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Portrait of an (originally) Irish form of poetry

Peter Ringeisen

on 18 November 2012

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Transcript of Limericks

witty, humorous, or nonsense poem A Limerick defined Famous examples (1):
Playing with place-names Famous examples (2):
Playing with spelling (and place-names) The limerick packs laughs anatomical
In space that is quite economical.
But the good ones I've seen
So seldom are clean
And the clean ones so seldom are comical. A poem of usually five lines,
anapaestic or amphibrachic meter* with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA),
sometimes obscene with humorous intent.
The form can be found in England as of the early years of the 18th century. The name is generally taken as a
reference to the City or County of
Limerick. There was a young lady of Riga,
Who smiled when she rode on a tiger.
They came back from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger. There was a young girl of West Ham,
Who smiled as she jumped on a tram.
As she quickly embarked
The conductor remarked,
"Your fare, Miss." She said, "Yes, I am." Limerick An example, also being
an attempt at explaining *anapaest: three syllables - two unstressed followed by a stressed one

*amphibrach: three syllables - the stressed one in the middle * Limerick
County City of Limerick St Mary's Cathedral King John's Castle REPUBLIC OF
IRELAND Northern Ireland Famous examples (3):
Spelling nonsense She got mad and called him "Mr",
Not because he came and kr,
But because, just before,
As he stood at the door,
This Mr kr sr. Edward Lear (1812 – 1888)
British artist, illustrator,
author, and poet, renowned
for his literary nonsense,
in poetry and prose, and
especially his limericks.
1846: publication of "A Book of Nonsense",
a volume of limericks that went through
three editions and helped popularise the
1867: publication of his most famous piece
of nonsense, "The Owl and the Pussycat". In Lear's limericks the first and last lines usually end with the same word rather than rhyming. For the most part they are truly nonsensical and devoid of any punch line or point. A typical Lear limerick:

There was an Old Man of Aôsta,
Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
But they said, 'Don't you see,
she has rushed up a tree?
You invidious Old Man of Aôsta!' This is a 10-minute video about
fashion, wellness, music and sports
in Limerick - interested? -> Click it. Sources:
Full transcript