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Limericks Sydney's a beautiful city The harbour is awfully pretty But if you sail in a boat Be sure you can

float 'cause drowning's a terrible pity Brisbane's a beautiful city The river is awfully pretty But if you go on a boat Be sure you can float Cause drowning's a terrible pity awfully pretty = very beautiful float = not sink drown = die by sinking in the water and suffocating a terrible pity = very sad Brisbane Brissie A student from Japan Said !"nglish #'ll learn if # can! #'m happy to tell She learnt it so well She's interpreting now for $an Am% Juanita a lady from Chile Boiled her teas in a billy A blowfly began To drink from the can And Juanita turned white as a lily the $elican A rare old bird is a pelican &e can take in his beak "nough food for a week And #'m damned if # know how the hell he can The 'ady from Twickenham There was a young lady from Twickenham (hose shoes were too tight to walk )uick in 'em She came back from a walk 'ooking whiter than chalk And she took them both off and was sick in 'em

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There once was a maid from Madras Who had a magnificent ass.

Not rounded and pink, as you'd possib y think! "t was gray, had ong ears, and ate grass. ## $ dying mos%uito e&c aimed, '$ chemist has poisoned my brain(' The cause of his sorrow Was para)dich oro) *ipheny )trich oroethane. #+ There once was a p umber from ,ee Who was p umbing his gir by the sea -he said -top your p umbing, There's somebody coming( -aid the p umber sti p umbing... "t's me( #. The sea captain's tender young bride fe into the bay at ow tide, /ou cou d te by her s%uea s, that some of the ee s had disco0ered a good p ace to hide. #1 "n a f ower show, Ned from $ustra ia, 2ainted his butt ike a dah ia, 3or co our and si4e, it won the first pri4e 5ut the sme , was a he 6f a fai ure. #7 $ young psychic midget named Marge Went to 8ai with the most heinous charge 5ut despite ock and key The ne&t day she broke free $nd the head ines said '-ma Medium at ,arge'. #9 6n the chest of a barmaid at /a e were tattooed the prices of a e, and on her behind, for the sake of the b ind, was the same information in 5rai e.

#: "f you catch a ;hinchi a in ;hi e $nd cut off its beard, wi y)ni y /ou can honest y say That you ha0e 8ust made $ ;hi ean ;hinchi a's chin chi y. #< $ preoccupied 0egan named =ugh picked up the wrong sandwich to chew. =e took a big bite before spitting, in fright, '6M>, WT3, 55?(' #1 There was a young sai or from 5righton, Who said to his gir , '/ou're a tight one.' -he rep ied, '5 ess my sou , /ou're in the wrong ho e! There's p enty of room in the right one.' @ead more at httpABBwww.top10) best.comB BtopC10CbestC imericks.htm #13?MD@+img;E7osu.##
The Best Limericks of All Time A Brief History of the Limerick compiled and edited by *ichael +% Burch (ho wrote the best limericks ever penned in the "nglish language, (ho were the best writers of limericks, This page attempts to answer such )uestions for students educators and anyone else who is interested in one of the most engaging and entertaining of poetic forms% +elated pages- The Best 'ight .erse of All Time The Best /oggerel of All Time The Best &umorous $oetry of All Time Before # delve briefly into the definition and history of the limerick please allow me to share some e0amples in the form of my personal favoritesThere was a young lady named Bright who traveled much faster than light. She set out one day in a relative way, and came back the previous night. 1Anonymous # find it interesting that one of the best revelations of the weirdness and 2aniness of relativity

