Classics  
English    1812 - 1888   
Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.
Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.

I

  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!
      They never came back!
      They never came back!
    They never came back to me!

II

  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!
  He never came back!
  He never came back!
He never came back to me!

III

  Calico Ban,
  The little Mice ran,
To be ready in time for tea,
  Flippity flup,
  They drank it all up,
  And danced in the cup,--
But they never came back to me!
  They never came back!
  They never came back!
They never came back to me!

IV

  Calico Drum,
  The Grasshoppers come,
The Butterfly, Beetle, and Bee,
  Over the ground,
  Around and around,
  With a hop and a bound,--
But they never came back to me!
  They never came back!
  They never came back!
They never came back to me!

King and Queen of the Pelicans we;
No other Birds so grand we see!
None but we have feet like fins!
With lovely leathery throats and chins!
    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!

We live on the Nile. The Nile we love.
By night we sleep on the cliffs above;
By day we fish, and at eve we stand
On long bare islands of yellow sand.
And when the sun sinks slowly down
And the great rock walls grow dark and brown,
Where the purple river rolls fast and dim
And the Ivory Ibis starlike skim,
Wing to wing we dance around,--
Stamping our feet with a flumpy sound,--
Opening our mouths as Pelicans ought,
And this is the song we nighly snort;--
    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!

Last year came out our daughter, Dell;
And all the Birds received her well.
To do her honour, a feast we made
For every bird that can swim or wade.
Herons and Gulls, and Cormorants black,
Cranes, and flamingoes with scarlet back,
Plovers and Storks, and Geese in clouds,
Swans and Dilberry Ducks in crowds.
Thousands of Birds in wondrous flight!
They ate and drank and danced all night,
And echoing back from the rocks you heard
Multitude-echoes from Bird to bird,--
    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!

Yes, they came; and among the rest,
The King of the Cranes all grandly dressed.
Such a lovely tail! Its feathers float
between the ends of his blue dress-coat;
With pea-green trowsers all so neat,
And a delicate frill to hide his feet,--
(For though no one speaks of it, every one knows,
He has got no webs between his toes!)

As soon as he saw our Daughter Dell,
In violent love that Crane King fell,--
On seeing her waddling form so fair,
With a wreath of shrimps in her short white hair.
And before the end of the next long day,
Our Dell had given her heart away;
For the King of the Cranes had won that heart,
With a Crocodile's egg and a large fish-tart.
She vowed to marry the King of the Cranes,
Leaving the Nile for stranges plains;
And away they flew in a gathering crowd
Of endless birds in a lengthening cloud.
    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!

And far away in the twilight sky,
We heard them singing a lessening cry,--
Farther and farther till out of sight,
And we stood alone in thesilent night!
Often since, in the nights of June,
We sit on the sand and watch the moon;--
She has gone to the great Gromboolian plain,
And we probably never shall meet again!
Oft, in the long still nights of June,
We sit on the rocks and watch the moon;--
----She dwells by the streams of the Chankly Bore,
And we probably never shall see her more.
    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!

There was an Old Person of Chili,
Whose conduct was painful and silly,
He sate on the stairs,
Eating apples and pears,
That imprudent Old Person of Chili.

There was an Old Man with a flute,
A sarpint ran into his boot;
But he played daay and night,
Till the sarpint took flight,
And avoided that man with a flute.

There was an Old Man of Peru,
Who watched his wife making a stew;
But once by mistake,
In a stove she did bake,
That unfortunate Man of Peru.

I

On the Coast of Coromandel
Where the early pumpkins blow,
In the middle of the woods
  Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,--
One old jug without a handle,--
    These were all his worldly goods:
    In the middle of the woods,
    These were all the worldly goods,
  Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

II

Once, among the Bong-trees walking
  Where the early pumpkins blow,
    To a little heap of stones
  Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
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!'
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

III

'Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
  'Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
    'Will you come and be my wife?'
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
'I am tired of living singly,--
'On this coast so wild and shingly,--
    'I'm a-weary of my life:
    'If you'll come and be my wife,
    'Quite serene would be my life!'--
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

IV

'On this Coast of Coromandel,
  'Shrimps and watercresses grow,
    'Prawns are plentiful and cheap,'
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
'You shall have my chairs and candle,
'And my jug without a handle!--
    'Gaze upon the rolling deep
    ('Fish is plentiful and cheap)
    'As the sea, my love is deep!'
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

V

Lady Jingly answered sadly,
  And her tears began to flow,--
    'Your proposal comes too late,
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
'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,
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!'

