"come to Limerick" antedate and Limerick (verse) etymology suggestion

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun Jan 11 22:53:55 UTC 2009


There's an additional early cite using Newspaperarchive--1861.

15 August 1861 _Kenosha(WI) Times_  2/6

"Nice Young Men" come to Limerick, or you will be brought there."
(An advertisement requesting that all those who ate the "free lunch"
provided by a John C. Spencer in times past to now pay up.--ed.)

Sam Clements

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Goranson" <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 10:27
Subject: "come to Limerick" antedate and Limerick (verse) etymology

> Limerick, the Irish place name, and "come to Limerick" in 19th-century US
> slang,
> and the naming--circa 1896?--of the 5-line nonsense verse as Limerick may
> all be
> related.
> HDAS gives three quotes with "come to Limerick." HDAS: "fr. Limerick, town
> and
> county in Ireland; the allusion is obscure; perh. cf. "Will You Come Down
> to
> Limerick" title of a slip jig in F. O'Neill The Dance Music of Ireland
> (1907)...In phrase come to Limerick (of a person) to behave properly; come
> to
> the point; make sense."
> The music reference is to sheet music without song words. Nonetheless we
> recall
> the (unsubstantiated?) claims made in the 20th-century of 19th-centuries
> parties
> with sung 5-line nonsense verses and chorus of "Will you come up to
> Limerick" or
> similar words.
> The HDAS definitions of "come to Limerick" work, but, based on more uses,
> the phrase may have also meant "come to a conclusion" [perhaps like "do a
> Limerick," "make like Limerick"] or, originally, "settle" or "surrender."
> Evidently, this phrase arose (or at least became widespread) in the US
> Civil
> War and may be a reference to the earlier Civil War in Ireland which was
> concluded in 1691 at Limerick. The meaning eventually transfered from
> civil war
> to domestic and political disputes and absurd stories, perhaps including
> verbal
> contests and nonsense verses.
> 1862 Feb 17 [in Western Sun March 1] Corporal Thomas B. Thompson [of
> Indiana]...discovered a sesesh hid under a bush pile lying in a stream of
> water, and nearly frozen--made him "come to Limerick" and show where his
> gun
> was concealed.
> Indiana Magazine of History 1934 v30 n3 p284
> 1864 Jan 8 The Badax Tigers: From Shiloh to the Surrender with the 18th
> Wisconsin Page 221-2  Thomas P. Nanzig  2002
> Dear Wife
> If Tom Stevenson had to borrow money of me to clear him from the draft, he
> would
> be pretty sure to go to war for instead of loaning him money to keep him
> out I
> would give 25 dollars to force him into the army for he is one of the few
> that
> I would like to see "come to Limerick."
> 1864 HDAS ..."Ho, Johnny, come to limerick."
> 1864 Quite Ready to Be Sent Somewhere: The Civil War Letters of Aldace
> Freeman
> Walker [of Vermont]- Page 196 ed. Thomas LeDoux 2002
> We are getting things to running first rate now; are provided with bunks
> all
> around, and the new men are learning to "come to Limerick." ...
> 1866 Iowa [decide to resign, after hesitating, come to the courthouse at
> the
> stated time and] come to Limerick
> Daily Iowa State Register Des Moines 6-9 v124 p2
> 1872 he will be obliged to come to Limerick in obedience
> Daily Iowa State Register Des Moines 8-23
> 1872 I tole her the time had come to stop foolishness, an' she mus' come
> to
> Limerick an' be mine
> Macon GA Weekly Telegraph 8-2   322
> 1874 Feb 4 NYT [NY Tribune claimed "startling documents" but are they
> forged?]
> Cincinnati Enquirer: "if...in a less respectable newspaper, we would
> certainly
> think that it meant "Come to Limerick.'"
> 1877 HDAS Don't go about it in a sneaking [or Jesuitical] way but "come to
> Limerick" at once with the question.
> 1887 HDAS {Civil War fiction] "I'll bring him to Limerick"...
> 1890 Omaha Daily Bee  [Neb.]
> May 30, 1890, Page 4, Image 4
> feels that he owns the man or has a double-action mortgage on his ward
> alderman
> which he intends to foreclose at the next city election unless the
> alderman
> comes to Limerick or passes around the "turkey."
> 1893 Come to Limerick Mr. Green!
> The Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City [Utah) 1870-1909
> March 08, 1893, Page 4, Image 4 [LOC newspapers; political humor col.]
> !896 A. Beardsley letters
> 1896 Barry Popik ADS-L Judy, or the London serio-comic journal, [cf.
> Murray's
> guess on a London weekly] June 24, p615 col. 1 "Guest of the Hour: The G.
> O.
> M." "Limerick stanzas"
> 1896 he's been keeping company with her for goin' on three years, an' I
> guess at
> last she made up her mind to bring him to Limerick [or throw him out the
> window]
> Philadelphia Inquirer 9-27 v135 no 89 p32
>  Bristol Times And Mirror  Tuesday, November 09, 1897 Bristol,
> Gloucestershire... Pg. 7, col. 8:
>   Cambridge has a weakness for Limericks.  The following, emanating from
> "The Granta," is going the round of the College rooms with attendant
> applause:--
>      There once was a Marquis of Magdalene,...
> 1898 OED: Cantab 6 Oct., Contents, Illustrated Limericks
> 1898 OED: Notes & Queries exchange on Limerick etymology
> 1900 The Evening Times (Washington, D.C)
> September 18, 1900, Page 4, Image 4
> [Emery alleges that Boyle has violated the bond, and now he is going to
> make
> him] come to Limerick [LOC]
> 1907 [a couple locked up in a room] If after a month they had not come to
> Limerick they got the writ [of divorce]
> Lexington KY Herald 7-28 {and reprints]
> Stephen Goranson
> http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
> "Jannaeus, His Brother Absalom, and Judah the Essene"
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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