Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Once a Lear
This writer of nonsense did worse:
He championed limerick verse
His wordplay and rhyme
ahead of his time
has left me a terrible curse
Happy birthday, Edward Lear. Lear's 1846 volume A Book of Nonsense popularized the limerick as a form of poetry. His most famous piece of nonsense is The Owl and the Pussycat. Both the limericks and illustrations at the top and which follow are all by Lear. I thought the first limerick might be hard to read, so I've transcribed it here:
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!"
There was an Old Man of the Coast,
Who placidly sat on a post;
But when it was cold he relinquished his hold,
And called for some hot buttered toast.
There was an Old Man on some rocks,
Who shut his Wife up in a box:
When she said, "Let me out," he exclaimed, "Without doubt
You will pass all your life in that box."