(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/28/Limericks 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.”