Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Nov 6 16:40:12 UTC 2009

Will do -- perhaps next week.

Are we only interested in the association of the word "Limerick" with
the rhyme form?  (So far I've found nothing to antedate the "secure"
1895.)  Or is my 1878 example of a Limerick useful, since at least
that poem antedates the earliest dates (I think) that Stephen noted,
the 1880 and 1881 US uses of  "Limerick Rhymes"?


At 11/4/2009 02:00 PM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>Thanks Joel! If you're still interested, try Oxford and "come to Limerick" (or
>is that only US?) and some easy word check to see that Sporting Times does
>return text. Thanks
>Quoting "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>:
>>There's disappointment and perhaps discovery in the "19th Century UK
>>Periodicals" database (Gale).  In summary, I did not find "limerick"
>>associated with "rhyme" or "poem", but I did find one limerick from
>>1878 and a few more through 1894.
>>1.  Disappointment
>>This may be only momentary, as I did not have the time or energy last
>>night to go further than the searches below.  And I neglected to
>>check whether "limerick" will also find "limericks".
>>All searches with "before 1895".
>>limerick + sporting times = none.
>>limerick [alone] = 344.  I didn't examine these.
>>limerick + rhyme[s]/poem[s] = none.
>>will/won't you come up = none.
>>there once was + limerick = none.
>>there once was = 23.  See "Discoveries" below.
>>2.  Discoveries
>>8 poems, of which 6 I will certify to be limericks (actually, one is
>>half limerick and half a 4-line ABAB rhyme), nearly all with amusing
>>illustrations (some of which are signed or initialed).
>>1878, St. Nicholas [London], Jan. 1, p. 222; from British Library
>>[earliest limerick of the 8; perhaps a beta release since it uses the
>>same word twice]:
>>There once was a man with a child
>>Who, the neighbors said, never had smiled;
>>      But the father said, "See !
>>      Smile in this way, like me,
>>And then folks will know when you've smiled.
>>Other limericks from:
>>1883, St. Nicholas, Jan. 1, p. 224, from British Library - There once
>>was a youngster named Dcik [no, don't get excited]
>>1884, St. Nicholas, Aug. 1, p. 815, from British Library - There once
>>was a ver-y rich pig
>>1889, The Boy's Own Paper [London], Nov. 9, p. 96 - see below.
>>[date unknown], Little Wide-Awake: An Illustrated Magazine for
>>Children [London], p. 138, from Trustees of the National Library of
>>Scotland - There once was a dear little soul
>>1894, The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies' Journal [Auckland], July 7,
>>from British Library - see below.
>>The 1889 is the portmanteau:
>>There once was a funny old Sioux,
>>Very partial to having a chew
>>Of fresh Betel Nut,
>>And enjoyed a prime cut
>>Off a nicely baked Captive or two.
>>For he was a Cannibal bold
>>While he had a sound tooth in his head,
>>But when they wore out, I've been told,
>>He seemed to prefer home made Bread.
>>And the 1894, which amused me:
>>There once was a woman called Mrs.
>>Who said, 'I don't know what a Krs.'
>>      But a fellow in haste,
>>      Put his arm round her waist,
>>And quietly answered, Why, Thrs.'
>>3.  Future Research?
>>Ensure that "limerick" and "limericks" return the same set of results.
>>Try "limerick[s]" + Oxford.
>>Try "limerick" - lace, gloves, [fish]hooks, pattern, glasses, and
>>Look into the 344 "limerick" returns.
>>Any other suggestions?
>>At 11/1/2009 10:25 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>>>Thanks Joel.
>>>We have Limericks (poems) securely named as currently defined from
>>>1895. We have
>>>1880 and 1881 US uses of "Limerick Rhymes" that may be the same poem type.
>>>"Limerick Rhymes" in 1896 in UK reliably is the poem type. The US uses of
>>>"Limerick rhymes" may have been tacked on to a plagiarized 1879 book set in
>>>Qxford. So, maybe start with "Limerick Rhymes."
>>>If you're still interested, maybe try "will/won't you come up (come
>>>up) up to
>>>Limerick (town)" that we have in 1898ff as a claimed Limerick
>>>composition game
>>>chorus and claimed years later by his son as 1880 in Oxford when the (CE)
>>>Bishop of Limerick got an honorary degree, supposedly chanted (though not
>>>necessarily with Limerick poems included, just the chorus).
>>>I'd try "come to Limerick" (meaning "surrender," "get with the
>>>program," etc.)
>>>Maybe exclude [Limerick(s)]: gloves, lace, fishhooks, tobacco.
>>>Maybe Limerick(s) plus "there was an old/young..." or plus Oxford.
>>>good luck,
>>>PS IIRC Charles L. Graves, the Bishop's son, eventually wrote for Pink 'Un,
>>>though later. Also Wilkes the owner of a NY newspaper (with 1863 poems) once
>>>owned Police Gazette (the 1880 Limerick source), and similar to Pink 'Un.
>>>Kipling was in the US when an 1895 letter from his publisher Heinemann
>>>mentioned Limericks....
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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