Edward Lear Poems

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Edward Lear
Edward Lear (12 May 1812 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator and writer known for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form which he popularised. He was born in Highgate, a suburb of London, the 20th child of his parents and was raised by his eldest sister, Ann, twenty-one years his senior. At the age of fifteen, he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together. He started work as a serious illustrator and his first publication, at the age of 19, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830. His paintings were well received and he was favourably compared with Audubon. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson's poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published, but his vision for the work was never realised. Lear briefly gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria, leading to some awkward incidents when he failed to observe proper court protocol. He did not keep good health. From the age of six until the time of his death he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, as well as bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first epileptic fit while sitting in a tree. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a fit in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate his fits is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears or an "aura" before the onset of a fit. In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks which went through three editions and helped popularise the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Lear's nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumour circulated that "Edward Lear" was merely a pseudonym, and the books' true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works: his patron the Earl of Derby. Adherents of this rumour offered as evidence the facts that both men were named Edward, and that "Lear" is an anagram of "Earl".

the owl and the pussy-cat
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some ho... [read poem]
to my husband on our wedding-day
I leave for thee, beloved one,
The home and friends of youth,
Trusting my hopes, my ha... [read poem]
Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, ... [read poem]
the soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That i... [read poem]
the dong with a luminous nose
When awful darkness and silence reign
Over the great Gromboolian plain,
Through the lo... [read poem]
the beginning
Some day I shall rise and leave my friends
And seek you again through the world's far ends,... [read poem]
sonnet reversed
Hand trembling towards hand; the amazing lights
Of heart and eye. They stood on supreme heights... [read poem]
on the death of smet-smet, the hippopotamus-goddess
Song of a tribe of the ancient Egyptians

(The Priests within the Temple)

She... [read poem]
When the white flame in us is gone,
And we that lost the world's delight
Stiffen in darkne... [read poem]
the chilterns
Your hands, my dear, adorable,
Your lips of tenderness
- Oh, I've loved you faithfully and... [read poem]

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