Thursday, 7 July 2011

limericks which end with the same rhyme they start with

I'm usually slightly disappointed when Edward Lear's limericks end with the same rhyme they start with, probably just because we've come to expect limericks not to do this.  But sometimes i quite like the effect of this repetition, such as in this example, which has a really charming pointlessness to it:

There was an old man of Dundee,
Who frequented the top of a tree;
   When disturbed by the crows,
   He abruptly arose,
And exclaimed, "I'll return to Dundee."

So tonight, when i couldn't sleep for some reason, i wrote eight limericks which adopt this form and here they are because this is obviously newsworthy.  Initially they were meant to be in the style of Lear, but here i have been very inconsistent.

There was an old woman of York,
Who would eat with two knives and no fork;
   When asked why this was,
   She replied, "It's because
"There's a really cheap knife shop in York."

There once was a mayor of Chicago,
Who imposed a potato embargo.
   He made people evade
   All potato-based trade,
As they had plenty there, in Chicago.

There was a young lady from Dover,
Who repeated words over and over;
   So in place of just "Cat,"
   She would say, "Cat cat cat,"
And in place of "Dover," "Dover Dover."

A middle-aged woman from Basel
Took a liking to old Lorin Maazel.
   They were married post haste,
   And, with no time to waste,
They bought a small flat back in Basel.

A zealous young sister of Naples
Made a picture of Jesus with staples.
   Having done so, she prayed
   That her work be displayed
In full view of the people of Naples.

A brave ice-cream seller of Moscow
Would supply only frutti di bosco.
   He honestly thought
   That it all would be bought,
For the flavour is well liked in Moscow.

There once was a woman from Riga,
Whose spouse was surprisingly eager;
   He remarked, "I don't know
   "Why I feel like this, though
"It might be because we're in Riga."

A daring young harlot of Cork
Took her clothes off in front of a hawk.
   Though the hawk was no prude,
   The act still seemed quite rude
To the crowd of spectators from Cork.


  1. Excellent. The first and third are clearly the best.

    Perhaps each episode of "The Use-Mention Distinction" should close with a limerick?

  2. I'd be happy with that. one more

    There was an old man with a hat,
    But he wasn't defined just by that:
    He had also some socks,
    And a really nice box,
    Though it is true that he had a hat.

  3. There once was a man with a stick
    Which he used for a startling trick:
    He would dip it in glue
    And then throw it at you
    And whatever you did, it would stick.

    A Monopoly player from Barking
    Skipped from Pentonville Road to Free Parking,
    So, having had the scent
    Of a huge Vine Street rent,
    The dog began furiously barking.

    A limerick that tries to be clever
    Is a needlessly risky endeavour.
    The two up above're
    Not one kind or other
    But both, and look try-hard, not clever.

  4. Mark Taylor has gamely contrived
    To pun on those words which arrived
    At the ends of lines one
    And five. I think this fun,
    And it doesn't appear contrived.

  5. When buying a monitor lead,
    A man was astounded to read
    In a chart that he read
    That a lead made of lead
    Was, in terms of sales, well in the lead.

  6. A PCSO based in Dunstable
    Who aspired to the office of constable
    Found his job scarcely testing
    So went round arresting
    The unwary people of Dunstable.

  7. Also, I like the Naples one.

  8. And on a slightly different yet evidently related note:

    There once was a woman from Slough
    Who, they say, was a bit of a cough;
    But her cousin from Brough -
    Made of still meaner stough
    Shot her dead in a family rough.

  9. Fantastic, it's an enormous limerick party!

  10. A sharp-witted lady of Kew
    Took an overnight train to Peru;
    When queried on this,
    She replied, "Piece of piss!
    "There's a train that goes straight there from Kew."

  11. The National Year of Reading
    Was for one Berkshire man quite misleading:
    His home town he for some
    Strange reason thought awesome
    And believed its fame finally spreading.

  12. I realise I have totally deviated from the original theme, but I'm enjoying myself.

  13. There once was a curious vicar,
    Whose sermons got quicker and quicker.
    As he preached, "They are one:
    "The HolyGhost, the Father, andtheSon,

  14. A man of whom you may have heard
    Often struggled to pronounce a word.
    He hired a lackey
    To teach him "panache"
    Who he fired for not tending his beard.

    Alphabetically arranged,
    Be can can't completely deranged.
    Finish from limerick mashing,
    No of result smashing:
    Sort the the thing this turns unchanged.

  15. When this is spelt, a lim'rik is formed.