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etymological society, so the Limerick has, by leaning
upon the arm of Lear and Miss Wells, ascended to
an enviable position, and is welcomed wherever
good verse is appreciated. We here present it and
stand aside that it may make its best bow.
The first representative Limerick, according to
Mr. Stanton Vaughn, was that beginning "There
was a young man of St. Kitts," written about
1834. Lear is said to have derived his inspira-
tion in 1846 from that gem of Mother Goose,
"There was an old man of Tobago," a favorite
also of old Lady Tippins and the redoubtable Eugene.
Since Lear's day the trend has been away from
nonsense, and of those who would substitute wit a
few have met with conspicuous success. To these
gifted writers, Edward Lear, Cosmo Monkhouse,
Carolyn Wells, Oliver Herford, Gelett Burgess,
and others whose names we have diligently striven
to discover, we are indebted and grateful. Limericks
do "achieve an enormous circulation verbally,"
and for this reason it has been difficult to trace
authorship and accurate text. To forgiving authors
and an indulgent public we commit the result of
ON THE FACE OF THE TIGER
There was a young man of St. Kitts,
Who was very much troubled with fits ;
The eclipse of the moon
Threw him into a swoon ;
When he tumbled and broke into bits.
There was an old man of Tobago,
Who lived on rice, gruel, and sago ;
Till much to his bliss
His physician said this
44 To a leg, sir, of mutton you may go."
There once was a lady from Guam,
Who said, " Now the sea is so calm
I will swim, for a lark ; "
But she met with a shark.
Let us now sing the ninetieth psalm.
I'd rather have fingers than toes,
I'd rather have ears than a nose,
And as for my hair,
I'm glad it's all there,
I'll be awfully sad when it goes.
There was an old man who said, " Do
Tell me how Fm to add two and two ?
Pm not very sure
That it doesn't make four
But I fear that is almost too few/'
There was a young woman named Sue,
Who wanted to catch the 2.02;
Said the trainman, " Don't hurry
Or flurry or worry ;
It's a minute or two to 2.02."
There was a young lady of Truro,
Who wished a mahogany bureau,
But they said to her, " God
On the length of Cape Cod
Couldn't raise a mahogany bureau!"
A fellow named Teddy Magee,
Rolling homeward one night from a spree,
Met the parson, who said,
"Ah! drunk again, Ted!"
" Sho'm /, parson/' gurgled Magee.
There was a young lady of Crete,
Who was so exceedingly neat,
When she got out of bed
She stood on her head,
To make sure of not soiling her feet.
There was an old maid of Shanghai,
Who was so exceedingly shy,
When undressing at night,
She turned out the light,
For fear of the All Seeing Eye.
I wish that my room had a floor ;
I don't so much care for a door;
But this crawling around
Without touching the ground
Is getting to be quite a bore.
There was an old man of Tarentum,
Who chewed on his teeth till he bent '
And when asked for the cost
Of what were not " lost "
Said, "I really can't tell, for I rent 'e
A sleeper from the Amazon
Put nighties of his gra'mazon
The reason, that
He was too fat
To get his own pajamazon.
There was a man in Henderson,
Who had a tall and slenderson,
A human rail,
Who used a nail,
To fasten his suspenderson.
There was a man in Atchison,
Whose trousers had rough patchison ;
He found them great,
He'd often state,
To scratch his parlor matchison.
A silly young fellow named Hyde,
In a funeral procession was spied ;
When asked, " Who is dead?"
He giggled and said,
44 1 don't know ; I just came for the ride."
There was an old man in a hearse,
Who murmured, " This might have been
Of course the expense
Is simply immense,
But it doesn't come out of my purse/'
There was a young man of Fort Blainey,
Who proposed to a typist named Janey :
When his friends said, " Oh, dear !
She's so old and so queer ! "
He replied, " But the day was so rainy ! "
There was a young man from the West,
Who loved a young lady with zest ;
So hard did he press her
To make her say, " Yes, sir,"
That he broke three cigars in his vest.
There was a young sailor of Lyd,
Who loved a fair Japanese kid ;
When it came to good-bye,
They were eager but shy,
So they put up a sunshade and did.
There once was a maiden of Siam,
Who said to her lover, young Kiam,
" If you kiss me, of course
You will have to use force,
But God knows you're stronger than I am."
There once was an old man of Lyme,
Who married three wives at a time :
When asked, "Why a third?"
He replied, " One's absurd !
