Edward Lear Poems

Edward Lear Poems (the Simple Silly Limerick Collection)

Can you mention Limericks and silly writing that makes one grin come to mind when thinking of Edward Lear and most poetry lovers. The content of this article should bring a few to mind next time Edward Lear poems are being discussed.

Edward Lear Poems

The Life of Edward Lear

Lear, who was born in 1812 close to London as the youngest of 21 children, was raised by his sister Ann, who served as their mother for the most of their life.

He wasn’t in the best of health; he had epilepsy and asthma, the former of which caused him a lot of humiliation throughout his life. Lear also had occasional depression as a result of it.

Early on, he recognized a talent for sketching and was hired by the Zoological Society. Later, during his several trips to Egypt and India, he also made several striking landscape paintings.

Edward Lear, though, is better renowned for his writing. When he published his illustrated book A Book of Nonsense in 1846, he contributed to the popularization of limericks among the public.


The Owl and the Pussycat

Edward Lear Poems

The poem The Owl and the Pussycat is well-known to most kids since it has been a standard bedtime story for over 150 years.

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!”

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.

“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.


During his lifetime, there was an intriguing notion that Earl Edward Stanley, Lear’s alleged sponsor, had really penned all of this popular gibberish instead of Edward Lear.

The usage of words—both actual and invented—was celebrated in Lear’s work, and he appeared to take great pleasure in the sounds and rhythms that resulted from their collision in his verse.

He was a lifelong nomad, and there has always been the theory that this characteristic was somehow a reflection of the ambiguity and melancholy that frequently seeped into his work despite its lightheartedness.

Lear valued Earl Stanley’s patronage highly because he had minimal formal education from high school or college. It also provided him with a way out of his prior life’s poverty and entrance to middle class society. But most crucially, it enabled him to travel.

When Lear’s health started to be an issue, especially during the winter, when his lungs looked to be pretty seriously affected, the Earl handed him money to travel to Italy.

Edward Lear Poems

Most of his limericks offer a humorous portrait of people who exhibit a specific oddity, such as an excessively big nose or a loud voice, as in the case of the “Old Man of the South.”

Old Man of the South

There was an Old Man of the South,
Who had an immederate mouth;
But in swallowing a dish,
That was quite full of fish,
He was choked, that Old Man of the South.

Lear spent most of his life traveling, and he finally made San Remo, on the coast of Italy, his permanent home. His health gradually deteriorated while he remained there, and in 1888, at 76, he passed away from heart illness.

When he was honored on a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988, it was a hundred years later, and people were still thinking about him with affection.

There Was an Old Lady Whose Folly

There was an Old Lady whose folly
Induced her to sit in a holly:
Whereupon by a thorn
Her dress being torn,
She quickly became melancholy.

There Was an Old Man in a Tree

There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a bee.
When they said “Does it buzz?”
He replied “Yes, it does!
It’s a regular brute of a bee!”


There was a Young Lady Whose Eyes

There was a young lady whose eyes,
were unique as to colour and size;
When she opened them wide,
people all turned aside,
and started away in surprise.

There Was an Old Person of Nice

There was an old person of Nice,
Whose associates were usually Geese.
They walked out together, in all sorts of weather.
That affable person of Nice!

The Quangle Wangle’s Hat

On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his Hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody every could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.II.

The Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree, —
“Jam; and jelly; and bread;
“Are the best food for me!
“But the longer I live on this Crumpetty Tree
“The plainer than ever it seems to me
“That very few people come this way
“And that life on the whole is far from gay!”
Said the Quangle Wangle Quee.III.

But there came to the Crumpetty Tree,
Mr. and Mrs. Canary;
And they said, — “Did every you see
“Any spot so charmingly airy?
“May we build a nest on your lovely Hat?
“Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
“O please let us come and build a nest
“Of whatever material suits you best,
“Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!”IV.

And besides, to the Crumpetty Tree
Came the Stork, the Duck, and the Owl;
The Snail, and the Bumble-Bee,
The Frog, and the Fimble Fowl;
(The Fimble Fowl, with a corkscrew leg;)
And all of them said, — “We humbly beg,
We may build out homes on your lovely Hat, —
“Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
“Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!”V.

And the Golden Grouse came there,
And the Pobble who has no toes, —
And the small Olympian bear, —
And the Dong with a luminous nose.
And the Blue Baboon, who played the Flute, —
And the Orient Calf from the Land of Tute, —
And the Attery Squash, and the Bisky Bat, —
All came and built on the lovely Hat
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.VI.

And the Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree, —
“When all these creatures move
“What a wonderful noise there’ll be!”
And at night by the light of the Mulberry moon
They danced to the Flute of the Blue Baboon,
On the broad green leaves of the Crumpetty Tree,
And all were as happy as happy could be,
With the Quangle Wangle Quee.

The opening and end lines of each of King Lear’s limericks are the same, and he frequently pits his characters against an enigmatic “they” who, in retrospect, appear to be the anonymous members of society who were too conformist or too formal.

What do you think about Edward Lear and his creativity with ink and thinking? To learn fully the meaning of poems, establishing a forum for discussion can be active energy put into understanding poems.

Why don’t you share this collection with other poetry enthusiasts. We still would love to read your findings from this active form of learning in the comment box below.

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