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View Full Version : What is a Limerick? Some easy guidelines.



Gumby
August 18th, 2011, 08:59 PM
I've searched far and wide across the Internet and here is the simplest and best explanation I could find to describe a Limerick:

The first, second, and fifth lines all rhyme and have a "da DUM da da DUM da da DUM" rhythm. The third and fourth lines also rhyme and have a "da DUM da da DUM" rhythm. Here is an example from Edward Lear himself:

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!'

 
If you will read the above limerick out loud, it's easy to hear the natural flow of the words, and the way you automatically emphasize some words more than others. That's the distinctive rhythm, scheme or pattern that sets the limerick apart from other rhyming poems . If you could see that rhythm in print, it would look something like this:

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!'

So to be a true limerick, the verse must follow both the rhyme and the rhythm schemes. Remember limerick's have a basic form which is this:
Lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme and have 8 to 10 syllables each.
Lines 3 and 4 rhyme and have 5 to 7 syllables each.