The Owl and the PussyCat by EDWARD LEAR its history and influence
"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat"
Is a timeless and whimsical poem written by the English artist, illustrator, and poet Edward Lear, born 12th of may 1812.
Edward Lear was initially known for his talent as a natural history painter, specializing in illustrations of birds and animals. He was largely self-taught and possessed a natural artistic ability from a young age. His early influences included his sister, who was also an artist, and his relationship with Lord Derby, who recognized Lear's talent and encouraged him to pursue his artistic abilities.
Lear's transition to poetry was influenced by his illustrations as he often included them in his literature. His limericks, which became his signature style, were first published in "A Book of Nonsense" in 1846. Despite his success as a poet, Lear was initially reluctant to be associated with his limericks, as he was more focused on being recognized as a serious artist in high society.
Published in 1871 as part of Lear's collection entitled "Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets" the poem has since become one of Lear's most beloved and enduring works.
The Original image drawn by Lear
The original poem
"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."
An early poetry book Published by FREDERICK WARNE, LONDON, 1924
Background and Inspiration:
Edward Lear was renowned for his literary nonsense and limericks, often characterized by imaginative language and playful elements. "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" is no exception, showcasing Lear's ability to craft delightful and fantastical tales.
The inspiration for the poem is believed to have roots in Lear's close friendship with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, particularly with William Holman Hunt. Lear, who was known for his proficiency in drawing and painting, provided illustrations for Hunt's painting "The Afterglow in Egypt," featuring an owl and a cat. This collaboration may have sparked the whimsical narrative of the poem.
Below, an early cartoon video inspired by Leahs poem, circa March 9, 1934. With Farmer Al Falfa
The Tale Unfolds:
"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" unfolds as a romantic and whimsical narrative. The Owl and the Pussy-Cat set sail in a pea-green boat, armed with a guitar and a runcible spoon. The duo sails across the sea, marries in the land where the Bong-Tree grows, and dines on mince and slices of quince. Lear's imaginative language and playful rhymes contribute to the poem's enduring charm.
Many paintings were also inspired by the poem as well as greeting cards, posters, stamps.
|Print By Laura Robertson.
|A painting hand made by Stuart Wright
|An Illustration by Chris Dunn
Legacy and Adaptations:
Over the years, "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" has become a cultural touchstone. Its playful language and fantastical narrative have made it a favorite among readers of all ages. The poem's enduring popularity has led to various adaptations, including children's books, theatrical productions, and musical compositions.
The poems lyrics as read by Judi Dench
The nonsensical yet endearing nature of the poem has allowed it to transcend generations, appealing to both children and adults alike. Lear's legacy as a master of literary nonsense is epitomized in this charming and imaginative work.
Further afield the poem has even influenced restaurants , "At the Owl and Runcible Spoon" is a charming and whimsical restaurant that takes its name from the famous poem, based in Bloomington , Indiana , usa.
The significance of this poem to the restaurant's name and theme lies in its portrayal of true love, adventure, and travel - themes that are reflected in the restaurant's ambiance and menu.
In 2014 a survey of the nation's favorite children's poems, it was found that the top three verses are each more than a century old. "The Owl and the Pussycat" claimed the first spot, followed by "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in second place and "Humpty Dumpty" securing the third position.
"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" remains a testament to Edward Lear's ability to infuse joy and whimsy into literature. The poem's legacy endures, enchanting readers with its playful language, delightful characters, and the timeless appeal of a romantic adventure on the high seas. Lear's contribution to the world of literary nonsense and his knack for crafting enduring tales continue to make "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" a cherished piece of literature more than a century after its creation.