Limerick (poem) antedating Nov. 30, 1880

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 5 03:46:26 UTC 2010

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at>wrote:

> Mark, because the tune is identified as "Won't You Come Up to Limerick?"
> and
> later testimony declares that "Won't you come up to Limerick?" was often
> sung as a refain.

Thank you; that's the link I was missing.

> I'll go even further. The common noun "Limerick" is short for
> "Limerick verse/ stanza," from the former practice of performing stanzas of
> that form followed by the refrain, "Won't (Will) You Come [(Up) or (Down)]
> to Limerick?" to an Irish tune so titled.
> The refrain easily fits the tune, but the stanzas do not. This suggests
> that
> the stanzas may originally have been declaimed rather than sung.
> The melodic evidence:
> The current tune for singing limericks possibly comes from trying to
> adapt the Irish tune to the verse stanza. I feel a resemblance, but it may
> be accidental.
> Stephen's discovery may be the most important in limerick scholarship since
> the publication of Lear's nonsense verses.

I'll drink to that!

m a m

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list