Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Nov 12 23:16:48 UTC 2009

More disappointment from the "19th Century UK Periodicals"
database.  All searches except (4) are from all journals in the database.

1)  "Limerick" alone, 1870-1895, came up with nothing helpful.

2)  "come up to" and "bring to" (without "Limerick"), prior to 1895,
came up with nothing helpful.

3)  "Limerick" + "Oxford", prior to 1895, came up with nothing useful.

4)  "Limerick" in the Sporting Times, prior to 1895, did produce one
hit (about an MP from there), so searching that journal is not vacuous.

On the other hand:

5)  The following seems very tenuous, but:

Punch, 1862 Nov 22, page 209:

Limerick Literature
      It may not seem to most persons very important what an
_Irishman_ says about anything. But when an Irishman supposes to be
his thoughts get into print the warning brogue is lost ... and a
hasty reader may feel annoyed at what he supposes to be an English or
Scotch utterance.
      [The article goes on to discuss an Irish newspaper writer who
has displayed poor spelling, bad grammar, and a deficient knowledge
of a character from 18th-century Spanish history.]

[Is it possible that "limerick" for the rhyme arose from an
association of the Irish with poor writing?  (As I said, very
tenuous.)  I can, however, provide a couple more scurrilous
commentaries upon the Irish that I happened across while looking for
"Limerick" --a learned Irish judge who has married his aged cook; or
an illustrated tale from Limerick of a rustic Pat who meets on the
lane and is bested by a performing pig that had escaped from a circus.]

6)  A limerick from Limerick:

The Sporting Times [London], 1895 October 25, p. 6.

An Irish contractor, Pat Googahan,
Supplies us with Limerick beogahan,
    It's true that the pork
    Come chiefly from Cork;
But thousands, they tell me, he's meogahan.

[So here we have Limerick, a limerick, and the Sporting Times all
together -- but it's a bit late, and naturally doesn't tell us that
such rhymes are called "limericks".]
[I could also use a translation.]

7)  A puzzle, essentially a rebus.  For example, between the text
"The Soil is equally sui-" and "for grazing and for" is a picture of
a table.  The puzzle is titled "Limerick" -- but it is about the
county of Limerick.


At 11/4/2009 12:51 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>There's disappointment and perhaps discovery in the "19th Century UK
>Periodicals" database (Gale)....

The American Dialect Society -

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