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the history of the limerick from the variant of the usual limerick in ‘The prehistoric stage, where relics are few Peace of Dives,' and even stranger and insufficient, to the historical, where varieties in other poems. So unusual there is a blaze of glory shining on the they are that few, I suppose, recognize record. Here is a limerick which surely them as limericks, and none have possesses a vivid beauty; who would to my knowledge — mentioned such guess from his other works that Lear notice in writing. ever wrote thus:
In future generations, enlightened There was a Young Lady of Tyre,
by the renewal of vision, men will reWho swept the loud chords of a lyre; gard Carolyn Wells as the ideal rebel At the sound of each sweep
against the materialism of our time, She enraptured the deep,
in the most important limericks that And enchanted the city of Tyre.
are being written to-day. For, scorning Dear me, how very unobservant I am! the narrowness of a zoology book, she I shall have to withdraw my compli- creates with true poetic imagination a ment, for, as Lear's illustration shows, new and gorgeous animal-world of her the Young Lady was using a broom! own:Here is another limerick of Lear's: —
The Lollipopossum, it seems,
Is made out of chocolate creams.
He hangs by his tail
From a bough or a rail,
And he has most remarkable dreams.
Likewise she is the leading writer with the ‘Nonsense Rhyme in Blank of those limericks which attain great Verse,' which it inspired in W. S. suggestiveness by spelling words in Gilbert:
remarkable fashion, on the analogy There was an old man of St. Bees,
of other words similarly pronounced. Who was stung in the arm by a wasp;
I forbear giving an example from her When they said, 'Does it hurt?'
work, as I consider that the masterHe replied, “No, it does n't,
piece of this type appeared long ago But I thought all the while 't was a hornet.
in the Harvard Lampoon: Next we find that the limerick seems
An amorous M. A. to be the favorite verse form of artists.
Says that Cupid, the C. D., Of the painters known to have written
Does n't cast for his health, limericks only a few are Whistler,
But is rolling in wealth Rossetti, and Du Maurier. The last,
He's the John Jaco-B. H. besides succeeding very well in writing Reader, is your tongue straightened limericks in French, composed a classic out yet? Then let us proceed. Would in English, — of a sort, — which I that I might, in closing, give you a recommend to all Americanization wide selection from popular anonymous propagandists: —
limericks, great numbers of which are I am gai, I am poet. I dwell
part and parcel of our daily speech. Rupert Street, at the fifth. I am svell. You would there see, for the first time And I sing tra-la-la,
perhaps, the prototypes in limerick And I love me mamma,
form of moss-grown tales that you have And the English, I speak him quite well.
heard over the boards of every vaudeAfter this are the serious poems in ville house, that you have read in the limerick form which have come to my pages of every comic magazine. You attention. Kipling used a strange would weep with sheer delight at seeing
so many old friends joined in a re
ON THE PERSONALITY OF OUR union. But alas! two facts prevent me from giving you this delight: the ma
POSSESSIONS jority of these beloved brethren are too THERE can be no gainsaying the fact disreputable in their morals to gain that the neighbors, in Congress assemadmittance to this magazine; and the bled, have voted our family slightly others are so numerous that any selec- queer. It is not that we 'put on airs'; tion would be grossly unfair, incom- that we dress in an eccentric manner; plete, and arbitrary. How could I that we speak in accents strange; or slight the feelings of so many boon that our lives are any less well-ordered companions of my youth? No, it would than theirs. Oh no, it is none of these never do. I shall end, rather, by indic offenses against the well-established cating the balms for afflicted mortals social standards of a New England that are found in limericks. Have you town. The whole affair may be vague suspicions of approaching bald- summed up in a simple statement: – ness? Then comfort yourself by the We have named our lawn mower pathetic verses of Gelett Burgess: - Gideon! I'd rather have fingers than toes,
A seemingly unimportant matter, I'd rather have ears than a nose, this, but what a difference in viewpoint And as for my hair,
it represents! To us, Gideon is a cheerI'm glad it's all there,
fully and helpfully pugilistic person I'll be awfully sad when it goes.
who, shouting his battle-slogan, sallies Does excessive modesty make you forth once a week to quell the upstart redden at every ambiguous remark?
ranks of grass who are mobilizing for a Turn for consolation to this famous
rebellion. To our neighbors, Gideon is limerick, by an unknown though cer
- a lawn mower; and he is nothing tainly illustrious writer:
more. There was a young lady named Banker,
Perhaps even Gideon might be forWho slept while the ship lay at anchor;
given us, if he were all; but the fact is, She awoke in dismay
as I can hear them protest, — When she heard the mate say: Now hoist up the top-sheet and spanker.'
