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Can You Ace Our Literary Limerick Quiz?


Edward Lear drawing
In addition to writing limericks and other literary nonsense, Edward Lear was an accomplished artist. See his bird drawings in our Digital Collections.


Happy Limerick Day! This day is celebrated annually on the birthday of Edward Lear, who popularized the limerick with his Book of Nonsense in 1846.

We asked our NYPL book experts to—you guessed it—write some book-related limericks. We even asked their friends and families to play along.

But before you read this post, check out our limerick quiz:


And then check out our complete list of bookish limericks!

The Five Kings are all a-frothing,
Jon Snow, dude still knows nothing,
The Imp is cunning
And Dany’s running
While Margaery’s betrothing.

(A Game of Thrones and the rest of the series by George R.R. Martin)


There was an American Psycho
Who, I'm hoping, spoke fake braggadocio.
But I can't finish his story,
It's way violent and too gory.
Read for yourself; you're forewarned, though.

(American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis)


Two tramps named Didi and Gogo
Felt their lives dragging by in slow-mo
As they chattered, and prated,
And waited, and waited,
And waited for no-show Godot.

(Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett)


I've fallen in love again:
Mr. Darcy, Gilbert Blythe and then
James Fraser's brogue
Any duke, rake or rogue
I think books have ruined me for men.


The young man from the South packed his case
And moved Harlem-ward seeking his place
He at last understood
Why it all was no good
Can't you see him? He's in front of your face!

(Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison)


The Mad Hatter called to Tweedle Dee,
"Let's have dear Alice over for tea."
She became so small,
to fit down the hall,
And all but the queen met her gleefully.

(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)


There was a young lady from France
Who looked at her husband askance
After quite an affair
With a gent debonair
She ended up in death's hands.

(Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert)


Through dry dunes he trudged with butterfly net
Fell in with a widow and the trap was set
When they drew up the ladder
It just made him madder
That is until the raven trap turned wet

(Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abé)


There was a girl with hair of blue
Her friends knew her as Karou
Collected teeth all day
To stave off a fray
But little did she know, she would lead a coup

(Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor)


A friendship between two angst-y teens,
leads to some complicated scenes.
They laugh, they cry,
they watch the sky
As they find out that they are both Queens

(Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz)


They claimed him a monster, a mad-king
She went to keep maidens from dying
Her stories soothed his heart
Curses could not keep them apart
Is their love worth saving?

(The Rose and the Dagger, sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renée Ahdieh or its older version, The Arabian Nights)


There once was a family went walking
The Mom and the brother both balking
But the girl lost her way
Staying out of the fray
And promptly was victim of stalking

(The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King)


A bright green light glows past the bay
Causing Jay Gatsby to frown and say
Are my shirts not enough
To stave off a rebuff?
So close and yet so far away

(The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)


There once was a girl of mind keen
Who ran away with the wind green
Through land of the fay
She ventured all day
And with her friends toppled a queen.

(The Girl Who Circumnavigated the Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente)


There once was an orphan named Jane
Who loved with her whole heart in vain
They thought her a mouse
Until she left Rochester's house
But came back to heal his pain

(Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)


A squirrel got caught in a vacuum,
Oh, how awful! Is what you'd assume.
But through through fortune or fate,
He gained powers of great!
And now all he needs is a costume! 

(Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo)


Mr. Bloom went out to wander
Dublin's streets, the beach, and yonder
At the end of the day
Molly had her own say
An odyssey for all to ponder

(Ulysses by James Joyce)


Hickory, dickory, dock
There's an "A" upon her frock
Young Hester Prynne
Committed a sin
And sent the whole town into shock.

(The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne)


A man made a bet with great flair
To cross the world by sea, land, and air
Came home in a haze
after 80 long days
And finished with moments to spare

(Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne)


One boring day it was raining
Two kids just sat there complaining
Then in came a cat
wearing a hat
From mischief there was no refraining

((The Cat in The Hat by Dr. Seuss)


Here are the limericks from the quiz!

There once was a child of dentists,
always ready to finish your sentence.
The class's best witch,
always good in a glitch:
Hermione, she is the bestest!

(The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)


There once was a man from Nantucket
A sea captain down on his luck-et
While hunting for oil
He lost his mortal coil
Along with his first mate Starbuck-et

(Moby Dick by Herman Melville)


A monomaniacal beast,
A Brobdingnagian feast.
There's no need to shudder:
he's just a cute butter-
fly, now his sequestering's ceased.

(The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle)


There once was a chap Winston Smith.
For Julia he risked all to be close with.
Tortured by rats,
Poor proletariats!
What a sad world where love is illicit... 

(1984 by George Orwell)

Poor Gregor changed into a bug
And now is a burdensome lug.
What should we do?
Let expenses accrue?
Let him die, father says with a shrug.

(The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka)


From Shakespeare, we hear of a thane
who interrupted his liege lord's reign
Witches said to proceed
Lady M took the lead
But now, trees are attacking his Dunsinane.

(Macbeth by William Shakespeare)


All work and no play makes Jack dull.
All work and no play makes Jack dull.
Stress is taking its toll.
Hotel's claiming his soul.
Plus all work and no play makes Jack dull.   

(The Shining by Stephen King) 


From Russia comes a story so dire,
About Anna --- her heart set afire
By Vronsky the flirt,
Who made her desert
Her husband, now filled with ire.

(Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)

Thanks to our library staff and their families and friends who wrote these limericks! Nancy Aravecz (Metamorphosis), Leslie Bernstein (men), Kathie Coblentz (Godot), Barbara Cohen-Stratyner (Macbeth), Jessica DiVisconte (Scarlet), Rebecca Donsky (Bovary), Sandra Farag (Daughter), Althea Georges (Girl who Circumnavigated), Gwen Glazer (Invisible Man), Lyndsie Guy (80 Days),  Mina Hong (Anna Karenina), Ronni Krasnow (Cat in the Hat), Emily Lazio (Flora), Christina Lebec (The Shining), Suzanne Lipkin (Ulysses), Sherry Machlin (1984), Meredith Mann (Moby Dick), Jeremy Megraw (Woman in the Dunes), Kay Menick (Harry Potter), Emily Merlino (Gatsby), Alexander Mouyios (Aristotle), Maura Muller (Tom Gordon),  Katrina Ortega (American Psycho), Jenny Rosenoff (Alice), Jill Rothstein (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Anne Rouyer (Jane), Joshua Soule (Game), and Chantalle Uzan (Rose).


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

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