National Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of English artist, illustrator, author and poet Edward Lear (May 12, 1812 – Jan. 29, 1888), who is known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry, prose and limericks.
Limerick poems (named for the Irish city of Limerick) belong to the typically Victorian tradition of nonsense literature and were popularized by Lear’s “Book of Nonsense” in 1846.
A limerick is a very short, humorous, nonsense poem, formed by five lines with a fixed rhyme scheme and a fixed metrical pattern.
There was a young lady of Wales,
Who caught a large fish without scales;
When she lifted her hook;
She exclaimed, “Only look!”
That ecstatic young lady of Wales.
§ § §
There was an Old Person of Gretna,
Who rushed down the crater of Etna;
When they said, “Is it hot?”
He replied, “No, it’s not”
That mendacious Old person of Gretna
§ § §
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!’
Tentativo di traduzione:
C’era una ragazza del Galles,
Che catturò un gran pesce senza scaglie;
Quando sollevò la lenza
Esclamò: “Toh, ma pensa!”
Quell’estatica ragazza del Galles.
C’era un vecchio di Gretna,
Che precipitò nel cratere dell’Etna;
Quando gli chiesero “Fa caldo laggiù?”
Lui rispose: “Mai più “
Quel vecchio mendace di Gretna
C’era un vecchio barbuto
Che disse: “ L’ho proprio temuto!
Due gufi e un pulcino,
Quattro allodole e un canarino,
Hanno costruito il nido nel mio mento barbuto “