VI

'Mr. Jones--(his name is Handel,--
  'Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
    'Dorking fowls delights to send,
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
'Keep, oh! keep your chairs and candle,
'And your jug without a handle,--
    'I can merely be your friend!
    '--Should my Jones more Dorkings send,
    'I will give you three, my friend!
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!'

VII

'Though you've such a tiny body,
  'And your head so large doth grow,--
    'Though your hat may blow away,
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
'Though you're such a Hoddy Doddy--
'Yet a wish that I could modi-
    'fy the words I needs must say!
    'Will you please to go away?
    'That is all I have to say--
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
  'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!'.

VIII

Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
  Where the early pumpkins blow,
    To the calm and silent sea
  Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
Lay a large and lively Turtle,--
    'You're the Cove,' he said, 'for me
    'On your back beyond the sea,
    'Turtle, you shall carry me!'
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

IX

Through the silent-roaring ocean
  Did the Turtle swiftly go;
    Holding fast upon his shell
  Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
With a sad primaeval motion
Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
    Still the Turtle bore him well.
    Holding fast upon his shell,
    'Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!'
  Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

X

From the Coast of Coromandel,
  Did that Lady never go;
    On that heap of stones she mourns
  For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
On that Coast of Coromandel,
In his jug without a handle
    Still she weeps, and daily moans;
    On that little hep of stones
    To her Dorking Hens she moans,
  For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
  For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

I

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
  'Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
  As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
  I wish I could hop like you!'
  Said the duck to the Kangaroo.

II

'Please give me a ride on your back!'
  Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
'I would sit quite still, and say nothing but "Quack,"
  The whole of the long day through!
And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;--
  Please take me a ride! O do!'
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

III

Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
  'This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
  And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
  And would probably give me the roo-
  Matiz!' said the Kangaroo.

IV

Said the Duck ,'As I sate on the rocks,
  I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
  Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I've bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I'll smoke,
  All to follow my own dear true
  Love of a Kangaroo!'

V

Said the Kangaroo,'I'm ready!
  All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
  And quite at the end of my tail!'
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
  And who so happy,--O who,
  As the duck and the Kangaroo?

There was Old Man in a pew,
Whose waistcoat was spotted with blue;
But he tore it in pieces
To give to his nieces,
That cheerful Old Man in a pew.

There was an old man in a barge,
Whose nose was exceedingly large;
But in fishing by night,
It supported a light,
Which helped that old man in a barge.

There was a Young Lady of Portugal,
Whose ideas were excessively nautical:
She climbed up a tree,
To examine the sea,
But declared she would never leave Portugal.

There was an old man of Blackheath,
Whose head was adorned with a wreath,
Of lobsters and spice,
Pickled onions and mice,
That uncommon old man of Blackheath.

There was a young lady in white,
Who looked out at the depths of the night;
But the birds of the air,
Filled her heart with despair,
And oppressed that young lady in white.

I

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!'

II

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?'
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 ring at the end of his nose.

III

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
  Your ring?'Said the Piggy,'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
  By the Turkey 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.

There was a young lady of Corsica,
Who purchased a little brown saucy-cur;
Which she fed upon ham,
And hot raspberry jam,
That expensive young lady of Corsica.

I

The Nutcrackers sate by a plate on the table,
  The Sugar-tongs sate by a plate at his side;
And the Nutcrackers said, 'Don't you wish we were able
  'Along the blue hills and green meadows to ride?
'Must we drag on this stupid existence for ever,
  'So idle so weary, so full of remorse,--
'While every one else takes his pleasure, and never
  'Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?

