The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear

One of the first poems I recite when trying to soothe a fussy infant is “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” a poem I memorized through endless readings when I was a child. Its rollicking rhythm has bounced many a child to dreamland!

The Owl and the Pussycat

written and illustrated by Edward Lear

Lear Owl Cat 1

 

 

 

 

 

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!
Oh! 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.

Lear Owl Cat 2

 

 

 

 

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.

Lear Owl Cat 3

 

 

 

 

 

***

From Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets, by Edward Lear (the illustrations are his own), published in Boston by Roberts, 1894. Originally published in 1871.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also wish to read Edward Lear’s poem, “The Jumblies.”

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