Lear:Dost thou call me fool, boy?
Kent [disguised]: This is not altogether fool, my lord. (William Shakespeare, King Lear. 1.4.146-48)
[Before becoming outraged that I have used Shakespeare to preface limericks, remember that he often juxtaposed the highbrow and lowbrow and the comical and the serious. He was the sort of person to place, at a dramatic point in a tragedy, lines such as the following: “Villain, I have done thy mother” (Aaron from Titus Andronicus)…
There was once a lady in pink
Who covered her skin all in ink.
But when she was old,
Those tattoos would fold,
And she’d wish that to nothing they’d shrink.
“Death of a Parasite”
A man was once sent to his grave
By a people he’d tried to enslave.
‘twas and ending quite fit
For that greedy old Brit
Who took always more than he gave.
A man with a hole in his brain
Once boogied in front of a train.
As the train came along,
The man danced to a song
About the avoidance of pain.
“A Dream of Cream”
There was once an old man with a dream
To ingest a few gallons of cream.
When the task was complete,
He arose from his seat,
And his trousers then split at the seam.
With too great an abundance of time,
Carl confessed to too many a crime.
‘Til came there a day
When cops blew him away
For having thus wasted their time.
5 limericks by Paul Burgess
P.S. I do not intend to imply any comparison between a limerick-writing hack and the language’s greatest writer…
*I have added the previously missing line to “A Dream of Cream”