“They have names for everything, There are endless other panaceas
even the electric toaster!'
It is true. We have. And in the eyes I could give you from the recipe book of the limerick, but unfortunately for
of our neighbors, therefore, we are
‘queer.' In this particular respect they my benevolence, this magazine is not
consider us morons; we have never equally endless. It is fitting, however,
quite outgrown the infinitely childish for me to close with a remedy appropriate to my own troubles. If, like me,
practice of naming our possessions.
This fact modifies their respect for our you belong to the great army of the
opinions. It makes no difference how ugly and unashamed, – as I hope
learned and enlightened we may appear from a spirit of comradeship you do, –
in our discussion of religion, politics, you will join with former President Wilson and myself in treasuring this
gardening, or modern poetry — they
mentally shake their heads and remain limerick of Richard Burton's: —
unconvinced. We have a lawn mower For beauty I am not a star,
named Gideon. There are others more handsome by far;
Of course they admit that it is per-
fectly proper to name the family cats, It's the people in front that I jar.
provided always that one remain true to orthodox titles like Thomas, Tab Oh yes — we may be queer, even itha, Fluffy, or Nigger. If one desires silly. But how else can you treat your to deviate a bit, perhaps even Buddy friends? They are so indispensable or Skipper are permissible; but when and they all radiate such diverse, but one departs to such nomenclature as sympathetic and jovial personalities. Boswell, Eli, Boadicea, Huckleberry I would no sooner think of leaving them Finn, or Señor Don Alonzo Estaban unnamed than the family next door San Salvador, - this last as applied would consider allowing the new baby to a small blue-eyed scrap of a Maltese to grow up without appellation. Oh kitten, - really, is n't it going a bit too yes, our lawn mower's name is Gideon far? And as for the outlandish practice and, according to the lights of our of identifying the feathered denizens matter-of-fact neighbors, we may be of the poultry-house by such names as queer. And yet — I wonder! Oliver, Harry, Walter, Ben Hur, Prunella, Elizabeth, and Martha -- it
'AMERICA FOR AMERICANS' is quite unspeakable!
But, worst of all, they point out, is SOMETIMES, especially of late years, a this naming of things — inanimate Canadian who happens to be domiciled objects! One day my sister, in display- in the United States has a momentary ing some snapshots, turned to one en- image of himself as a man without a titled 'Alice and Annabel.' Yes, there country, or rather, without a continent; was Alice, right enough, but —
he experiences much the same symp'Where is Annabel?' politely in- toms as Mr. Leacock associates with quired our guest.
the sartorial disease of fractura sus"Oh, don't you see?' my sister re pendorum, or broken suspenders — a plied ingenuously; ‘Annabel is the tree sinking feeling accompanied by a sense beside which Alice is standing.'
of loss. For he listens to Senator A look of blankness swept over our X's announcement that 'America' will friend's face.
or will not intervene in Europe; he ‘Oh, I see,' she faltered.
learns how Representative Y thinks But plainly her mental vision was ‘America' ought to improve Mexico; obscured, even when we pointed out to he sees moving-pictures of an Olympic her our slender, lissome Annabel. To hockey match in which Canada beat us, it would be little short of sacrilege ‘America'; he reads of what ‘America'is to speak of Annabel as 'that maple doing for Christ in the financial report tree in the front yard.' To our friend of the Southern Baptist Church; he any other designation was impossible. hears, with concern for dear ones in
It is the same way with Othello, our Ontario and Saskatchewan, that Kanplump, jolly little air-tight wood stove; sas reformers hope to carry a bill in with Araminta, the comforting, moth- Washington to banish cigarettes from erly, hot-water bottle; with Adelaide 'America.' and Galahad, the sturdy, dependable Everywhere, in conversation, in oil-heaters; with David, the dignified newspapers, in books, 'America' means elm tree; with Honza, my friendly the United States; Canada as an inteviolin; with Barnum and Bailey, our gral part of the continent does not seem two shimmering goldfishes; with pon- to exist in the average ‘American' mind derous, verbose Doctor Johnson, the — not to mention the spacious trg typewriter; and with a host of other named South America. And this habit possessions.
