There was a young lady of Erskine,
Who had a remarkably fair skin.
When I said to her, "Mabel,
You look, nice in your sable,"
She replied, "I look best in my bare skin".
Taken from Arlo Belshee, Pomona College
A 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.
And I must add this one to allow my mathematical side a chance to take flight... (Try it, it works!)
A dozen, a gross, and a score,
Plus three times the square root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five time eleven,
Equals nine squared plus zero, no more.
Certainly the limerick need'nt be dirty or crude:
It need'nt 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.
Here's one for computer nerds (like most anyone reading this page).
A computer, to print out a fact
will divide, multiply and subtract.
But this output can be
no more than debris
if the input was short of exact.
One witty writer of clever, as opposed to crude, limericks, was Monsignor Ronald Knox.
He wrote the following in respect to Bishop Berkley's idea that things exist only when observed:
There once was a man who said: 'God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad.'
The reply to this is usually also attributed to Knox:
Dear Sir, Your astonishment's odd;
I'm always about in the Quad;
And that's why this tree
Will continue to be
Since observed by Yours Faithfully, God.
A tribute to math in Indiana:
'Tis a favorite project of mine
A new value for pi to assign.
I would fix it at 3,
For it's simpler, you see,
From Derek Barry, England:
The arms of a barmaid from Yale
Were tattooed with the price of the ale
And on her behind
For the use of the blind
Was the same information, in Braille.