What the heck is a Pobble?

The poem by Edward Lear, The Pobble That Had No Toes was the bane of my life when I was 7.  I had a teacher hell bent on making us learn it by heart.  It felt very tedious having to stand up and recite it.  I rebelled by pretending I had forgotten it.  On the other hand, The Owl and The Pussy Cat -  another poem by Mr Lear, makes me smile every time I hear it.  So when I saw this book I had to have it.  Aside from the lovely colour of the cover I wanted to learn more about the man behind the nonsense.  It turns out he was very shy, severely epileptic and not just a great writer but also a talented drawer and painter.  I wish he'd drawn a Pobble, at least I could put a face (if indeed it has one) to my childhood nemesis.

The following from the Edward Lear home page -  (http://www.nonsenselit.org/Lear/ns/pussy.html) .


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 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.


  1. We have a couple of old books about Lear, an interesting man I thought, with a wonderful imagination. We had to recite Wordsworth and the like at school, to this day I know 'I wandered lonely as a cloud...' from start to finish! Funny how some things stick in your mind.

  2. Yes, Lear is an interesting subject for a biography that's for sure. In the Bill Bryson book I read recently he accused Wordsworth of being a boring poet, with only a daffodil poem as a legacy... I then realised I don't know any other Wordsworth works.

  3. .. and what's a runcible spoon?!! Love The Owl and the Pussycat. A childhood favourite.

  4. I believe it was something plucked from the workings of Lears playful and original mind. Do you think it could be an extra curly one, like a ladle with a bend in it?!