- Verbal abuse and insulting ditties, ballads, limericks, and other doggerel had long been directed at the monarch, his ministers, close family, and mistresses as well as at the elites of the kingdom by their social inferiors.
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late 19th century: said to be from the chorus “Will you come up to Limerick?,” sung between improvised verses at a gathering.
The city of Limerick, on the River Shannon in the west of the Irish province of Munster, gets its name for the Irish for ‘bare patch of ground’. In a country famous for its crack, or enjoyable sociability, tradition has it that in the past it was the custom for people to improvize a piece of nonsense verse. The audience would then follow every performance with a chorus containing the words ‘Will you come up to Limerick?’ Through this the town gave its name to the humorous five-line poem made particularly popular by Edward Lear in A Book of Nonsense ( 1845).
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