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A Limerick is a poem.  Some folks claim its name comes from the city of Limerick, Ireland.

In a limerick, the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line rhyme.  The third and fourth lines rhyme. The rhyme pattern is a a b b a with lines 1, 2 and 5 containing 3 beats and rhyming, and lines 3 and 4 having two beats and rhyming. The last line of a good limerick contains the PUNCH LINE or "heart of the joke." Brevity, the very soul of wit, is perhaps what makes these sweet little five-liners so popular.

Today is a day for all poets;

It's even for those who don't know it.

Set your humor to "stun"

And write for the fun,

Now, break out your puns and let's show it!

(To find the answers, hover your mouse over the pencil following each question.

Answers also appear at the end of the quiz, just in case someone

grabbed all the pencils to write their own limericks!)

 

For past Trivia pages, be sure to visit our Trivia Vault!

 

 

1. A Limerick is a

a) humorous verse or poem

b) town in Poland

c) drink from the American south

d) a method of transportation in Japan

1.  a) humorous verse or poem

 

2. Limerick Day celebrates

a) the birthday of the town of Limerick

b) poetry in literature

c) the limerick

d) the birthday of writer Edward Lear (1812-1888)

2. c) the limerick and d) the birthday of writer Edward Lear - (1812-1888).

 

3. Limericks were popularized by Lear in 1846 in

a) “A Book of Limericks”

b) "A Book of Nonsense"

c) "One Hundred Nonsense Pictures and Rhymes"

d) "Nonsense Songs"

e) "Laughable Lyrics."

3. b) "A Book of Nonsense"- see http://edwardlear.tripod.com/

 

4. Since Lear's limericks are the best-known examples of the classical limerick, and since these poems were not yet called "Limericks", some have retroactively named them

a) nonsence

b) Learics

c) Edwardian poems

d) lyrics

4. b) Learics - as they are not true limericks in the modern sense of the word. In all, Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly aimed towards nonsense.

 

5. Some say that the limerick was invented by soldiers returning from France to

a) Limerick, Ireland

b) London, England

c) Munich, Germany

d) Moscow, Russia

5. a) Limerick, Ireland - in the 1700's

 

6. Variants of the form of poetry referred to as Limerick poems can be traced back to

a) Alexander the Great

b) George Washington

c) the Roman Empire

c) the fourteenth century English history

6. c) the fourteenth century English history

 

7. Limericks were used in

a) popular music of the 19th century

b) comedy skits

c) Irish festivals

d) Nursery Rhymes and other poems for children

7. d) Nursery Rhymes and other poems for children

  

8. Limericks were often short, relatively easy to compose and

a) set to music

b) written by children

c) bawdy or sexual in nature

d) forbidden by Puritan leaders

8. c) 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.

 

9. To be a limerick, a verse MUST have:

a) seven lines

b) six lines

c) five lines

d) four lines

9. c) five lines

 

10. In a limerick, lines one, two, and five MUST

a) each have exactly three metric feet

b) start a new sentence

c) rhyme

d) each have exactly two metric feet

10. a) each have exactly three metric feet and b) rhyme

 

11. Lines three and four of a limerick MUST

a) each have exactly three metric feet

b) start a new sentence

c) rhyme

d) each have exactly two metric feet

11. c) rhyme and d) each have exactly two metric feet

 

12. The metric feet in a limerick MUST be

a) budapests (dum dum DA)

b) anapests (da da DUM)

c) catapults

d) doo-wop

12. anapests ( da da DUM ) - although the leading foot of each line may be an iamb ( da DUM) and the last foot of each line may have a trailing unaccented syllable ( da da DUM da).  The classic Limerick is consistent in the use of iambs and trailing unaccented syllables - If you can't sound out the da-da-DUMs, trash it - but this is not mandatory in recreational Limericks.

 

13. Line five of a good Limerick will have

a) fewer than five words

b) a clever, unanticipated punch line

c) a word repeated from line three

d) nothing to do with anything

13. b) a clever, unanticipated punch line

 

14. A good Limerick will not be

a) insipid or pointless

b) ribald or naughty

c) silly or inane

d) longer than one verse

14. a) insipid or pointless

 

15. A good Limerick often has

a) puns

b) word play

c) eccentric spelling

d) some other witty feature

15. all of these things!

