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Jessica Debbie Literature in English

Limericks What is a Limerick? A limerick is a short, often humorous and ribald poem developed to a very specific structure. The first line often ends with a person's name or a location (geographical limericks), and rhymes are often intentionally tortured. A popular form in childrens verse, the limerick is often comical, nonsensical, and sometimes even lewd. The form is well known to generations of English-speaking readers, by way of Mother Goose nursery rhymes, first published in 1791. Composed of five lines, the limerick adheres to a strict rhyme scheme and bouncy rhythm, making it easy to memorize. Poetic Form The form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems have received incredibly bad press and dismissed as not having a rightful place amongst what is seen as 'cultivated poetry'. The reason for this is three-fold:

The content of many limericks is often of a bawdy and humorous nature. A Limerick as a poetry form is by nature simple and short - limericks only have five lines. And finally the somewhat dubious history of limericks have contributed to the critics attitudes.

The Structure of a Limerick The limerick is constructed of five lines with an anapestic beat and an AABBA rhyme scheme. Typically, the first two lines rhyme with each other, the third and fourth rhyme together, and the fifth line either repeats the first line or rhymes with it. The anapest contains three syllables, the first two of which are unaccented and the last of which is accented (examples: comprehend or intervene.) The limerick's anapestic rhythm is created by an accentual pattern that contains many sets of double weakly-stressed syllables. The pattern can be illustrated with dashes denoting weak syllables, and back-slashes for stresses: --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ --/ A A B B A (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM) (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM) (da da DUM da da DUM) (da da DUM da da DUM) (da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM)

Jessica Debbie Literature in English

A good example of a limerick: The limerick packs laughs anatomical Into space that is quite economical. But the good ones I've seen Hardly ever are clean And the clean ones so seldom are comical.

Two more examples with anapests and rhyme highlighted: There was an young man of Darjeeling Endowed with such delicate feeling. When he read on the door "Do not spit on the floor", He jumped up and then spat on the ceiling! It's been told an old man had sent Emails, To some various dubious females, He was asked what they said, But he just shook his head. I would rather not go into details.