II

'Don't you think we could ride without being instructed?
  'Without any saddle, or bridle, or spur?
'Our legs are so long, and so aptly constructed,
  'I'm sure that an accident could not occur.
'Let us all of a sudden hop down from the table,
  'And hustle downstairs, and each jump on a horse!
'Shall we try? Shall we go! Do you think we are able?'
  The Sugar-tongs answered distinctly,'Of course!'

III

So down the long staircase they hopped in a minute,
  The Sugar-tongs snapped, and the Crackers said 'crack!'
The stable was open, the horses were in it;
  Each took out a pony, and jumped on his back.
The Cat in a fright scrambled out of the doorway,
  The Mice tumbled out of a bundle of hay,
The brown and white Rats, and the black ones from Norway,
  Screamed out, 'They are taking the horses away!'

IV

The whole of the household was filled with amazement,
  The Cups and the Saucers danced madly about,
The Plates and the Dishes looked out of the casement,
  The Saltcellar stood on his head with a shout,
The Spoons with a clatter looked out of the lattice,
  The Mustard-pot climbed up the Gooseberry Pies,
The Soup-ladle peeped through a heap of Veal Patties,
  And squeaked with a ladle-like scream of surprise.

V

The Frying-pan said, 'It's an awful delusion!'
  The Tea-kettle hissed and grew black in the face;
And they all rushed downstairs in the wildest confusion,
  To see the great Nutcracker-Sugar-tong race.
And out of the stable, with screamings and laughter,
  (Their ponies were cream-coloured, speckled with brown,)
The Nutcrackers first, and the Sugar-tongs after,
  Rode all round the yard, and then all round the town.

VI

They rode through the street, and they rode by the station,
  They galloped away to the beautiful shore;
In silence they rode, and 'made no observation',
  Save this: 'We will never go back any more!'
And still you might hear, till they rode out of hearing,
  The Sugar-tongs snap, and the Crackers say 'crack!'
Till far in the distance their forms disappearing,
  They faded away.--And they never came back!

There was an old man of Dumbree,
Who taught little owls to drink tea;
For he said, 'To eat mice,
Is not proper or nice'
That amiable man of Dumbree.

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who sat on a horse when he reared;
But they said, "Never mind!
You will fall off behind,
You propitious Old Man with a beard!"

There was an Old Man of Calcutta,
Who perpetually ate bread and butter,
Till a great bit of muffin,
On which he was stuffing,
Choked that horrid Old Man of Calcutta.

I

The Broom and the Shovel, the Poker and the Tongs,
  They all took a drive in the Park,
And they each sang a song, Ding-a-dong, Ding-a-dong,
  Before they went back in the dark.
Mr. Poker he sate quite upright in the coach,
  Mr. Tongs made a clatter and clash,
Miss Shovel was all dressed in black (with a brooch),
  Mrs. Broom was in blue (with a sash).
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
    And they all sang a song!

II

'O Shovel so lovely!' the Poker he sang,
  'You have perfectly conquered my heart!
'Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! If you're pleased with my song,
  'I will feed you with cold apple tart!
'When you scrape up the coals with a delicate sound,
  'You encapture my life with delight!
'Your nose is so shiny! your head is so round!
  'And your shape is so slender and bright!
    'Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
    'Ain't you pleased with my song?'

III

'Alas! Mrs. Broom!' sighed the Tongs in his song,
  'O is it because I'm so thin,
'And my legs are so long--Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
  'That you don't care about me a pin?
'Ah! fairest of creatures, when sweeping the room,
  'Ah! why don't you heed my complaint!
'Must you needs be so cruel, you beautiful Broom,
  'Because you are covered with paint?
    'Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
    'You are certainly wrong!'

IV

Mrs. Broom and Miss Shovel together they sang,
  'What nonsense you're singing to-day!'
Said the Shovel, 'I'll certainly hit you a bang!'
  Said the Broom, 'And I'll sweep you away!'
So the Coachman drove homeward as fast as he could,
  Perceiving their anger with pain;
But they put on the kettle and little by little,
  They all became happy again.
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
    There's an end of my song!

There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, 'I'm afloat, I'm afloat!'
When they said, 'No! you ain't!'
He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.

 
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