can be found in a limerick% The limerick above inspired me to pen a re3oinderEinstein, the frizzy-haired, claimed E e uals !" s uared# thus mass decreases as activity ceases ... not my mass, my ass declared$ 1*ichael +% Burch "dward 'ear has been called the !father! and the !poet laureate! of the limerick because he helped populari2e the form% To be frank # believe other poets particularly 4gden 5ash have penned better limericks but # do admire this one which has been attributed to 'earThere was a young lady of %iger 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. 1attributed to "dward 'ear and (illiam Cosmo *onkhouse &ere's another of my all6time favorites which illustrates how punning wordplay can enrich and enliven limericks& wonderful bird is the pelican# 'is beak can hold more than his belican. 'e can hold in his beak Enough food for a week, Though ()m damned if ( know how the helican$ 1/i0on 'anier *erritt 7often incorrectly ascribed to 4gden 5ash8 The limerick above reminds me of something /orothy $arker once said about 4scar (ildethat when she read an especially good epigram she always assumed (ilde was the author% 4gden 5ash holds a similar place of distinction in the pantheon of limerick writers% 4ne thing 5ash did wonderfully well was ignore the !rules! that often result in stiffly corseted formal poems% 5ash's poems tend to be funny irreverent whimsical and !loosey6goosy%! 75ash is to limericks as e% e% cummings is to sonnets%8 &ere are a few of 5ash's best limericks and limerick6like poemsThere was a young belle of old %atchez *hose garments were always in patchez. *hen comments arose +n the state of her clothes, She replied, ,*hen &h itchez, &h scratchez., 14gden 5ash & flea and a fly in a flue *ere imprisoned, so what could they doSaid the fly, ,let us flee$, ,.et us fly$, said the flea. So they flew through a flaw in the flue. 14gden 5ash The turtle lives /twi0t plated decks *hich practically conceal its se0. ( think it clever of the turtle

(n such a fi0 to be so fertile. 14gden 5ash The ant has made himself illustrious Through constant industry industrious. So what- *ould you be calm and placid (f you were full of formic acid14gden 5ash There are more poems by 5ash later on this page% #f we give credit to 'ear for populari2ing the form shouldn't we give even more credit to 5ash for perfecting it, #n any case moving on some of the best limericks are !naughty! poems written by the greatest of all poets AnonymousThere was a young man from Savannah *ho died in a curious manner1 'e whittled a hole (n a telephone pole &nd electrified his banana. 1Anonymous There was a young gal name of Sally *ho loved an occasional dally. She sat on the lap +f a well-endowed chap "rying, ,2ee, 3ick, you/re right up my alley$, 1Anonymous 7# touched this one up slightly8 A pious young lady of Chichester *ade all the pale saints in their niches stir% And each morning at matin &er breast in pink satin *ade the bishop of Chichester's breeches stir% 1Anonymous 7# also touched this one up slightly8 As one critic put it the limerick !is the vehicle of cultivated unrepressed se0ual humor in the "nglish language%! But while some e0perts claim that the only !real! limerick is an obscene or bawdy one the form really took off initially in terms of popularity as a vehicle for nonsense verse and children's poems such as the *other 9oose nursery rhymes'ickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock# the clock struck one and down he run# hickory dickory dock. 1*other 9oose There was an +ld !an with a beard, *ho said, ,(t is 4ust as ( feared$ Two +wls and a 'en, 5our .arks and a *ren, 'ave all built their nests in my beard$, 1"dward 'ear There once was a leopardess, 3ot,

who indignantly answered1 ,()ll not$ The gents are impressed with the way that ()m dressed. ( wouldn)t change even one spot., 1*ichael +% Burch To show the fle0ibility of the limerick it has often been used for political purposes% &ere are are two such limericks of mineBaked Alaskan There is a strange yokel so flirty she makes whores seem icons of purity. *ith all her winkin) and blinkin) 6alin seems to be ,thinkin),7 ,&h culd save th) free world )cause ah)m purty$, Copyright :;<: by *ichael +% Burch from Signs of the &pocalypse all +ights and .iolent Shudderings +eserved Going Rogue in Rouge (t/ll be hard to polish that apple enough to make her seem palatable. Though she/s sweeter than Snapple how can my mind grapple with stupidity so nearly infallibleCopyright :;<: by *ichael +% Burch from Signs of the &pocalypse all +ights and .iolent Shudderings +eserved The most common form of the limerick is a stan2a of five lines with the first second and fifth lines rhyming with each another and having three feet of three syllables each while the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other but are shorter having only two feet of three syllables% The metrical !foot! employed is usually the anapaest 7ta6ta6T=*8 but limericks can also be amphibrachic 7ta6T=*6ta8% But as you can see from the last two poems by 5ash and my poems directly above there are other variations of the form% The origin of the name !limerick! for this poetic form is still being debated% The term was first officially documented in "ngland in <>?> in the %ew English 3ictionary but the form itself is much older% The name is generally considered to be a reference to the city or county of 'imerick #reland and may derive from a parlor game that included a refrain such as !(ill @or won'tA you come 7up8 to 'imerick,! The earliest known use of the name !limerick! for a short humorous lyric is an <>>; reference in a 5ew Brunswick newspaper to a tune apparently well6known at the time !(onBt you come to 'imerick,! That article included this verseThere was a young rustic named !allory, who drew but a very small salary. *hen he went to the show, his purse made him go to a seat in the uppermost gallery. The earliest published American limerick appeared in <?;: in the 6rinceton Tiger-

