logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Poetry Site

BellaOnline's Poetry Editor

g

The History of the Limerick

Guest Author - Jordan McCollum

A limerick is a five-line poem with a set form. The rhyme scheme is AABBA. The third and fourth lines (the 'B' lines) are shorter than the rest of the lines.

Traditionally, limericks tend toward the bawdy and the tawdry. However, early in the life of the form, limericks were as benign as other forms of poetry. For example, you'll probably recognize this 1774 limerick:

Hickory Dickory Dock
A mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
And down he run
Hickory Dickory Dock.

Limericks began to gain their widespread popularity in the mid-to-late eighteen-hundreds with the publication of Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense in 1845 and 1872. His verses centered on nonsensical themes and often utilized wordplay. Although they were usually printed in 3 or 4 lines to accommodate illustrations, many of his verses use the limerick rhythm and rhyme scheme we recognize today:

There was an old person whose habits Induced him to feed upon rabits
When he'd eaten eighteen he turned perfectly green
Upon which he relinquished those habits
The word limerick first came into use at the end of the nineteenth century. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the etymology of the term:

Said to be from a custom at convivial parties, according to which each member sang an extemporized ‘nonsense-verse’, which was followed by a chorus containing the words ‘Will you come up to Limerick?’

Whether you believe that story, or prefer your limericks clean or bawdy, saying and singing limericks is has become a fun past time for many.


Want to read more?
Limericks by Isaac Asimov and John Ciardi features more than 500 limericks (most of them ‘naughty’) by famous authors.

For a scholarly treatment of limericks (which contends that the limerick must be bawdy), see G. Legman’s The Limerick (now out of print, but available from Amazon).
Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Twitter Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Facebook Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to MySpace Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Del.icio.us Digg The+History+of+the+Limerick Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Yahoo My Web Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Google Bookmarks Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Stumbleupon Add The+History+of+the+Limerick to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Poetry Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Jordan McCollum. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jordan McCollum. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karena Andrusyshyn for details.

g


g features
The Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

What is Poetry to Me?

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor