The limerick packs laughs anatomical
Into space that is quite economical,
But the good ones I’ve seen
So seldom are clean,
And the clean ones so seldom are comical.
The limerick is furtive and mean,
You must keep her in close quarantine,
Or she sneaks to the slums
And promptly becomes
Disorderly, drunk and obscene.
A bather whose clothing was strewed
By winds, that left her quite nude,
Saw a man come along,
And, unless I am wrong,
You expected this line to be rude.
The limerick’s callous and crude,
Its morals distressingly lewd;
It’s not worth the reading
By persons of breeding -
It’s designed for us vulgar and rude.
It needn’t have ribaldry’s taint
Or strive to make everyone faint.
There’s a type that’s demure
And perfectly pure,
Though it helps quite a lot if it ain’t.
At Harvard a randy old Dean
Said: ‘The funniest jokes are obscene.
To bowdlerize wit
Takes the shit out of it -
Who wants a limerick clean?’
There was a young lady... tut tut!
So you think that you’re in for some smut?
Some five-line crescendo
Of lewd innuendo?
Well, you’re wrong. This is anything but.
(Stanley J. Sharpless)
Well, it’s partly the shape of the thing
That gives the old limerick wing;
These accordian pleats
Full of airy conceits
Take it up like a kite on a string.
Anon., Idem, Ibid. and Trad.
Wrote much that is morally bad:
Some ballards, some chanties,
All poems on panties -
And limericks too, one must add.
The limerick’s an art form complex
Whose contents run chiefly to sex;
It’s famous for virgins
And masculine urgin’s
And vulgar erotic effects.