 

16.Any nonsense poem that lacks five lines, thirteen metric feet, or the aabba rhyme pattern is not

a) a limerick

b) a poem

c) a sing-song

d) worth wasting time on

16. a) limerick

 

17. Limerick is

a) the largest city in Wales

b) the second largest city in Hungary

c) the third largest city in Ireland

d) a small town near Glasgow

17. c) the third largest city in Ireland

 

18. Elizabeth Gargus was reinstated in her job as a high school teacher in Birmingham Alabama in 1981 and was awarded $7,500 by a Federal judge after she was fired for

a) reciting naughty limericks to her class

b) refusing to teach her literature class about limericks

c) claiming that limericks were not considered true poetry

d) giving a copy of Limericks: Too Gross to the senior class president as a graduation present

18. d) giving a copy of Limericks: Too Gross to the senior class president as a graduation present - (Book written by Isaac Asimov and John Ciardi)

 

19. Vyvyan Holland, author of An Explosion of Limericks, and Ray Allen Billington, author of Limericks Historical and Hysterical,

a) had their books on the New York Times best seller list

b) each died on the day his book was published

c) were jailed for the bawdiness of the limericks in their books

d) were cousins

19. b) each died on the day his book was published

 

20. Monsignor Ronald Knox once ran a classified ad in The Times

a) for a used baptismal font

b) offering a framed portrait

c) as a limerick

d) called himself a curate

20. all of the above – it read: “An Anglican curate in want of a second-hand portable font would exchange the same for a portrait (in frame) of the Bishop-elect of Vermont.”

 

21. The first appearance of the word ‘Limerick’ (referring to a five-line verse) in print was in

a) The Cantab, the Cambridge student magazine, on 6 October 1898

b) the New York Times

c) the Chicago Tribune

d) Playboy

21.  a) The Cantab, the Cambridge student magazine – on October 6, 1898. The table of contents labeled a new feature “Illustrated Limericks.”  The first of these Illustrated Limericks was: “There once was a dandified swell who tumbled down into a well.  But a man heard him shout and at once pulled him out, for his sentences savored of __________.”

 

22. The first book of Limericks was

a) The Book of Limericks

b) The History of the Limerick

c) Wonderful Women of Limerick

d) The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women
22. d) The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women - published by J. Harris and Son in London in 1820, although the poems were not actually referred to as Limericks)

 

23. A stamp with a limerick on it was the 18th in the Literary Artists series,  honoring

a) Edward Lear, who popularized the Limerick

b) poet Ogden Nash

c) William Shakespeare

d) Robert Frost

23. b) poet Ogden Nash – it marked the centennial of his.  A gentle satirist, Nash poked fun at human foibles without cynicism.  He wrote on many subjects, but all of his poems expressed his wry wit and demonstrated his playfulness with language. The background of the stamp consists of six poems by Nash, including the Limerick, An elderly bride of Port Jervis. 

 

24. In June 2002 Dr. Ian Edward Wickram, a Tracy CA psychologist, was accused of treating patients by

a) reading to his patients from a book titled Lusty Limericks

b) having sex with them

c) charging them $300

d) all of the above

24. d) all of the above

 

Some Limerick Myths - limerick folklore that just never happened

 

25. Who wrote this limerick?

As a beauty I'm not a great star,

There are others more handsome by far,

But my face, I don't mind it,

Because I'm behind it--

'Tis the folks in the front that I jar.

a) Woodrow Wilson

b) Anthony Euwer

c) Ogden Nash

d) Andy Rooney

25. b) Anthony Euwer – from his book, The Limeratomy, published in 1917.  It was President Wilson's favorite and he recited it so often that people assumed, mistakenly, that he had written it.  A number of otherwise respectable limerick books still perpetuate this myth.

 

26. Limericks can be traced back to

a) Ancient Greece

b) Shakespeare

c) the Limerick Brigade

d) Mother Goose

26. None of the above - The fact is that no one can trace the limerick, other than through random occurrences of its peculiar rhyme and meter, prior to the 1820s when nonsense rhymes that we would recognize today as limericks began appearing in children's books. 

