Today is the birthday of Edward Lear, born in 1812 in London, England. Before he was a poet, Lear was a painter, illustrating birds for such noteworthy clients as Charles Darwin.
In 1832, while on an assignment to paint animals in the Earl of Darby’s private zoo, Lear began composing humorous verse for the Earl’s grandchildren. He put his poems together in his Book of Nonsense, published in 1846.
Lear is remembered for his famous poem “The Owl and the Pussycat,” but his most noteworthy contribution to the literary world is the limerick.
Here are some limericks from his Book of Nonsense.
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!”
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 a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin:
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.
The limerick is a universally popular verse form, enjoyed by children as well as adults. Besides the fixed form of five lines, rhyming AABBA, the content of the Limerick is characteristically comical and nonsensical. Adult versions frequently feature lewd content. One other common feature is the naming of a character and geographic location in the first line.
Today’s Challenge: Literary Limerick
How might you adapt the limerick form for a modern purpose? On Limerick Day write lots of limericks. Write one as a love note and put it on the refrigerator or write it on your child’s lunch sack. Write a limerick advertising a product that you think is worth buying. Write a limerick about your best friend, your pet, or your boss. Finally, select a favorite literary character and write a limerick about him or her. (Common Core Writing 2 – Expository)
Quotation of the Day:
The English language is a maze
You can get lost in it for days
Exploring the mother tongue
Can be lots of fun
So, read today’s post on Word Days