There once was a man from %antucket *ho kept all his cash in a bucket. But his daughter, named %an, 8an away with a man &nd as for the bucket, %antucket. +elated !se)uels! were soon published% 4f these two of the most famous appeared respectively in the "hicago Tribune and the %ew 9ork 6ressBut he followed the pair to 6awtucket, The man and the girl with the bucket# &nd he said to the man, 'e was welcome to %an, But as for the bucket, 6awtucket. Then the pair followed 6a to !anhasset, *here he still held the cash as an asset# But %an and the man Stole the money and ran, &nd as for the bucket, !anhasset. There continue to be modern se)uels including this bawdy one of mineThere was a lewd whore from %antucket who intended to pee in a bucket# but being a man she missed the damn can and her rattled 4ohn fled crying, ,5uck it$, 1.ariation on a classic limerick by *ichael +% Burch 'imericks are often associated historically with "dward 'ear whose first published limericks appeared in & Book of %onsense in <>CD although his poems were not called limericks at the time% But 'ear didnBt invent the form% #t appears that during his stays at Enowsley &all in the <>F;s he discovered a book &necdotes and &dventures of 5ifteen 2entlemen, which contained limericks published by John *arshall in <>::% Two similar books had been published around the same time- &necdotes and &dventures of 5ifteen 9oung .adies and The 'istory of Si0teen *onderful +ld *omen% #t seems likely that these books employed a form that was already popular at the time and that 'ear liked the form and began using it himself% (e can trace the limerick back to the eighteenth century GilH na *Iighe or 9aelic poets of the *aigue a pub in Croom County 'imerick% SeIn JBTuama 7<K;?6<KKL8 and Aindrias *acCraith 7<K<;6<K?F8 were members of this group which sometimes verbally sparred in verses employing limerick meter% Some of their poems were translated into "nglish by the poet James Clarence *angan and appeared in both languages in John 4B/alyBs The 6oets and 6oetry of !unster, published in <>L;% This is an e0ample of their reparteeSeIn JBTuama!# sell the best Brandy and Sherry To make all my customers merry But at times their finances +un short as it chances And then # feel very sad very!%

To which *acCraith replied!4BTuamaM Nou boast yourself handy At selling good ale and bright Brandy But the fact is your li)uor *akes everyone sickerO # tell you this # your friend Andy!% But where did they discover the limerick, #t may be possible that in the early <K;;s soldiers returning from the (ar of the Spanish Succession brought the limerick to #reland from the "uropean mainland% #n any case by <KKD limericks had been published in !other 2oose)s !elodies. Shortly thereafter when *other 9oose nursery rhymes began to attain fame the limerick became famous also% And yet it seems the form may be far older% #t has been suggested that the limerick originated in Grance during the *iddle Ages% An <<th century manuscript demonstrates the limerickBs cadenceThe lion is wondrous strong And full of the wiles of woO 7woe8 And whether he pleye 7play8 4r take his preye 7prey8 &e cannot do but slo% 7slay8 Give centuries later (illiam Shakespeare 7<LDC6<D<D8 employed limerick meter in StephanoBs drinking songThe master, the swabber, the boatswain and (, The gunner and his mate .oved !all, !eg and !arian and !argery, But none of us cared for :ate# 5or she had a tongue with a tang, *ould cry to a sailor, 2o hang$ She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch, 9et a tailor might scratch her where/er she did itch1 Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang$ 1from !The Tempest! by (illiam Shakespeare And Shakespeare used an actual limerick in !4thello!&nd let me the canakin clink, clink# 7canakin = drinking can8 &nd let me the canakin clink & soldier/s a man# & life/s but a span# *hy, then, let a soldier drink. 1from !4thello! by (illiam Shakespeare #t's interesting that some of the earliest published limericks were related to taverns and drinking% 4ne might speculate that people had a few drinks !loosened up ! then began competitions in which they sang or chanted bawdy songs and poems perhaps at times in competitions with the winner getting a free drink applause or a kiss from a serving wench% #t may have been hundreds of years before literary types started to take limericks seriously enough to start writing them down% But they eventually !got smart! and did 3ust that% Today famous penners of limericks include Shakespeare Alfred 'ord Tennyson /ante 9abriel

