Journal

National Limerick Day

by | May 12, 2014 | Editorial

The limerick verse form is a short, clever, five-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme and meter. It is said to date back to Ireland in the 14th Century and may have originated in the Irish town of Limerick. 
People often think of limericks as children’s verse, and some nursery rhymes do qualify. But the truth is that many, as George Bernard Shaw said, “are most unfit for publication.”

One of my favorites – fit for all ages – is an anonymous one I learned in school:

The Young Lady of Niger

There was a young Lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
  They returned from the ride
  With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Another favorite is by Edward Lear, the 19th Century British poet credited with reviving modern interest in the form:

Old Man With A Beard

There 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!”

People often think of limericks as children’s verse, and some nursery rhymes do qualify. But the truth is that many, as George Bernard Shaw said, “are most unfit for publication.”

One of my favorites – fit for all ages – is an anonymous one I learned in school:

The Young Lady of Niger

There was a young Lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
  They returned from the ride
  With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Another favorite is by Edward Lear, the 19th Century British poet credited with reviving modern interest in the form:

Old Man With A Beard

There 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!”

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