The Owl and the Pussycat
by EDWARD LEAR (1812-1888)Anthology of English Verse, Vol. 1
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,
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,
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 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,
They danced by the light of the moon.
The 1871 tale of the amorous owl and his future feline bride was often included in readers around the third and fourth grade level in the first half of the 20th century. In one, Edward Lear was described as “an Englishman who was, with the exception of Lewis Carroll, the author of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the greatest writer of nonsense rhymes in the English language.
This musical version of the poem by Stuart Robinson is from 1935.