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The Owl and the Pussycat

By

Edward Lear

“The Owl and the Pussycat” is a whimsical poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1871. The poem tells the story of an unlikely duo – an owl and a cat – who set sail on a romantic adventure in a pea green boat.

The two embark on a journey filled with singing, dancing, and revelry, eventually arriving at the land of the Bong-Tree, where they marry and live happily ever after.

The poem is renowned for its nonsensical and playful language, as well as its charming and fantastical imagery. It continues to be popular today, both as a children’s story and as a delightful piece of poetry for all ages.

Note to parents: this is a vintage story and contains some themes that may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive children.

The Owl and the Pussycat book cover.

The Owl and the Pussycat

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!”

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.

“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 dinèd 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.

Author

  • Edward Lear was an English artist, poet, and author who is best known for his nonsense poetry and limericks. Lear was born in 1812 in London and began drawing and writing at a young age. He was a prolific artist and is known for his landscapes, seascapes, and animal paintings. Lear began writing nonsense poetry in the 1830s and is credited with popularizing the genre. His nonsense poetry is characterized by its playful language, absurd themes, and whimsical illustrations. Lear's most famous collection of nonsense poetry, "A Book of Nonsense," was published in 1846 and remains a beloved classic of children's literature. In addition to his poetry, Lear also wrote and illustrated several books of nonsense verse and prose, including "The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple" and "The History of the Twelve Dreams of the Sun."