Monday, May 13, 2013

Relearning Lear, for his birthday's here

Edward Lear, 12 May 1812
to 29 January 1888)
Madeleine Begun Kane at her Limerick-Off Monday, has reminded us  of Edward Lear, the founding father of the Limerick, with whom we dealt earlier this month at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
The man who invented the limerick, and who lived with it many years thereafter, is entitled to be recognized more than once, isn't he? After all, Madeleine says May 12 is his date of birth. Well, then, the least we can do, is besmirch his memory with yet another gimicky limericky.*

*Did you notice the word limericky, with the addition of a space,
becomes the soda Lime Ricky?

Life is just full of surprises, if only we keep our eyes and ears open. I'm sure Edward Lear believed that, or he would have refused to write the first limerick, or else he'd have let it die a natural death some years ago.

One day I was trying to buff
a limerick that was too rough
if Edward Lear
only were here
he’d help me get it up to snuff.
Now, Mr. Lear, I sorely fear
my limerick is very near
to awful, my friend,
and it won’t amend
without help from you, Mr. Lear.

Lear's self-description in verse, How Pleasant to know Mr. Lear, ends with this reference to his own mortality:
He reads but he cannot speak Spanish, 
He cannot abide ginger-beer;
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish, 
How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
Five of Lear's limericks from the Book of Nonsense, in the 1946 Italian translation by Carlo Izzo, were set to music for choir a cappella by Goffredo Petrassi in 1952.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Indeed it takes a scribble or two
to make a verse rhyme, or even construe
that it's at all a verse
with which to disperse
all the nonsense 'bout "I cannot do.."!

8*\ and I love that you put all the history too.... YAM xx

Sleepshort said...

A lot of great people were born in May, so my wife tells me. Guess when her birthday is.
Thanks for this fascinating fun post.

Mama Zen said...

Most excellent limericks!