeare even wrote Limericks!Admittedly the content of Limericks can often verge on the indecent, the dirty, or even theobscene, but they make people laugh! Limericks are easy to remember! Limericks are shortand no great talent is necessary to compose one - Limericks are a form of poetry thateveryone feels happy to try (especially when inebriated!). Limericks as a form of poetry hassurvived the test of time dating back for centuries! And whilst the poetic and literary skills ofShakespeare are not necessary for the composition of a limerick the great Bard himself did infact write limericks which can be found in two of his greatest plays - Othello and KingLear.The Limericks of Edward Lear - Limericks are Fun!!Edward Lears Book of Nonsense included the poetry form of Limericks. His work withlimericks were, however, was not in any way indecent and this particular book proved to beextremely popular in the nineteenth century and this was contributed to by the humorousmagazine Punch which started printing examples of limericks leading to a craze by itsreaders. The first edition of Edward Lears Book of Nonsense was published by ThomasMcLean on 10th February 1846. There were altogether seventy-two limericks in two volumeswhich sold at 3s 6d each. These limericks have proven to be extremely popular with children.Limericks by Edward Lear from A Book of Nonsense
  2. 2. LimerickThere was an Old Man with a beard,Who said, It is just as I feared!Two Owls and a Hen,Four Larks and a Wren,Have all built their nests in my beard!LimerickThere was an Old Man of Kilkenny,Who never had more than a penny;He spent all that money,In onions and honey,That wayward Old Man of Kilkenny.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Man of Vienna,Who lived upon Tincture of Senna;When that did not agree,He took Camomile Tea,That nasty Old Man of Vienna.LimerickThere was a Young Lady whose eyes,Were unique as to colour and size;When she opened them wide,People all turned aside,And started away in surprise.
  3. 3. Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Man who supposed,That the street door was partially closed;But some very large rats,Ate his coats and his hats,While that futile old gentleman dozed.LimerickThere was an Old Man of Columbia,Who was thirsty, and called out for some beer; .But they brought it quite hot,In a small copper pot,Which disgusted that man of Columbia.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Man of the West,Who wore a pale plum-coloured vest;When they said, Does it fit?He replied, Not a bit!That uneasy Old Man of the West.LimerickThere was on Old Man of the Isles,Whose face was pervaded with smiles; .He sung high dum diddle,And played on the fiddle,That amiable Man of the Isles.
  4. 4. Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Person of Hurst,Who drank when he was not athirst;When they said, Youll grw fatter,He answered, What matter?That globular Person of Hurst.LimerickThere was an Old Man with a gong,Who bumped at it all day long;But they called out, O law!Youre a horrid old bore!So they smashed that Old Man with a gong.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was a Young Person of Smyrna,Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;But she seized on the cat,And said, Granny, burn that!You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!LimerickThere was an Old Man on a hill,Who seldom, if ever, stood still;He ran up and down,In his Grandmothers gown,Which adorned that Old Man on a hill.
  5. 5. Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was a Young Lady whosebonnet,Came untied when the birds sate upon it;But she said: I dont care!All the birds in the airAre welcome to sit on my bonnet!LimerickThere was a Young Lady of Ryde,Whose shoe-strings were seldom untied.She purchased some clogs,And some small spotted dogs,And frequently walked about Ryde.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Man of Moldavia,Who had the most curious behaviour;For while he was able,He slept on a table.That funny Old Man of Moldavia.
  6. 6. LimerickThere was a Young Lady of Portugal,Whose ideas were excessively nautical: .She climbed up a tree,To examine the sea,But declared she would never leave Portugal.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Man of Kilkenny,Who never had more than a penny;He spent all that money,In onions and honey,That wayward Old Man of Kilkenny.LimerickThere was an Old Person of Dover,Who rushed through a field of blue Clover;But some very large bees,Stung his nose and his knees,So he very soon went back to Dover.Limericks by Edward LearLimerickThere was an Old Person of Basing,Whose presence of mind was amazing;He purchased a steed,Which he rode at full speed,And escaped from the people of Basing.
  7. 7. LimerickThe was a Young Lady of Bute,Who played on a silver-gilt flute;She played several jigs,To her uncles white pigs,That amusing Young Lady of Bute.Limericks by Edward Lear