LimericksBIRDS IN THE BEARD (published in CA News, December 2004) 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!' CAPRICIOUS CAPERS published in CA News There was an Old Person of Ischia, Whose conduct grew friskier and friskier; He danced hornpipes and jigs, And ate thousands of figs, That lively Old Person of Ischia. DEFLATED published in CA News, said at Horatian Society There was an Old Man in a boat, Who said ‘I’m afloat! I’m afloat!’ When they said ‘No! you ain’t!’ He was ready to faint, That unhappy Old Man in a boat. TERRA FIRMA published in CA News There was a Young Lady of Portugal, Whose ideas were excessively nautical: She climbed up a tree, to examine the sea, But declared she would never leave Portugal. SHOE SHOCK Said at Horatian Society dinner There was an Old Man of the Wrekin Whose shoes made a horrible creaking; But they said ‘Tell us whether Your shoes are of leather, Or of what, you Old Man of the Wrekin?’ NONCHALANT There was a Young lady of Norway Who sat herself down in a doorway. When the door squashed her flat, She exclaimed ‘What of that?’ This courageous Young lady of Norway. TOO LONG BY HALF There was an old man of Coblenz, The length of whose legs was immense ; He went with one prance, from Turkey to France, That surprising old man of Coblenz. EASTERN PROMISE There was a young lady of Tyre, Who swept the loud chords of a lyre ; At the sound of each sweep, she enraptured the deep, And enchanted the city of Tyre. UNHEEDED There was an Old Man who said, "Well! Will nobody answer this bell? I have pulled day and night, till my hair has grown white, But nobody answers this bell!" DIRGE OF A SHREW There was an old person of Tartary Who divided his jugular artery. But he screeched to his wife, and she said »Oh, my life! Your death will be felt by all Tartary. » VULCAN’S STITHY published in CA News 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. ATHLETE’S FEAT There was a Young Girl of Majorca, Whose Aunt was a very fast walker; She walked seventy miles, and leaped fifteen stiles, Which astonished that Girl of Majorca. STRICT REGIMEN published in CA News There was an Old Person of Sparta Who had twenty-five sons and one daughter; He fed them on snails, and weighed them in scales, That wonderful person of Sparta. MAD COW There was an Old Man of Aôsta, Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her; But they said, 'Don't you see, she has rushed up a tree? You invidious Old Man of Aôsta HONG KONG There was an old man of Hong Kong Who never did anything wrong. He lay on his back With his head in a sack, That innocuous old man of Hong Kong. DOOM WITH A VIEW There was an Old Person of Florence, Who held mutton chops in abhorrence; He purchased a Bustard, and fried ihm in Mustard, Which choked that Old Person of Florence, DISCOMBOBULATED CA News and Horatian Society There was an Old Person of Diss, Who said, ‘It is this! It is this!’ When they said, ‘What?’ or ‘Which?’ – He jumped into a ditch, Which absorbed that Old Person of Diss.
Lyra Limerica* barbatus hospes nidificantium: ‘fit quod timebam! strix, trochilus, canens gallina cum bubone, alaudae quattuor, inseruere nidos.’ * lasciviores Inarimae, senex, misces choreas; innumerabiles mandis, Pithecusæe, ficus; fersque pedem numeris marinis. * ‘heus, nonne no? no! nat mea trabs,’ ait vir lintre vectus; praetereuntium cui turba: ‘tu non nas.’ recessit deficiens miserandum in alveum. * non Lusitanae mente cadunt maris naves; ut aequor spectet, in arborem conscendit. inde effata: ‘nunquam te, Tage, teque, Duri, relinquam.’ * raucis cothurnis improbe Cornovi, crepide crocis. ‘ num corio crepis? quonamve?’ sic horrent canoras carbatinas Viroconienses. * Septentrionum nubilis incola incauta portae sedit in ostio. elisa, ‘quidnam tum?’ vigore clamat Hyperboreos feroci. * immensa saltans ex Asia gradu imponit uno crura Parisiis, quem Rhenus eduxit Mosella compare sesquipedaliorem. * Phoenissa chordas raucisonas lyrae cum nympha magnis verreret ictibus, immane delectabat aequor et Tyriam recreabat urbem. * ‘longum sonanti num quis adest seni? canescit, inquam, caesaries mihi: pernoxque tinnitu vocavi perque diem: neque oboedit ullus.’ * qui Chersonesi se iugulaverat dat soricinas gutture nenias. cui sponsa: ‘vexabuntur omnes morte tua, mea vita, Tauri.’ * ex Hadriani moenibus advena cratera in Aetnae desilit irruens. ‘ardetne?’ ‘nequaquam.’ fefellit Scoticus Empedocles Sicanos. * tu dena vadis milia septies, ter quinque sepes tu superevolas, matertera, admiranda nepti: quin Baliaris hians stupescit. * o pasta proles fotaque cochleis! examinasti tu, pater, unicam post quinque vigintique natos, mire Lacon, trutina puellam. * Praetorianus possidet haud levem perditque vaccam. ‘nonne vides?’ ait vicinus, ‘ascendit comantes, invidiose, oneratque ramos.’ * urbs, a Britannis reddita Seribus! vir, purus omnis criminis improbi, velavit in sacco supinus innocuum caput, et recumbit. * non Arniensem lanigeri caro delectat agni. comparat otidem, quae fricta cum flavo sinapi fauce premit perimitque Tuscum. * Icenus, annis nempe senilibus marcens, ‘id hoc est’, inquit, ‘et hoc id est’. cum ‘quid? quod?’ aut ‘quod? quid?’ rogarent, desilit excipiturque fossa.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès