The Owl And The Pussycat


They sailed away, for a year and a day,
to the land where the Bong-tree grows

Another delight of being the father to a tot, and one who is lucky enough to be able to find the time to talk nonsense with her, is our ability to share favourite ‘odd’ rhymes.

Here’s one of our favourites by Edward Lear:

The Owl and the Pussycat 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.

The Cat said to the Pig:
“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.

Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were contemporaries. But where Lewis Carrol parodies true logic, Edward Lear plays on the sound of words, and so the verses are truly poetic.

Lear coined the term ‘Runcible Spoon’ in ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’. It is now taken to mean a fork, curved like a spoon, with three broad prongs, one of which has a sharpened outer edge for cutting. The Concise Oxford Dictionary suggests that he may have invented the word from the C16 rouncival, denoting a large variety of pea.

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