Literary Limericks

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Did Ophelia ask Hamlet to bed?
Was Gertrude incestuously wed?
Is there anything certain?
By the fall of the curtain
Almost everyone’s certainly dead.

— A. Cinna

Once a raven on Pluto’s dark shore
Brought the singular news: “Nevermore.”
‘Twas of useless avail
To ask further detail,
His reply was the same as before.

— Anthony Euwer

There once was a fellow called Hyde,
Whose twin self he couldn’t abide;
But Jekyll, the Devil,
Dragged Hyde to his level,
“Inside job,” cried Hyde, as he died.

— E.J. Jackson

When Ireland was bloody and leaderless,
The tedious, garrulous Daedalus —
Having failed both as priest
And as Glorious Beast —
Sailed away to write books that were readerless.

— Gina Berkeley

Philosophical Limericks

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:David_Hume.jpg

Cried the maid: “You must marry me, Hume!”
A statement that made David fume.
He said: “In cause and effect,
There is a defect;
That it’s mine you can only assume.”

— P.W.R. Foot

Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury thought
Life was nasty and brutish and short;
But contracts, once made,
Would come to our aid,
And ensure modest comfort — at court.

— Peter Alexander

There was a young man who said: “Ayer
Has answered the atheist’s prayer,
For a Hell one can’t verify
Surely can’t terrify —
At least till you know you are there.”

— Anonymous

Unrhymed Limericks

There was an old fellow called Hugger,
Who was captain and mate of a fishing smack;
When a yacht crossed his bows,
He said: “My word!
It’s an awfully good thing it wasn’t a liner.”

— Arnold Hyde

An American girl in Versailles
Said: “I feel so ashamed I could weep.
Ten days I’ve been here
And not gone to the Louvre.”
“Never mind,” said someone, “it’s possibly only the hard water.”

— Quoted in Anthony Burgess’ But Do Blondes Prefer Gentlemen?

There was a young lady of Ealing
Who walked up and down on the window;
And there, for a while,
To vary her technique,
She practiced strathspeying and hornpipes.

— Allen M. Laing

There was a young lady called Dawes,
Went out to a dance without gloves;
Her ma said: “Amelia!
Should anyone dance with you,
He’ll take you for one of them actresses.”

— Anonymous

A British Limerick

A young man called Cholmondeley Colquhoun
Kept as a pet a babolquhoun.
His mother said, “Cholmondeley,
Do you think it quite colmondeley
To feed your babolquhoun with a spolquhoun?”

(Via Willard R. Espy.)

Math Limericks

There was an old man who said, “Do
Tell me how I’m to add two and two!
I’m not very sure
That it does not make four,
But I fear that is almost too few.”

A mathematician confided
A Möbius strip is one-sided.
You’ll get quite a laugh
If you cut one in half,
For it stays in one piece when divided.

A mathematician named Ben
Could only count modulo ten.
He said, “When I go
Past my last little toe,
I have to start over again.”

By Harvey L. Carter:

‘Tis a favorite project of mine
A new value of π to assign.
I would fix it at 3,
For it’s simpler, you see,
Than 3.14159.

J.A. Lindon points out that 1264853971.2758463 is a limerick:

One thousand two hundred and sixty
four million eight hundred and fifty
three thousand nine hun-
dred and seventy one
point two seven five eight four six three.

From Dave Morice, in the November 2004 Word Ways:

A one and a one and a one
And a one and a one and a one
And a one and a one
And a one and a one
Equal ten. That’s how adding is done.

(From Through the Looking-Glass:)

‘And you do Addition?’ the White Queen asked. ‘What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Alice. ‘I lost count.’

‘She can’t do Addition,’ the Red Queen interrupted.

Two classics, one from Leigh Mercer:

\displaystyle \frac{12 + 144 + 20 + 3 \sqrt{4}}{7} + \left ( 5 \times 11 \right ) = 9^{2} + 0

A dozen, a gross, and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Is nine squared and not a bit more.

And another anonymous:

\displaystyle \int_{1}^{\sqrt[3]{3}}z^{2}dz \times \textup{cos} \frac{3\pi }{9} = \textup{ln} \sqrt[3]{e}

The integral z-squared dz
From one to the cube root of three
Times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Equals log of the cube root of e.

UPDATE: Reader Jochen Voss found this on a blackboard at Warwick University:

If M’s a complete metric space
(and non-empty), it’s always the case:
If f’s a contraction
Then, under its action,
Exactly one point stays in place.

And Trevor Hawkes sent this:

A mathematician called Klein
Thought the Möbius strip was divine.
He said if you glue
The edges of two
You get a nice bottle like mine.

Limerick

When Einstein was traveling to lecture in Spain,
He questioned a conductor again and again:
“It may be a while,”
He asked with a smile,
“But when does Madrid reach this train?”

Limerick

L is for lovable Lena,
Who met a ferocious hyena;
Whatever occurred
I never have heard;
But anyhow, L is for Lena.

— Anonymous, from Carolyn Wells’ Book of American Limericks, 1925

Limericks

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A globe-trotting man from St. Paul
Made a trip to Japan in the faul.
One thing he found out,
As he rambled about,
Was that Japanese ladies St. Taul.

A censor, whose name was Magee,
Suppressed the whole dictionaree;
When the public said, “No!”
He replied, “It must go!
It has alcohol in it, you see!”

There was a young man from the city,
Who met what he thought was a kitty;
He gave it a pat
And said, “Nice little cat!”
And they buried his clothes out of pity.

Carolyn Wells’ Book of American Limericks, 1925

Limericks

There was an old lady of Ryde
Who ate some green apples and died.
The apples, fermented
Inside the lamented,
Made cider inside ‘er inside.

— Anonymous

A gallant young man of Duquesne
Went home with a girl in the ruesne;
She said, with a sigh,
“I wonder when Igh
Shall see such a rain-beau aguesne.”

— Stanton Vaughn, ed., Limerick Lyrics, 1904

There was an old man said, “I fear
That life, my dear friends, is a bubble,
Still, with all due respect to a Philistine ear,
A limerick’s best when it’s double.”
When they said, “But the waste
Of time, temper, taste!”
He gulped down his ink with cantankerous haste,
And chopped off his head with a shubble.

— Walter de la Mare