(Originally posted at on November 21, 2010 9:49 PM)

There are a lot of good limericks out there, but the following three are my favorites.

The first one is from John Barrow’s Impossibility:  The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits (Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 6):

There was a young man of Milan
Whose rhymes they never would scan;
When asked why it was,
He said, ‘It’s because
I always try to cram as many words into the last line as ever I possibly can.’

The next one is from Douglas Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach:  An Eternal Golden Braid (Vintage Books, 1979, p. 483):

A turner of phrases quite pleasin’,
Had a penchant for trick’ry and teasin’.
In his songs, the last line
Might seem sans design;
What I mean is, without why or wherefore.

This last one is from Douglas Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas column in Scientific American (December 1982, p. 19) which he attributes to W. S. Gilbert:

There was an old man of St. Bees,
Who was stung in the arm by a wasp.
When asked, “Does it hurt?”
He replied, “No, it doesn’t—
I’m so glad it wasn’t a hornet.”


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