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!"

nonsense pictures
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.

nonsense pictures
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."

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