May 12, 2005

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

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 look 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!
—Edward Lear from his poem The Owl and the Pussy-cat.
   To read the entire poem, see The Owl and the Pussycat online

Source: Edward Lear: The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense Edited by Vivien Noakes Penguin Books (U.S.A.) 2001 ISBN 0-14-20.0227-5

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's the birthday of the man who wrote,
    "There was an old man who supposed That the street door was partially closed, But some very large rats ate his coats and his hats While that futile old gentleman dozed."

That was Edward Lear, born in London (1812). He was the 20th of 21 children—almost half of whom had died in infancy. He was raised by his sister who taught him to paint birds and flowers.

There was a market for illustrated books about birds, so Edward Lear got into that business and became a successful bird illustrator. He always painted from life. He painted the specimens that Charles Darwin brought back from his trip on the H.M.S. Beagle,/cite>.

He suffered from depression, epilepsy, and terrible eyesight. He felt like an outcast in British society.

In 1832 came a turning point in his life. The Earl of Darby invited Edward Lear to come and paint all the animals in his private zoo, and Lear did and arrived at the estate and wound up spending most of his free time with the Earl's grandchildren. Edward Lear had never spent any time with children before. He found that he loved them. He became a clown. He sang songs for them, he drew cartoons, and he made up humorous poems.

And he wrote down those poems and they became his Book of Nonsense, which came out in 1846, the poem about the owl and the pussycat who went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat and the poem about the jumblies and others.

Source: Garrison Keilor's The Writer's Almanac for May 12, 2005

Posted by niganit at May 12, 2005 7:35 PM
More like this: Creative | Famous People | Humorous | Teaching


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