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Limericks

The first Limericks appeared in England in the early 1820s. It is not clear where they were invented. The name probably refers to a group of Irish poets who were active in the middle of the eighteenth century. Edward Lear made the limerick popular with his “Book of Nonsense” he published in 1846. By the end of the nineteenth century, the clean and especially the indecent limerick were florishing. The following limerick nicely characterizes this form of poem:

The limerick form is so easy,

It’s no trick at all to be breezy;

But the lines of its wit

Are oft flavoured with shit,

Arousing the qualms of the queasy

Nearly all limericks on these pages are excerpts from the Penguin Book of Limericks by E. O. Parrot. Buy the book! It’s a great compilation.

Please don’t hesitate to send me your own limericks via e-mail (if they are good - or at least very indecent).