I hope this does not plebify me, but I've always felt disappointed by Lear's limericks, in which the final line is virtually a recapitulation of the first, and is therefore something of an aniclimax.
Now "The Jumblies"...
I agree with Alpy that Lear's Limericks are fairly tame affairs.
Mind you, the bard's Limericks weren't much better. Edgar's last line does not rhyme
S. Withold footed thrice the old;
He met the night-mare, and her nine-fold;
Bid her alight,
And her troth plight,
And, aroint thee, witch, aroint thee!
(William Shakespeare: King Lear, ActIII, Scene iiii)
This is one better, just:
"And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink
A soldier's a man;
A life's but a span;
Why, then, let a soldier drink."
(William Shakespeare: Othello, Act II, Sceneiii)
On the other hand, Edward Lear's longer poems listed earlier are much finer (to which I would add the clever Jabberwocky) whilst his drawings and watercolours (especially those he made of Mediterranean lands) are exquisite.
Yes, though Jabberwocky is by Lewis Carroll. The limericks aren't so good, though I think they need to go with the illustrations for effect, and they were intended for children (who might have been much happier reading them than some of the 'improving' stories and verses which were the standard fare). Mr & Mrs Discobbolos was perhaps one nonsense poem where Lear was drawing on his experience of growing up in a large family (even if only for a short time).On the other hand, Edward Lear's longer poems listed earlier are much finer (to which I would add the clever Jabberwocky) whilst his drawings and watercolours (especially those he made of Mediterranean lands) are exquisite.
The Owl and the Pussycat - sublime! I used to love his 'botanical' creations, such as this, Nasticreechia Krorluppia:
When I visited the Red House in Aldeburgh, the entrance hall was dominated by a large Lear painting that Pears had bought at auction, Pines at Ravenna.
(Don't tell me. I know. I can get a Britten reference into just about any discussion )
Last edited by Mary Chambers; 05-01-12 at 22:16.
I hope that Edward Lear fans have been following Radio 3's essay series this week in his honour. The majority of the essays are by academics, but tomorrow's is a whimsical piece by the cartoonist Ralph Steadman, reflecting on what he and Lear have in common.
Hello, lutra, and welcome!
For reference, the series (now on LA) starts here, and - for vinteuil's sake! - there's one on his work as an artist (I think it's on tonight).
I think maybe they'll be available as a podcast (available for 30 days) once the series has ended. They don't seem to go up on a daily basis.
I have an 1889 edition of the Book of Nonsense, in terrible condition, it has been mauled by about five generations of children, the latest being me. I intend to repair it, then get it rebound. I agree that making the last line the same as the first is a bit of a let-down. Rude ones are the best:
"There was a young man of Madras
Whose b***s were made out of brass
In windy weather
They rubbed together
And sparks flew out of his a**e."
I also have a print of his Eagle Owl, a most ferocious beast. My mum used to have two of his parrot prints, but I think my sis must have made off with them. He was a very fine draughtsman.