Edward Lear

(12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888 / London / England)

Edward Lear
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Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.


Lear was born into a middle-class family in the village of Holloway, the 21st child of Ann and Jeremiah Lear. He was raised by his eldest sister, also named Ann, 21 years his senior. Ann doted on Lear and continued to mother him until her death, when Lear was almost 50 years of age. Due to the family's failing financial fortune, at age four he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together.

Lear suffered from health problems. ... more »

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  • Calico Pie,
    The little Birds fly
    Down to the calico tree,
    Their wings were blue,
    And they sang "Tilly-loo!"
    Till away they flew—
    And they never came back...
    Edward Lear (1812-1888), British poet. Calico Pie (l. 1-6). . . Faber Book of Children's Verse, The. Janet Adam Smith, comp. (1953; paperback 1963...
  • ''\'How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!'
    Who has written such volumes of stuff!
    Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
    But a few think him pleasant enough.''
    Edward Lear (1812-1888), British poet. How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear (l. 1-4). . . New Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1950. Helen Gardner...
  • ''Who, or why, or which, or what,
    Is the Ahkond of Swat?''
    Edward Lear (1812-1888), British poet. The Ahkond of Swat (l. 1-2). . . Faber Book of Nonsense Verse, The. Geoffrey Grigson, ed. (1979) Faber and ...
  • On the Coast of Coromandel
    Where the early pumpkins blow,
    In the middle of the woods
    Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
    Two old chairs, and half a candle,—
    One old jug...
    Edward Lear (1812-1888), British poet. The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo (l. 1-8). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II...
  • ''I would be your wife most gladly!'
    (Here she twirled her fingers madly)
    'But in England I've a mate!
    Yes! you've asked me far too late,
    For in England I've a mate,''
    Edward Lear (1812-1888), British poet. The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo (l. 46-50). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-...
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  • Michael Baker (1/1/2013 4:18:00 AM)

    Where is The Owl and the pussycat? .

  • Christine Pointer (10/26/2005 4:43:00 PM)

    When I was in junior school I did not attend assemblies with the other children because of my religion. During the time that the others were singing hymns I was allowed to read my teachers precious copy of Edward Lear poems. This introduced me to the wonderful world of poetry and verse and of course reading. I found Mr. Lear's poems funny and endearing and full of visual delight.

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