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 thestars 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!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried,
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose, his nose,
With a ringat the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Said the Piggy, "I will."
So they took it away, and were married next day
By theTurkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince* and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon; **
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.
by Edward Lear (1812-88)
Edward Lear was born in London in 1812, the 20th of 21 children. Raised by an older sister after his father lost his fortune in the Stock Exchange and his mother abandoned all responsibilities to the family, he was frequently attacked by what he called "the Morbids" — debilitating and unpredictable mood swings. Despite these, however, he nurtured a remarkable talent for humorous drawing and writing at an early age. By 16 he was making a living as an ornothological illustrator and beginning what was to become a lifetime of avid traveling. Following the successful publication of his first Book of Nonsense in 1846, he was briefly hired as a drawing tutor for Queen Victoria. Frequent trips to Europe and the Middle East led him to publish of a long series of illustrated travel journals. More nonsense stories, rhymes, and illustrations followed — including the familiar poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" in 1867. Soon after, Lear settled permanently in Italy, occasionally submitting nonsense essays and drawings to weekly gazettes in London. His travels eventually took him all the way to India in 1874. He died at his Villa near San Remo in 1888.
*a finely chopped mixture (as of raisins,
apples, and spices) sometimes with meat