And bigamy, sir, is a crime/'
There once was an old kangaroo,
Who painted his children sky-blue ;
When his wife said, " My dear,
Don't you think they look queer ? "
He replied, "I don't know but they do/'
There once was a maid of Japan,
Who married a Hottentot man;
The maid she was yellow,
Black as coal was the fellow,
And their children were all black and tan.
There was a young man of Dunbar,
Who playfully poisoned his Ma ;
When he'd finished his work,
He remarked with a smirk,
" This will cause quite a family jar/*
There was an old lady of Brooking,
Who had a great genius for cooking ;
She could bake sixty pies
All of quite the same size,
And tell which was which without looking.
A joiner of intellect crude
Said, "Why not use sawdust for food?
It's cheap by the ton,
And it nourishes one,
And that's the chief object of food/'
There once was a girl of New York,
Whose body was lighter than cork;
She had to be fed
For six weeks upon lead,
Before she went out for a walk*
For beauty I am not a star,
There are others more handsome by far .*
But my face ; I don't mind it,
For I am behind it ;
It's the people in front that I jar.
A father once said to his son,
" The next time you make up a pun t
Go out in the yard
And kick yourself hard,
And I will begin when you've done."
There was an old woman of Tweedle,
Who sat down in church on a needle ;
Though deeply imbedded,
'Twas luckily threaded,
And extracted at once by the beadle.
There was a fat canon of Durham,
Who trod on a cloister-bred wurrum ;
Said he to the beadle,
" Prepare the cathedr'l,
And let us proceed to inter 'm."
There was a young lady whose dream
Was to feed a black cat on whipped cream;
But the first cat she found
Spilled the cream on the ground,
And she fed a whipped cat on black cream.
There was an old fellow named Green,
Who grew so abnormally lean,
And flat, and compressed,
That his back touched his chest,
And sideways he couldn't be seen*
There was a young lady of Lynn,
Who was so excessively thin,
That when she essayed
To drink lemonade
She slipped through the straw and fell in.
There was an old man from Antigua,
Whose wife said, " My dear, what a pig you
He replied, " O my queen,
Is it manners you mean,
Or do you refer to my f ig-u-a ? "
There was a young lady named Perkins,
Who had a great fondness for gherkins ;
She went to a tea
And ate twenty-three,
Which pickled her internal workings.
There was a young lady named Maud,
A very deceptive young fraud ;
She never was able
To eat at the table,
But out in the pantry, O Lord !
There was a young maid who said, " Why
Can't I look in my ear with my eye ?
If I put my mind to it
Fm sure I can do it :
You never can tell till you try/'
Erat Romanorum dictator
Qui hated his uxoris mater ;
Cum leo her edit,
A holler he dedit,
Et dixit, " Vale, ma, until later/'
There was a young lady from Boston,
A two-horned dilemma was tossed on,
As to which was the best,
To be rich in the West
Or poor and peculiar in Boston.
There once was a lonesome, lorn spinster,
And luck had for years been ag'inst her ;
When a man came to burgle
She shrieked, with a gurgle,
" Stop thief, while I call in a minister ! "
There was an old maid named McDowd,
Who got squeezed in a terrible crowd ;
The thing that most vexed her
Was that there stood next her
A man who said " Damn " right out loud.
A mathematical maiden named Chaucer
Cried "O fie \" and "For shame I" and "O
law, Sir !"
44 Dividers have limbs
Like indelicate hims.
So circles I draw with a saucer*"
There was a young lady named Hannah,
Who slipped on a peel of banana.
More stars she espied
As she lay on her side
Than are found in the Star Spangled Banner.
A gentleman sprang to assist her ;
He picked up her glove and her wrister ;
" Did you fall, Ma'am ? " he cried;
" Do you think," she replied,
44 1 sat down for the fun of it, Mister ? "
There once was a doughty young fly,
Who said, "I will do it or die; "
So she took off her stocking,
A spectacle shocking,
And waded right into a pie.
There was a young woman from Wilts
Who went up to Scotland on stilts.
When they said, "Oh, how shocking
To show so much stocking ! "
She answered, "Well, how about kilts?"
There was a young lady of Lynn,
Who believed in original sin.
She'd try to be good
As hard as she could,
And then she'd go at it ag'in.
Augustus Fitzgibbons Mor an
Fell in love with Maria McGinn,
With a yell and a whoop
He cleared the front stoop
Just ahead of her papa's brogan.
Said a bad little youngster named Beauchamp,
44 Those jelly tarts, how shall I reauchamp ?
To my parents I'd go,
But they always say no,
No matter how much I beseauchamp."
A bright little maid in St. Thomas
Discovered a suit of pajhomas.
Said the maiden, " Well, well !
