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By EDWARD LEAR
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
There was an Old Man of Dee-side,
Whose hat was exceedingly wide,
But he said "Do not fail, if it happen to hail
To come under my hat at Dee-side!"
There was an Old Man with a nose,
Who said, "If you choose to suppose,
That my nose is too long, you are certainly wrong!"
That remarkable Man with a nose.
There was an Old Man on a hill,
Who seldom, if ever, stood still;
He ran up and down, in his Grandmother's gown,
Which adorned that Old Man on a hill.
There was an Old Man at a casement,
Who held up his hands in amazement;
When they said, "Sir! you'll fall!" he replied, "Not at all!"
That incipient Old Man at a casement.
There was an Old Person of Burton,
Whose answers were rather uncertain;
When they said, "How d'ye do?" he replied, "Who are you?"
That distressing Old Person of Burton.
There was an Old Man of th' Abruzzi,
So blind that he couldn't his foot see;
When they said, "That's your toe," he replied, "Is it so?"
That doubtful Old Man of th' Abruzzi.
There was an Old Person of Ewell,
Who chiefly subsisted on gruel;
But to make it more nice, he inserted some mice,
Which refreshed that Old Person of Ewell.
There was an Old Man of Aôsta,
Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
But they said, "Don't you see, she has rushed up a tree?
You invidious Old Man of Aôsta!"
There was a Young Lady of Poole,
Whose soup was excessively cool;
So she put it to boil by the aid of some oil,
That ingenious Young Lady of Poole.
There was an Old Man of Thames Ditton;
Who called for something to sit on;
But they brought him a hat, and said—"Sit upon that,
You abruptious old man of Thames Ditton!"
There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
But they said—"It's absurd, to encourage this bird!"
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.
There was an Old Man of Marseilles,
Whose daughters wore bottle-green veils;
They caught several Fish, which they put in a dish,
And sent to their Pa' at Marseilles.
There was an Old Person of Slough,
Who danced at the end of a bough;
But they said, "If you sneeze, you might damage the trees,
You imprudent Old Person of Slough."
There was an Old Person of Fife,
Who was greatly disgusted with life;
They sang him a ballad, and fed him on salad,
Which cured that Old Person of Fife.
There was an Old Person of Crowle,
Who lived in the nest of an owl;
When they screamed in the nest, he screamed out with the rest,
That depressing Old Person of Crowle.
There was an Old Person in gray,
Whose feelings were tinged with dismay;
She purchased two parrots, and fed them with carrots,
Which pleased that Old Person in gray.
There was a Young Lady of Greenwich,
Whose garments were border'd with Spinach;
But a large spotty Calf, bit her shawl quite in half,
Which alarmed that Young Lady of Greenwich.
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Whose whiskers were lovely to see;
But the birds of the air, pluck'd them perfectly bare,
To make themselves nests in that tree.
There was an Old Man of Melrose,
Who walked on the tips of his toes;
But they said, "It ain't pleasant, to see you at present,
You stupid Old Man of Melrose."
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 a Young Lady of Ryde,
Whose shoe-strings were seldom untied;
She purchased some clogs, and some small spotty dogs,
And frequently walked about Ryde.
There was an Old Person of Jodd,
Whose ways were perplexing and odd;
She purchased a whistle, and sate on a thistle.
And squeaked to the people of Jodd.
There was a Young Lady of Norway,
Who casually sat in a doorway;
When the door squeezed her flat, she exclaimed "What of that?"
This courageous Young Lady of Norway.
There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent Bull;
But she seized on a spade, and called out—"Who's afraid!"
Which distracted that virulent Bull.
There was an Old Person of Rimini,
Who said, "Gracious! Goodness! O Gimini!"
When they said, "Please be still!" she ran down a hill,
And was never more heard of at Rimini.
There was an Old Person of Rye,
Who went up to town on a fly;
But they said, "If you cough, you are safe to fall off!
You abstemious Old Person of Rye!"
There was an Old Man, who when little
Fell casually into a kettle;
But, growing too stout, he could never get out,
So he passed all his life in that kettle.
There was an Old Man at a Junction,
Whose feelings were wrung with compunction,
When they said "The Train's gone!" he exclaimed "How forlorn!"
