Unformatted text preview: The limerick is Ireland’s most famous poetic export, a catchy light verse consisting of a series of
five-line lines (3 long lines and 2 short lines) with an aabba rhyme scheme (A -> being the longer
lines B -> being the shorter lines)
The five-line structure lives within the jokes, puns, and pranks of countless ordinary poets,
making it one of the most famous English-language fixed verse forms.
The last words of first, second and fifth line must rhyme with each other and the last words of the
third and fourth line must rhyme as well.
The reason limericks are so much fun is because they are short, rhyming, funny, and have a
bouncy rhythm that makes them easy to memorize.
-A brief history of the form
The history of limericks is debatable and uncertain, but limerick poems can be traced back to the
14th century English history.
In 1845, a famous poet named Edward Lear published a book called ‘The Book of Nonsense’ in
which he featured 72 limericks. This is the first history of limericks, which includes a published
Limerick poems used to be referred to as bawdy or sexual in nature.
No one knows for sure where the name “limerick” comes from, but most people assume it is
related to the country of Limerick (in Ireland).
Variants of the form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems can be traced back to the fourteenth
century English history. Limericks were used in Nursery Rhymes and other poems for children.
But as limericks were short, relatively easy to compose and bawdy or sexual in nature they were
often repeated by beggars or the working classes in the British pubs and taverns of the fifteenth,
sixteenth and seventh centuries. The poets who created these limericks were therefore often
drunkards! Limericks were also referred to as dirty. Source:
-An example of the form and a close reading of the selected text
Here, you should compose some notes about the poem. A close reading should evaluate the language (abstract, concrete, figurative, and/or literal) and diction, the poetic devices, rhyme and meter, its message, etc. In all, you should make at least 8 comments about the poem. There was a young man named Tim
whose dad never taught him to swim
He fell off a dock
and sunk like a rock
and that was the end of him
-By: Edward Lear (1846)
● Paraphrase: This poem told about a young man named Tim that his dad never taught
him to swim. One day, he suddenly fell off at a dock then he sunk/drown like a rock
because he could not swim and eventually he died.
● Rhythm pattern: The limerick poem has a-a-b-b-a rhyme: 1st, 2nd, 5th lines have same
rhyme a-a-a while 3rd, 4th lines have same rhyme b-b. Type of rhyme of the poem is End
rhyme, because it's rhyme places at the end of the stanza. Five lines (Quintet): There are
two different patterns; 1st, 2nd, 5th rhythm pattern, and 3rd, 4th rhythm pattern. A
limerick generally has 7-10 syllables in 1st, 2nd and 5th lines. 5-7 syllables in 3rd and 4th
● Simile: direct comparison between two things using word “like” “And sunk like a rock”.
● Language used: Introducing sentences (Start with the line "There was a... ) Setting time (
Past time (was, fell off, taught, and sunk) Idiom (Idiom/phrase (fell off))
● Poetic diction: Denotation (The words employ in the poem is a denotation meaning. The
words are concise and easy to understand.) Pun (In the last line that contain something
● Tone: Humorous and entertaining
● Message: People should teach their children everything as early as possible to avoid
problems -List of four other titles for further study Mother Goose’s "Hickory, dickory, dock"
Kaitlyn Guenther’s “Star”
Leanne Guenther’s “Daddy Limerick”
Ogden Nash’s “Limerick’s Tavern” ...
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- Winter '16
- Mr. Zarzicki