What they are I can't tell,
But Pm sure that these garments St.
An amorous M. A.
Says that cupid, the C D.,
Doesn't cast for his health
But is rolling in wealth
He's the John Jaco-B. H.
A sore-hipped hippopotamus, much flustered,
Objected to a poultice made of custard.
Said he, "This cussed flip
Seems to irritate my hip/*
So they put upon his hip a pot o' mustard.
The Sultan got sore on his harem
And invented a scheme for to scare 'em ;
He caught him a mouse
Which he loosed in the house;
(The confusion is called harem-scarem).
A tutor who tooted the flute,
Tried to teach two young tooters to toot ;
Said the two to the tutor,
" Is it harder to toot or
To tutor two tooters to toot ? "
A canner, exceedingly canny,
One morning remarked to his granny,
44 A canner can can
Anything that he can,
But a canner can't can a can, can he ? "
Said a miser who sordidly mised,
" My gold I have always despised ;
I have stinged till Fm stingy,
And dinged till I'm dingy,
But it's really the practice I've prized."
A flea and a fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do ?
Said the fly," Let us flee,"
Said the flea, "Let us fly,"
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
A certain young fellow named Beebee
Wished to wed with a lady named Phoebe.
" But/' said he, " I must see
What the clerical fee
Be before Phoebe be Phoebe Beebee."
There was a great swell in Japan,
Whose name on a Tuesday began ;
It lasted through Sunday
Till twilight on Monday,
And sounded like stones in a can.
My grandma, Rose Angela Hemans,
Is disposed to delirium tremens.
She contracted the habit
Of eating Welsh Rarebit
At midnight, and then she'd see demons.
There was a young person named Ned,
Who dined, before going to bed,
On lobster and ham
And salad and jam,
And when he awoke he was dead*
There once were some learned M.D/s,
Who captured some germs of disease,
And infected a train
Which, without causing pain,
Allowed one to catch it with ease.
There once was a pious young priest,
Who lived almost wholly on yeast ;
44 For/' he said, " it is plain
We must all rise again,
And I want to get started, at least/'
There was a young lady named Ruth,
Who had a great passion for truth.
She said she would die
Before she would lie,
And she died in the prime of her youth.
There was an old man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a bee;
When they said, "Does it buzz?"
He replied, "Yes, it does,
It's a regular brute of a bee."
There was an old man of St. Bees,
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp ;
When they asked, Does it hurt ?"
He replied, " No, it doesn't,
But I thought all the time 'twas a hornet I"
( W. S, Gilbert's parody oj No. LXXIX.)
There was a young man from Cornell,
Who said, "I'm aware of a smell,
But whether it's drains
Or human remains
I'm really unable to tell/'
A man to whom illness was chronic.
When told that he needed a tonic,
Said, "O Doctor dear,
Won't you please make it beer ? "
" No, no/' said the Doc., " that's Teutonic."
To his wife said a person named Brown,
44 My dear, there's a caller from town/'
" Wait/' she cried in distress,
"Till I slip on a dress/'
But she slipped on the stairs and came down.
There was an old man of Kamschatka t
Who possessed a remarkably fat cur;
His gait and his waddle
Were held as a model
To all the fat dogs in Kamschatka.
44 Cassez-vous, cassez-vous, cassez-vous,
O mer, sur vos froids gris cailloux."
Ainsi traduisit Laure
Au profit d^Isadore,
(Bon jeune homme, et son futur epoux).
Un marin naufrage* (de Doncastre)
Pour priere, au milieu du desastre,
Rep&ait a genoux
Ccs mots simples et doux :
" Sctntillez, scintillez, petit astre ! "
A young person of Tomahawk Bluff
Carried pistols to make him look tough.
When they asked, "Do you chew?"
He replied, " Yes, I do,
I'm a wegular wetch of a wough."
There was a young lady of Skye,
With a shape like a capital I;
She said, "It's too bad!
But then, I can pad,"
Which shows you that figures can lie.
There was a young lady from Joppa,
Whose friends all decided to drop her.
She went to Ostend
On a trip with a friend
And the rest of the story's improper.
There was a young woman named Florence,
Who for kissing professed great abhorrence;
But when she'd been kissed
And found what she'd missed,
She cried till the tears came in torrents.
There was a young lady named Nell t
Who considered herself quite a belle ;
She sat on the sand
And held her own hand,
And never discovered the sell.
There was a young person called Kate,
Who sat on the stairs very late.
When asked how she fared,
She said she was scared,
But was otherwise doing first-rate.
There was an old man with a beard,
Who said, " It is just as I feared !
