Observed annually on May 12th, National Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of English artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear (12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888)
Limericks were not created by Lear, but he published 212 of those poems, with accompanying illustrations and drawings, and popularised them.
They are witty, humorous, or nonsense poems of five lines, with the first, second and fifth usually rhyming with one another and the shorter third and fourth lines rhyming with each other. They often incorporate a kind of twist, which may be revealed in the final line and their content may be hilariously childish and, sometimes, slightly obscene.
The origin of the name limerick is a reference to the City or County of Limerick in Ireland and may derive from an earlier form of nonsense verse game which might date back as far as 500 years.
The reason limericks are so much fun is because they are short, amusing, rhyming, and have a bouncy rhythm that makes them easy to remember.
There was a bold lady called Jean
Who spent a whole year quarantined
When asked why a year
She replied not for fear
But at home I felt more serene.
L’impavida signorina Maddalena
passò tutt’un anno in quarantena
Alla domanda: un anno…?
rispose: è un malanno
che ancor non mi lascia serena.