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Four Anonymous Limericks

Edward Lear
Edward Lear

A bland young hunter named Shepherd

was eaten for lunch by a leopard.

Said the leopard, “Egad!

You’d be tastier, lad,

if you had been salted and peppered!”



There was a young woman named Spright

whose speed was much faster than light.

She set out one day

in a relative way,

and returned on the previous night.



A glutton who came from the Rhine,

when asked at what hour he’d dine,

said he’d dine at eleven, 

at three, five, and seven,

at eight and a quarter past nine.



There once was a chap from Odessa

whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.

It at last grew so small

he knew nothing at all,

and now he’s a college professor.



Probably the best known fixed form in English poetry is the limerick, a five-line rhymed poem that is almost always comic and often scatological, the “dirty” limerick having achieved, in both the United States and England, the status of a contemporary folk tradition. Both Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) and George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) insisted that obscenity was necessary — a defining characteristic of the true limerick. The form was originally popularized by Edward Lear (1812–1888), though he did not use the term “limerick” to describe it. The first, second, and fifth lines of a limerick rhyme with each other and the third line rhymes with the fourth. The first, second, and fifth lines have three accented syllables and the third and fourth lines two accented syllables. Generally, the limerick is a fanciful tale about a curious person and often includes the character’s place of origin in the opening line. The last line of a successful limerick is usually both surprising and funny.

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Edward Lear
Edward Lear

A bland young hunter named Shepherd

was eaten for lunch by a leopard.

Said the leopard, “Egad!

You’d be tastier, lad,

if you had been salted and peppered!”



There was a young woman named Spright

whose speed was much faster than light.

She set out one day

in a relative way,

and returned on the previous night.



A glutton who came from the Rhine,

when asked at what hour he’d dine,

said he’d dine at eleven, 

at three, five, and seven,

at eight and a quarter past nine.



There once was a chap from Odessa

whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser.

It at last grew so small

he knew nothing at all,

and now he’s a college professor.



Probably the best known fixed form in English poetry is the limerick, a five-line rhymed poem that is almost always comic and often scatological, the “dirty” limerick having achieved, in both the United States and England, the status of a contemporary folk tradition. Both Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) and George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) insisted that obscenity was necessary — a defining characteristic of the true limerick. The form was originally popularized by Edward Lear (1812–1888), though he did not use the term “limerick” to describe it. The first, second, and fifth lines of a limerick rhyme with each other and the third line rhymes with the fourth. The first, second, and fifth lines have three accented syllables and the third and fourth lines two accented syllables. Generally, the limerick is a fanciful tale about a curious person and often includes the character’s place of origin in the opening line. The last line of a successful limerick is usually both surprising and funny.

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With clothes on he was a sight to see as he made his way into the sea To settle a large debt Simply by getting wet Just ask him why the fish had to flee

Oct. 26, 2011

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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