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Nonsense Books

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"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.

His mind is concrete and fastidious,His nose is remarkably big; His visage is more or less hideous,His beard it resembles a wig.

He has ears, and two eyes, and ten fingers,Leastways if you reckon two thumbs; Long ago he was one of the singers,But now he is one of the dumbs.

He sits in a beautiful parlor,With hundreds of books on the wall; He drinks a great deal of Marsala,But never gets tipsy at all.

He has many friends, lay men and clerical,Old Foss is the name of his cat; His body is perfectly spherical,He weareth a runcible hat.

When he walks in waterproof white,The children run after him so! Calling out, "He's come out in his night-Gown, that crazy old Englishman, oh!"

He weeps by the side of the ocean,He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion,And chocolate shrimps from the mill.

He reads, but he cannot speak, Spanish,He cannot abide ginger beer: Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!


Edward Lear, the artist, Author of "Journals of a Landscape Painter" in various out-of-the-way countries, and of the delightful "Books of Nonsense," which have amused successive generations of children, died on Sunday, January 29, 1888, at San Remo, Italy, where he had lived for twenty years. Few names could evoke a wider expression of passing regret at their appearance in the obituary column; for until his health began to fail he was known to an immense and almost a cosmopolitan circle of acquaintance, and popular wherever he was known. Fewer still could call up in the minds of intimate friends a deeper and more enduring feeling of sorrow for personal loss, mingled with the pleasantest of memories; for it was impossible to know him thoroughly and not to love him. London, Rome, the Mediterranean countries generally, Ceylon and India, are still all dotted with survivors among his generation who will mourn for him affectionately, although his latter years were spent in comparatively close retirement. He was a man of striking nobility of nature, fearless, independent, energetic, given to forming for himself strong opinions, often hastily, sometimes bitterly; not always strong or sound in judgment, but always seeking after truth in every matter, and following it as he understood it in scorn of consequence; utterly unselfish, devoted to his friends, generous even to extravagance towards any one who had ever been connected with his fortunes or his travels; playful, light-hearted, witty, and humorous, but not without those occasional fits of black depression and nervous irritability to which such temperaments are liable.

Great and varied as the merits of his pictures are, Lear hardly succeeded in achieving any great popularity as a landscape-painter. His work was frequently done on private commission, and he rarely sent in pictures for the Academy or other exhibitions....