Limerick Day and Edward Lear’s 200th Birthday

Edward Lear (May 12, 1812 – January 29, 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet. He is renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, both in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularized.

A limerick is a five-line poem in a specific meter, usually with a funny punch line or a humorous twist. The rhyme scheme is traditionally a-a-b-b-a. The first, second, and fifth lines have three stresses; the third and fourth lines have two stresses. Limericks often contain internal rhyme and alliteration.

1. A tutor who tooted the flute (a)
2. Tried to tutor two tooters to toot; (a)
3. Said the two to the tutor, (b)
4. “Is it easier to toot, Sir, (b)
5. Or to tutor two tooters to toot?” (a)

Edward Lear’s “A Book of Nonsense,” first published in 1846, popularized the limerick. You can read his limericks here:

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