Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The Owl and the Pussycat by artist Jan Brett

The Owl and the Pussycat
by Edward Lear
English (1812 - 1888)

I
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!'

II
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.

III
'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.

Jan Brett's Owl and Pussycat

The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat
(Unfinished)
by Edward Lear

Our mother was the Pussy-cat, our father was the Owl,
And so we're partly little beasts and partly little fowl,
The brothers of our family have feathers and they hoot,
While all the sisters dress in fur and have long tails to boot.
    We all believe that little mice,
  For food are singularly nice.
Our mother died long years ago. She was a lovely cat
Her tail was 5 feet long, and grey with stripes, but what of that?
In Sila forest on the East of fair Calabria's shore
She tumbled from a lofty tree -- none ever saw her more.
Our owly father long was ill from sorrow and surprise,
But with the feathers of his tail he wiped his weeping eyes.
And in the hollow of a tree in Sila's inmost maze
We made a happy home and there we pass our obvious days.

From Reggian Cosenza many owls about us flit
And bring us worldly news for which we do not care a bit.
We watch the sun each morning rise, beyond Tarento's strait;
We go out before it gets too late;
And when the evening shades begin to lengthen from the trees
 as sure as bees is bees.
We wander up and down the shore
Or tumble over head and heels, but never, never more
Can see the far Gromboolian plains
Or weep as we could once have wept o'er many a vanished scene:
This is the way our father moans -- he is so very green.

Our father still preserves his voice, and when he sees a star
He often sings to that original guitar.

The pot in which our parents took the honey in their boat,
But all the money has been spent, beside the £5 note.
The owls who come and bring us nows are often ------
Because we take no interest in poltix of the day.)

[from The Faber Book of Nonsense Verse, edited by
Geoffrey Grigson; first published in 1938 in
Davidson's Edward Lear.]
 

back to children's poetry index

back to main poetry index

Links to Edward Lear:

Edward Lear Home Page

~*~

Illustrations by Jan Brett
The Owl and the Pussycat

copyright 1991 by G. P. Putnam's Sons
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY   10016

821.8 - dc20        90-32244        ISBN 0-399-21925-0