The Sanity of Nonsense. Round the World with Edward Lear

Bidding a farewell to fiction
Of the fashionable type,
Whether based on drug-addiction,
“Triangles” or merely tripe,
Healthier recreation choosing,
Simpler fare and better cheer,
I propose to go a-cruising
Round the world with Edward Lear.

Tell me not the thrills that Argo
Gave, or modern liners give:
I shall sail as supercargo
In the Jumblies’ super-sieve,
Where I’ve booked a berth umbrageous
On the Quangle-Wangle’s Hat,
Next to Dong and quite contagious
To the frisky Bisky Bat.

On the coasts of Coromandel,
Where the oblong oysters grow,
I shall hum the works of Handel
To the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo;
Or contribute variations
On the banjo and the bones
To the dolorous lamentations
Of the Lady Jingly Jones.

There I’ll hold harmonious parley
With the foes of common sense ―
Aunt Jobiska, Uncle Arly,
Priests of “sweet desipience”;
And discuss with them quite frankly
Should the fearsome Cummerbund
And the perilous Hills of Chankly
Bore, be visited or shunned.

Cutlets (veal) shall grace our table
From the Orient Calf of Tute;
(Strange that Brewer’s Phrase and Fable
On the subject should be mute!)
While to lubricate our throttles,
When we reach that City, Tosh,
We shall ship a billion bottles
Of the peerless Attery Squash.

Lastly, in my helicopter,
Freed from all internal ills
Thanks to the judicious Propter
And his Nicodemus Pills,
I shall watch the toeless Pobble,
Unembittered by his pain,
Homeward delicately hobble
O’er the Great Gromboolian Plain.

*  *  *

Though, more potent influence raining
Stars may swim into our ken,
Though new creeds succeed in gaining
Mastery of the souls of men;
None is surer of translating
Young and old into a sphere
Purer, more exhilarating
Than the Lunacy of Lear.


The Times (London, England), Thursday, 16 June 1938, p. 19; issue 48022.

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