 

27. Edward Lear, whose birthday we celebrate on Limerick Day, wrote all of these books except:

a) “A Book of Limericks”

b) "A Book of Nonsense"

c) "One Hundred Nonsense Pictures and Rhymes"

d) "Nonsense Songs"

e) "Laughable Lyrics."

27. a) “A Book of Limericks”

 

28. While the poetic and literary skills of Shakespeare are not necessary for the composition of a limerick, the great Bard himself did in fact write limericks which can be found in two of his greatest plays:

a) Othello

b) Julius Caesar

c) As You Like It

d) King Lear

28. a) Othello and d) Kind Lear

 

29.  Another word for a limerick is

a) iambic verse

b) pentatette

c) five-liner

d) sonnetina

29. b) pentatette – definition: nineteenth century anapestic nonsense verse form popularized by Edward Lear. Synonyms: limerick, nonsense verse.

 

30. Let's have some pun – I mean FUN! Celebrate Limerick Day in style by writing a Limerick or two of your own. Send your original composition in to us, along with your comments.  Let's see what you got, folks!  We’ll post submissions next month!

There once was a young man named Chet,
Who spied this request on the ‘net:

"A limerick please write,
And send to this site,

We'll post it if it's the best yet!"

Click on the pencil to submit your original limerick!

Cllick on the pencil to send us your Limerick!

 

If you aren’t the creative sort, spend a few minutes and read a few humorous Limericks here. They are guaranteed to make you smile.

 

 

 

ANSWERS

 

1. a) humorous verse or poem

2. c) the limerick and d) the birthday of writer Edward Lear - (1812-1888).

3. b) "A Book of Nonsense"- see http://edwardlear.tripod.com/

4. b) Learics - as they are not true limericks in the modern sense of the word. In all, Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly aimed towards nonsense.

5. a) Limerick, Ireland - in the 1700's

6. c) the fourteenth century English history

7. d) Nursery Rhymes and other poems for children

8. c) 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.

9. c) five lines

10. a) each have exactly three metric feet and b) rhyme

11. c) rhyme and d) each have exactly two metric feet

12. anapests ( da da DUM ) - although the leading foot of each line may be an iamb ( da DUM) and the last foot of each line may have a trailing unaccented syllable ( da da DUM da).  The classic Limerick is consistent in the use of iambs and trailing unaccented syllables - If you can't sound out the da-da-DUMs, trash it - but this is not mandatory in recreational Limericks.

13. b) a clever, unanticipated punch line

14. a) insipid or pointless

15. all of these things!

16. a) limerick

17. c) the third largest city in Ireland

18. d) giving a copy of Limericks: Too Gross to the senior class president as a graduation present - (Book written by Isaac Asimov and John Ciardi)

19. b) each died on the day his book was published

20. all of the above – it read: “An Anglican curate in want of a second-hand portable font would exchange the same for a portrait (in frame) of the Bishop-elect of Vermont.”

21.  a) The Cantab, the Cambridge student magazine – on October 6, 1898. The table of contents labeled a new feature “Illustrated Limericks.”  The first of these Illustrated Limericks was: “There once was a dandified swell who tumbled down into a well.  But a man heard him shout and at once pulled him out, for his sentences savored of __________.”

22. d) The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women - published by J. Harris and Son in London in 1820, although the poems were not actually referred to as Limericks)

23. b) poet Ogden Nash – it marked the centennial of his.  A gentle satirist, Nash poked fun at human foibles without cynicism.  He wrote on many subjects, but all of his poems expressed his wry wit and demonstrated his playfulness with language. The background of the stamp consists of six poems by Nash, including the Limerick, An elderly bride of Port Jervis. 

24. d) all of the above

25. b) Anthony Euwer – from his book, The Limeratomy, published in 1917.  It was President Wilson's favorite and he recited it so often that people assumed, mistakenly, that he had written it.  A number of otherwise respectable limerick books still perpetuate this myth.

26. None of the above - The fact is that no one can trace the limerick, other than through random occurrences of its peculiar rhyme and meter, prior to the 1820s when nonsense rhymes that we would recognize today as limericks began appearing in children's books. 

27. a) “A Book of Limericks”

28. a) Othello and d) Kind Lear

29. b) pentatette – definition: nineteenth century anapestic nonsense verse form popularized by Edward Lear. Synonyms: limerick, nonsense verse.

30. Click here to submit your original limerick!

 

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