But remained on the rails of the Junction.
There was an Old Man, on whose nose
Most birds of the air could repose;
But they all flew away, at the closing of day,
Which relieved that Old Man and his nose.
There was an Old Person of Bray,
Who sang through the whole of the day
To his ducks and his pigs, whom he fed upon figs,
That valuable Person of Bray.
There is a Young Lady, whose nose
Continually prospers and grows;
When it grew out of sight, she exclaimed in a fright,
"Oh! Farewell to the end of my nose!"
There was an Old Man of Messina,
Whose daughter was named Opsibeena;
She wore a small wig, and rode out on a pig,
To the perfect delight of Messina.
There was an Old Man who said, "How
Shall I flee from this horrible Cow?
I will sit on this stile, and continue to smile,
Which may soften the heart of that Cow."
There was an 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 a Young Person of Bantry,
Who frequently slept in the pantry;
When disturbed by the mice, she appeased them with rice,
That judicious Young Person of Bantry.
There was an Old Person of Basing,
Whose presence of mind was amazing;
He purchased a steed, which he rode at full speed,
And escaped from the people of Basing.
There was an Old Lady of Prague,
Whose language was horribly vague.
When they said, "Are these caps?" she answered, "Perhaps!"
That oracular Lady of Prague.
There was an Old Person of Sparta,
Who had twenty-five sons and one daughter;
He fed them on snails, and weighed them in scales,
That wonderful Person of Sparta.
There was an Old Person of Dover,
Who rushed through a field of blue Clover;
But some very large bees, stung his nose and his knees,
So he very soon went back to Dover.
There was an Old Person of Anerley,
Whose conduct was strange and unmannerly;
He rushed down the Strand, with a Pig in each hand,
But returned in the evening to Anerley.
There was an Old Man of Dundee,
Who frequented the top of a tree;
When disturbed by the crows, he abruptly arose,
And exclaimed, "I'll return to Dundee."
There was an Old Man of the North,
Who fell into a basin of broth;
But a laudable cook, fished him out with a hook,
Which saved that Old Man of the North.
There was an Old Person of Prague,
Who was suddenly seized with the plague;
But they gave him some butter, which caused him to mutter,
And cured that Old Person of Prague.
There was an Old Man of Apulia,
Whose conduct was very peculiar;
He fed twenty sons, upon nothing but buns,
That whimsical Man of Apulia.
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 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 an Old Lady of Chertsey,
Who made a remarkable curtsey;
She twirled round and round, till she sunk underground,
Which distressed all the people of Chertsey.
There was a Young Lady of Lucca,
Whose lovers completely forsook her;
She ran up a tree, and said, "Fiddle-de-dee!"
Which embarrassed the people of Lucca.
There was a Young Lady of Wales,
Who caught a large fish without scales;
When she lifted her hook, she exclaimed, "Only look!"
That ecstatic Young Lady of Wales.
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.
There was an Old Person of Ickley,
Who could not abide to ride quickly;
He rode to Karnak, on a tortoise's back,
That moony Old Person of Ickley.
There was an Old Man of the West,
Who never could get any rest;
So they set him to spin, on his nose and his chin,
Which cured that Old Man of the West.
There was an Old Person of Woking,
Whose mind was perverse and provoking;
He sate on a rail, with his head in a pail,
That illusive Old Person of Woking.
There was an Old Lady of France,
Who taught little ducklings to dance;
When she said, "Tick-a-tack!"—They only said, "Quack!"
Which grieved that Old Lady of France.
There was an Old Person of Gretna,
Who rushed down the crater of Etna;
When they said, "Is it hot?" he replied, "No, it's not!"
That mendacious Old Person of Gretna.
There was an Old Person of Bree,
Who frequented the depths of the sea;
She nurs'd the small fishes, and washed all the dishes,
And swam back again into Bree.
There was an Old Man of Toulouse,
Who purchased a new pair of shoes;
When they asked, "Are they pleasant?"—He said, "Not at present!"
That turbid Old Man of Toulouse.
Excerpted from Nonsense Poems by EDWARD LEAR. Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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