Edward Lear

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And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Edward Lear (12 May 181229 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator and writer known for his nonsensical poetry and his limericks, a form which he popularised.


  • There was an Old Man with a beard,
    Who said, "It is just as I feared!—
    Two Owls and a Hen,
    Four Larks and a Wren,
    Have all built their nests in my beard!"
  • How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
    Who has written such volumes of stuff!
    Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
    But a few think him pleasant enough.
  • His mind is concrete and fastidious,
    His nose is remarkably big;
    His visage is more or less hideous,
    His beard it resembles a wig.
    • How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear, st. 2.
  • Far and few, far and few,
    Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.
    • "The Jumblies", st. 1, in Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets (1871).
  • They went to sea in a sieve, they did;
    In a sieve they went to sea;
    In spite of all their friends could say.
    • "The Jumblies", st. 1, in Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets (1871).
  • Calico Pie,
    The little Birds fly
    Down to the calico tree,
    Their wings were blue,
    And they sang "Tilly-loo!"
    Till away they flew,—
    And they never came back to me!
  • Calico Jam,
    The little Fish swam,
    Over the syllabub sea,
    He took off his hat,
    To the Sole and the Sprat,
    And the Willeby-Wat,—
    But he never came back to me!
    • Calico Pie, st. 2.
  • Who, or why, or which, or what,
    Is the Akond of Swat?
  • On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
    The Quangle Wangle sat,
    But his face you could not see,
    On account of his Beaver Hat.
  • When awful darkness and silence reign
    Over the great Gromboolian plain,
    Through the long, long wintry nights.
    When the angry breakers roar
    As they beat on the rocky shore;—
    When Storm-clouds brood on the towering heights
    Of the Hills of the Chankly Bore
  • The Pobble who has no toes
    Had once as many as we;
    When they said, "Some day you may lose them all;"—
    He replied, — "Fish fiddle de-dee!"
  • It's a fact the whole world knows,
    That Pebbles are happier without their toes.
    • The Pobble Who Has No Toes, st. 6.
  • Ploffskin, Pluffskin, Pelican jee!
    We think no Birds so happy as we!
    Plumpskin, Ploshkin, Pelican jill!
    We think so then, and we thought so still!
  • On a little heap of Barley
    Died my aged uncle Arly,
    And they buried him one night;—
    Close beside the leafy thicket;—
    There, his hat and Railway-Ticket;—
    There, his ever-faithful Cricket;—
    (But his shoes were far too tight.)

The Owl and the Pussycat (1871)

  • The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea green boat,
    They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five pound note.
    The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
    "O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
    You are,
    You are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
    • St. 1.
  • They sailed away for a year and a day
    To the land where the bong-tree grows.
    • St. 2.
  • Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
    O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?"
    • St. 2.
  • "Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."
    • St. 3.
  • And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
    The moon,
    The moon,
    They danced by the light of the moon.
    • St. 3.

The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bongy-Bò (1877)

  • On the Coast of Coromandel
    Where the early pumpkins blow,
    In the middle of the woods
    Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    Two old chairs, and half a candle,—
    One old jug without a handle,—
    These were all his worldly goods.
    • St. 1.
  • There he heard a Lady talking,
    To some milk-white Hens of Dorking,—
    'Tis the lady Jingly Jones!
    On that little heap of stones
    Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!
    • St. 2.
  • I would be your wife most gladly!
    (Here she twirled her fingers madly,)
    But in England I've a mate!
    Yes! you've asked me far too late,
    For in England I've a mate.
    • St. 5.

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