+ossetti 4gden 5ash +udyard Eipling *ark Twain +obert 'ouis Stevenson &% 9% (ells T% S% "liot (% &% Auden James Joyce 'ewis Carroll Algernon Charles Swinburne Salman +ushdie and #saac Asimov 7who wrote the infamous !'echerous 'imericks!8% &ere are e0amples of limericks by famous writersThere was a small boy of ;uebec *ho was buried in snow to his neck. *hen they asked, ,&re you friz-, 'e replied, ,9es, ( is 7 But we don/t call this cold in ;uebec$, 1+udyard Eipling +ur novels get longa and longa Their language gets stronga and stronga There)s much to be said 5or a life that is led (n illiterate places like Bonga 1&% 9% (ells Some primal termite knocked on wood &nd tasted it, and found it good$ &nd that is why your "ousin !ay 5ell through the parlor floor today. 14gden 5ash The ostrich roams the great Sahara. (ts mouth is wide, its neck is narra. (t has such long and lofty legs, (/m glad it sits to lay its eggs. 14gden 5ash T. S. Eliot is uite at a loss *hen clubwomen bustle across &t literary teas "rying, ,*hat, if you please, 3id you mean by The !ill +n the 5loss-, 1(% &% Auden There was a young lady of station ,( love man, was her sole e0clamation But when men cried, ,9ou flatter, She replied, ,+h$ no matter$ (sle of !an is the true e0planation., 1'ewis Carroll There is a poor sneak called 8ossetti &s a painter with many kicks met he *ith more as a man But sometimes he ran &nd that saved the rear of 8ossetti. 1/ante 9abriel +ossetti The marriage of poor :im :ardashian *as krushed like a kar in a krashian. 'er :ris kried, ,%ot fair$

*hy kan/t ( keep my share-, But :ardashian fell klean outa fashian. 1Salman +ushdie # have written a number of limericks myself under the magical spell of the venerable6but6 ever6energetic formThere was an old man from 6eru who dreamed he was eating his shoe. 'e awoke one dark night from a terrible fright to discover his dream had come true$ 1.ariation on a classic limerick by *ichael +% Burch 3ear Ed1 ( don)t understand why you will publish this other guy7 when ()m brilliant, devoted, one hell of a poet$ 9et you publish &nonymous. 5ie$ 5ie$ & po0 on your head if you favor this poet who)s dubious, unsavor y, inconsistent in te0ts, no address <( checked$=1 since he)s plagiarized >nknown, ()ll wager$ 1!The Better *an! by *ichael +% Burch There once was a mockingbird, "lyde, who bragged of his prowess, but lied. To his new wife he sighed, ,*hen again, gentle bride-, ,%evermore$, bright-eyed 8aven replied. 1*ichael +% Burch 8elativity, the theorists) creed, says mass increases with speed. !y ass grows when ( sit it. &lbert Einstein, get with it# e uate its deflation, ( plead$ 1*ichael +% Burch 'awking, who makes my head spin, says time may flow backward. ( grin, imagining the surprise in my mother/s eyes when ( head for the womb once again$ 1*ichael +% Burch 'awking)s ,Brief 'istory of Time, is such a relief$ 'ow sublime that time, in reverse, may un-write this verse and un-spend my last thin dime$ 1*ichael +% Burch

There once was a Baptist named !el who condemned all non-"hristians to hell. *hen he stood before 2od he felt like a clod to discover 'is .ove couldn)t fail$ 1*ichael +% Burch