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard/*
Said a great congregational preacher
To a hen, " You're a beautiful creature."
And the hen, just for that,
Laid an egg in his hat,
And thus did the Hen reward Beecher.
There was a young curate of Worcester,
Who could have a command if he'd choose ter,
But he said each recruit
Must be blacker than soot,
Or else he'd go preach where he used ter.
( Written of Thomas Went-worth Higginson.)
A genius who once did aspire
To invent an aerial flyer,
When asked, " Does it go ?"
Replied," I don't know;
Pm awaiting some damphule to try *er."
There once was a man from Nantucket,
Who kept all his cash in a bucket,
But his daughter named Nan
Ran away with a man,
And alas for the bucket, Nan-tuck-et !
But he followed the pair to Pawtucket t
The man and the girl with the bucket,
And he said to the man,
He was welcome to Nan;
And as for the bucket, Paw-tuck-et !
Said the old man of Abinger-Hammei 4 ,
Who was blessed with a wife and a stammer,
" The plague of my life
Is my w-w-w-wife,
D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-dammer ! "
There was a young lady of Cork,
Whose Pa made a fortune in pork ;
He bought for his daughter
A tutor who taught her
To balance green peas on her fork.
There was a young man so benighted,
He never knew when he was slighted ;
He would go to a party,
And eat just as hearty,
As if he'd been really invited.
There was a young person called Smarty,
Who sent out his cards for a party ;
So exclusive and few
Were the friends that he knew
That no one was present but Smarty.
There were three young women of Birming-
And I know a sad story concerning 'em ;
They stuck needles and pins
In the Right Reverend shins
Of the Bishop engaged in confirming 'em.
There was a young man from Quebec,
Who was buried in snow to his neck ;
When asked, " Are you friz ? "
He replied, " Yes, I is -
But this is not cold for Quebec/'
There was an old man of Madrid,
Who was hit with a brick by a kid;
Said the man, " Oh, what joy
To wallup that boy !
Be darned if I don't ; " and he did.
There was a young lady named Tucker,
Who rushed at her mother and struck her ;
Her mother said, "Damn,
Don't you know who I am ?
You act like a regular mucker/*
A scrupulous priest of Kildare,
Used to pay a rude peasant to swear,
Who would paint the air blue,
For an hour or two,
While his reverence wrestled in prayer*
There was a young lady named Banker,
Who slept while the ship lay at anchor ;
She awoke in dismay
When she heard the mate say :
44 Now hoist up the top sheet, and spanker."
There once was a lady so fair
That no one could see she was there :
It may not seem decent
To be so translucent,
But we pardon all things to the fair.
There was an old monk of Siberia,
Whose existence grew drearier and drearier ;
He burst from his cell
With a hell of a yell,
And eloped with the Mother Superior.
There's a lady in Kalamazoo,
Who bites all her oysters in two :
She has a misgiving,
Should any be living,
They'd raise such a hullabaloo.
There once was a sculptor named Phidias,
Whose statues by some were thought hideous :
He made Aphrodite,
Without any nightie,
Which shocked all the ultra fastidious.
There was a young lady named Enos,
Who went to a ball dressed as Venus.
The guests said, "It's rude,
To come in the nude
And they brought her a leaf from the
Said the Reverend Jabez McCotten,
" The waltz of the devil's begotten/'
Said young Jones to Miss Sly
" Never mind that old guy :
To the pure almost everything's rotten/
II y avait une demoiselle de Nigre,
Qui souriait en se promenant a tigre ;
De la course en rentrant
Voila la dame en dedans,
Et le sourire a la gueule du tigre.
LIST OF SOURCES
LIST OF SOURCES
ARLO BATES LVII
GELETT BURGESS VII, xxn
CHICAGO TRIBUNE XXVII
F. G. CHRISTGAU LXIV
GEORGE DU MAURIER LXXXV, LXXXVI
W. S. GILBERT LXXX
HARVARD LAMPOON VIII, LIU, LXV
OLIVER HERFORD LXXVI
DAVID STARR JORDAN XLVI, CVlll
RUDYARD KIPLING cm
THE LARK LXX
EDWARD LEAR .... IX, LXXIX, LXXXiv, xcm
LIFE xv, xxi, LXII, LXXXVII
COSMO MONKHOUSE XX, XXXV, XLI
PRINCETON TIGER . LXVII
ALPHONSO ROSS XCIV
ST. NICHOLAS XCM
MRS. SIVRET XCV
THE TECH XXV
CAROLYN WELLS ... XI, XII, LXin, LXVIII, LXIX
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