Saturday, December 10, 2011

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!

I have started my little niece Barbara in on Edward Lear.

There was a time at my mom's when I thought she needed entertainment and so I asked her if she wanted me to read her the poetry of Edward Lear. She said yes! A most excellent thing in a child.

I went and got the book. I remembered where it was from when I was a kid. And we sat down on the couch. We read "The Pobble Who Has No Toes."

It was all about the Bristol Channel and porpoises and red flannel and I could not believe Barbara could even follow it. She just turned 6. I never know how old kids should be for stuff like this. I always find it hard to believe any kid these days could understand it. But Barbara did!

You have to love the quaint correct Victorian grammar:

"The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we..."

We read a huge number of limericks, Barbara loving the pictures. Like this one:

There was an Old Man of Cape Horn,
Who wished he had never been born;
So he sat on a Chair till he died of despair,
That dolorous Man of Cape Horn.

Then we reread, by popular demand, "The Pobble Who Has No Toes."

Here is the poem read to you so you may enjoy it as Barbara did.

At the end of it I went, "It's a fact the whole world knows, that Pobbles are happier without their..."

"Toes!" Barbara got to cry out.

As Howard would say the software still works. That is amazing, I thought. Considering that these poems were written when, 1910?

I looked up Edward Lear and zut alors, they were published in 1848!

How about that??

Still charming the 6-year-olds after all these years.

Edward Lear sounds like a strange character. To begin with he was his parents' 21st child. Also Wikipedia said that Edward Lear made two marriage proposals in his life, both to the same woman, who was 46 years his junior. Both of them were rejected.

You cannot blame a guy for trying!

Here is "The Pobble Who Has No Toes" complete with, would you believe it, analysis. It is sweet actually. One gentleman comments, "I read this poem when I was 6 and am rediscovering it after 67 years." Someone else writes, "EL is the most underrated of children's writers." Being the authorized biographer of Leonard Pennario, who has sometimes been called the most underrated of pianists, I can appreciate that.

After that the comments sort of descend into spam. Edward Lear would probably have appreciated the humor of that.

I cannot wait to move on "How Pleasant To Know Mr. Lear."

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