Limericks are ‘a five-line comic verse following the syllable pattern 8, 8, 6, 6, 8 with the rhyme scheme AABBA – where the 1st, 2nd and 5th lines rhyme with each other, and the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme with each other also.
Early limericks, such as the nonsense verse of Edward Lear, repeat line 1 in line 5. However, recent verse does not always follow this model.
from: DfEE (2000) Grammar for Writing, Section 7, p. 198
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