A lad who lived near Chamberlin Hall,
penned some sheep in the Square by a wall.
But his mind wasn’t quite sound,
‘cause when he looked around
He was the only one there – April Fool!
This is a Limerick, with a nod to last month’s April Fool in the Bugle. Wednesday 12th May is National Limerick Day. Limericks are linked particularly with Edward Lear, whose limerick fame rests on four books for children that he wrote and illustrated, the first being ‘A Book of Nonsense’ in 1846. Lear didn’t invent the limerick. In the 1830s, he often stayed at Knowsley Hall, near Liverpool, where he found a book of limericks by John Marshall called Anecdotes and Adventures of Fifteen Gentlemen.
It is probable that the book used a limerick form that was already current in popular culture. They may have given Lear the idea of writing limericks to accompany his illustrations for children. He called them nonsense poems.
But how did the name ’limerick’ come into use in the first place? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, although there are several theories. The most popular is that it comes from an 18th century song called Will You Come Up to Limerick? At parties, guests would compose verses of this song, with the entire company joining in for the chorus. “…come to Limerick!” Several publications, dating from around this time, refer to this song and its connection to the limerick.
Limerick is a style of poetry that traditionally has 5 lines and has an AABBA rhyme pattern. This means that in a limerick, the words at the end of the first, second and fifth sentences rhyme, while the words at the end of the third and fourth sentence rhyme with each other. Traditionally, the first line of a limerick introduces a person and a place and the rest of the poem describes a humorous, often strange, situation involving the subject or the place.
Here are a couple more as the Bugle’s contribution to National Limerick Day!
There was a young fellow named Guy
Who just saw the world through one eye.
He says, if you ask,
“It’s because of this mask!”
And this virus is the reason why!
A young man whose face was bright red
Said I feel like I’d rather be dead.
Months have gone by
And my throat is quite dry,
I just need to be in the King’s Head!
Just a laugh, which is what we need as we near the end of Covid restrictions. It
might inspire you to compose a limerick. Send your ‘clean’ ones to the Bugle!!
Read the May Bugle in full online.