is not confined to the duller classes;
ation. To our maple
Professor Sherman, for instance, writes American (much less a hundred-pera book of brilliant essays on aspects of cent American) without being quite life and letters in the United States, misunderstood. As for the noun Amerand entitles it The Genius of America. ica, as synonymous with the United
This little article is not meant to stir States, that cannot be justified at all, up war; it is only a modest inquiry into for the book of books has laid it down the mysteries of nomenclature and that a part is not equal to a whole. mental habit and perhaps patriotism. Many good people in the United Canada has eight million people or so, States have some astonishing notions and the United States something over about Canada. I have talked to some a hundred million, and the relative — voters — who knew that Queen Vicimportance of the two countries is, at toria now reigns in Montreal, the present, in about the same proportion. national capital; as citizens of a free But in a few generations the disparity country, they felt a little sorry for me, may be rather less, and even now one of many ground under the heel of Canadians may feel a certain good- despotism. One widespread delusion, humored reluctance to resign their nourished by the movies and the redshare of the continent to a great neigh blooded school of fiction, represents all bor. After all, Canada occupies quite a Canada as a wilderness of ice and snow, respectable strip of territory, and, on where virile American heroes, in the the map, which, like the grave, levels Canadian business suit of furs, revolvall distinctions, it is certainly half ers, and snowshoes, breathe husky and of America.
virile proposals into the fur earlappers There is of course a difficulty in such of pure, ardent, courageous heroines, a name as 'United States. However in the great silences of the North inspiring in itself, for rhetorical and Country, under the Northern Lights adjectival purposes it is clumsy. When and the malignant eyes of a lynx on Independence Day a Congressman crouching in a tree. A young woman or Chautauqua orator runs his hands from Georgia once gurgled with dethrough his hair and cries What is lighted fear at the thought of my drivAmerica's answer?' the effect on patri- ing through the Canadian woods. It otic bosoms is vastly more thrilling was vain to protest that I had never than ‘What is the United States's driven anything wilder than a Buick, answer?' And you can't thump your- that I had never seen gray wolfish self (or somebody else) on the chest and shapes gliding among the tree trunks — say, 'I'm a hundred-per-cent United that was only the modesty of a strong, Stateser,' or, 'I speak United Statesish' silent man. She loved me for the – which last, as someone has saiddangers I had passed, and I — well, sounds like the housemaid mopping what average male of sedentary purthe front steps. With the adjective suits would rudely insist on destroying American, as applied to men and things a gushing damsel's picture of himself as of the United States, one probably a strong, silent man? can't quarrel; it seems unavoidable — But when individual Canadians since Mr. Mencken's circumlocutions achieve fame in the United States, are too long for daily use. Yet it is ‘America' takes them warmly to her rather odd that while an Englishman heart and appropriates them henceor a Frenchman or a Dutchman is a forth as Americans. Sir William Osler European, a Canadian or a Mexican or was, and Llewellys Barker is, 'the great a Brazilian cannot call himself an American medical authority.' Bliss Carman appears in Mr. Untermyer's St. Lawrence begin to ask, soon after anthology of American verse. How leaving Toronto, 'How far is it to many readers of the Saturday Evening Montreal?' Post are aware of the Canadian origin The web of Canadian life is highly of such typical American figures as the colored by American influence. There following, who, in various ways, adorn are some real, and countless surface, or have adorned the American scene: similarities of tone and temper, both Franklin K. Lane, Jacob Gould Schur- good and bad. We suffer the familiar man, Mary Pickford, Mack Sennett, maladies of American' civilization, Willard Mack, Arthur Stringer, Har- though in a less aggravated form. Our vey O'Higgins, Frank L. Packard, breakfast food comes form Battle Charles G. D. Roberts, Theodore Creek, a portion of our intellectual food Goodridge Roberts, George Pattullo, from Hollywood, another portion from Alan Sullivan, Maud Allan, Elinor New York. Canada, as the weaker Glyn? Distinguished Canadian pro- vessel, naturally receives much more fessors, if professors mattered, might than it gives, and is not wholly blessed be enumerated by the hundred; they thereby. But in spite of the apparent infest practically every American col- identity of Canada and the United lege. Some celebrities who remain in States in their ways of life and thought, Canada preserve their national roots Canada in its civilization is not merely intact, at least partly. I have seen Mr. the most northern state in the Union. Leacock's contributions to the gayety Canada has a distinct individuality, of nations welcomed in American liter- which Canadians feel, and feel deeply. ary and college journals as emanating This Canadian quality has not got
as who should say 'Harbard University, beginning to; and there is a real and New Haven.'
not insignificant school of Canadian However, Canada is growing more painters. familiar to citizens of the United So, with much that is ‘American,' States. Thanks to prohibition, hospi- and much that is English, and much table Quebec has become the oracle of that is its own, that part of America Bacbuc for thousands of pious pilgrims, which is Canada might well join an Antifrom Maine to California; and all sum- Lucy-Stone League of Nations and mer long, motorists speeding along the gently insist on sharing its betternorthern side of Lake Ontario and the half's name.