A Book of Nonsense

Edward-Lear-vintage-illustration-birds-in-beard
Edward Lear's nonsense limericks, complete with original vintage illustrations.
A Book of Nonsense

There was an Old Man with a nose,
Who said, “If you choose to suppose
That my nose is too long, you are certainly wrong!”
That remarkable Man with a nose.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 1

There was a Young Person of Smyrna,
Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;
But she seized on the Cat, and said, “Granny, burn that!
You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 2
There was an Old Man on a hill,
Who seldom, if ever, stood still;
He ran up and down in his Grandmother’s gown,
Which adorned that Old Man on a hill.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 3

There was an Old Person of Chili,
Whose conduct was painful and silly;
He sate on the stairs, eating apples and pears,
That imprudent Old Person of Chili.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 4

There was an Old Man with a gong,
Who bumped at it all the day long;
But they called out, “Oh, law! you’re a horrid old bore!”
So they smashed that Old Man with a gong.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 5

There was an Old Man of Kilkenny,
Who never had more than a penny;
He spent all that money in onions and honey,
That wayward Old Man of Kilkenny.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 118

There was an Old Man of Columbia,
Who was thirsty, and called out for some beer;
But they brought it quite hot, in a small copper pot,
Which disgusted that man of Columbia.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 119
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, “Does it buzz?” he replied, “Yes, it does!
It’s a regular brute of a Bee.”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 8
There was an Old Lady of Chertsey,
Who made a remarkable curtsey;
She twirled round and round, till she sank underground,
Which distressed all the people of Chertsey.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 9

There was a Young Lady whose chin
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp, and purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 10

There was an Old Man with a flute,—
A “sarpint” ran into his boot!
But he played day and night, till the “sarpint” took flight,
And avoided that Man with a flute.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 11

There was a Young Lady of Portugal,
Whose ideas were excessively nautical;
She climbed up a tree to examine the sea,
But declared she would never leave Portugal.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 12

There was an Old Person of Ischia,
Whose conduct grew friskier and friskier;
He danced hornpipes and jigs, and ate thousands of figs,
That lively Old Person of Ischia

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 13

There was an Old Man of Vienna,
Who lived upon Tincture of Senna;
When that did not agree, he took Camomile Tea,
That nasty Old Man of Vienna.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 14

There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, “I’m afloat! I’m afloat!”
When they said, “No, you ain’t!” he was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 15

There was an Old Person of Buda,
Whose conduct grew ruder and ruder,
Till at last with a hammer they silenced his clamor.
By smashing that Person of Buda.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 16

There was an Old Man of Moldavia,
Who had the most curious behavior;
For while he was able, he slept on a table,
That funny Old Man of Moldavia.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 17

There was an Old Person of Hurst,
Who drank when he was not athirst;
When they said, “You’ll grow fatter!” he answered “What matter?”
That globular Person of Hurst.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 18
There was an Old Man of Madras,
Who rode on a cream-colored Ass;
But the length of its ears so promoted his fears,
That it killed that Old Man of Madras.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 19

There was an Old Person of Dover,
Who rushed through a field of blue clover;
But some very large Bees stung his nose and his knees,
So he very soon went back to Dover.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 20
There was an Old Person of Leeds,
Whose head was infested with beads;
She sat on a stool and ate gooseberry-fool,
Which agreed with that Person of Leeds.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 21
There was an Old Person of Cadiz,
Who was always polite to all ladies;
But in handing his daughter, he fell into the water,
Which drowned that Old Person of Cadiz.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 22
There was an Old Man of the Isles,
Whose face was pervaded with smiles;
He sang “High dum diddle,” and played on the fiddle,
That amiable Man of the Isles.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 23
There was an Old Person of Basing,
Whose presence of mind was amazing;
He purchased a steed, which he rode at full speed,
And escaped from the people of Basing.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 24
There was an Old Man who supposed
That the street door was partially closed;
But some very large Rats ate his coats and his hats,
While that futile Old Gentleman dozed.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 25
There was an Old Person whose habits
Induced him to feed upon Rabbits;
When he’d eaten eighteen, he turned perfectly green,
Upon which he relinquished those habits.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 26
There was an Old Man of the West,
Who wore a pale plum-colored vest;
When they said, “Does it fit?” he replied, “Not a bit!”
That uneasy Old Man of the West.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 27
There was an Old Man of Marseilles,
Whose daughters wore bottle-green veils:
They caught several Fish, which they put in a dish,
And sent to their Pa at Marseilles.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 28
There was an Old Man of the Wrekin,
Whose shoes made a horrible creaking;
But they said, “Tell us whether your shoes are of leather,
Or of what, you Old Man of the Wrekin?”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 29
There was a Young Lady whose nose
Was so long that it reached to her toes;
So she hired an Old Lady, whose conduct was steady,
To carry that wonderful nose.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 30
There was a Young Lady of Norway,
Who casually sat in a doorway;
When the door squeezed her flat, she exclaimed, “What of that?”
This courageous Young Lady of Norway.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 31
There was an Old Man of Apulia,
Whose conduct was very peculiar;
He fed twenty sons upon nothing but buns,
That whimsical Man of Apulia.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 32
There was an Old Man of Quebec,—
A beetle ran over his neck;
But he cried, “With a needle I’ll slay you, O beadle!”
That angry Old Man of Quebec.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 33
There was a Young Lady of Bute,
Who played on a silver-gilt flute;
She played several jigs to her Uncle’s white Pigs:
That amusing Young Lady of Bute.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 34
There was an Old Person of Philœ,
Whose conduct was scroobious and wily;
He rushed up a Palm when the weather was calm,
And observed all the ruins of Philœ.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 35
There was an Old Man with a poker,
Who painted his face with red ochre.
When they said, “You ‘re a Guy!” he made no reply,
But knocked them all down with his poker.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 36
There was an Old Person of Prague,
Who was suddenly seized with the plague;
But they gave him some butter, which caused him to mutter,
And cured that Old Person of Prague.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 37
There was an Old Man of Peru,
Who watched his wife making a stew;
But once, by mistake, in a stove she did bake
That unfortunate Man of Peru.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 38
There was an Old Man of the North,
Who fell into a basin of broth;
But a laudable cook fished him out with a hook,
Which saved that Old Man of the North.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 39
There was an Old Person of Troy,
Whose drink was warm brandy and soy,
Which he took with a spoon, by the light of the moon,
In sight of the city of Troy.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 40
There was an Old Person of Mold,
Who shrank from sensations of cold;
So he purchased some muffs, some furs, and some fluffs,
And wrapped himself well from the cold.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 41
There was an Old Person of Tring,
Who embellished his nose with a ring;
He gazed at the moon every evening in June,
That ecstatic Old Person of Tring.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 42
There was an Old Man of Nepaul,
From his horse had a terrible fall;
But, though split quite in two, with some very strong glue
They mended that man of Nepaul.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 43
There was an Old Man of the Nile,
Who sharpened his nails with a file,
Till he cut off his thumbs, and said calmly, “This comes
Of sharpening one’s nails with a file!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 44
There was an Old Man of th’ Abruzzi,
So blind that he couldn’t his foot see;
When they said, “That’s your toe,” he replied, “Is it so?”
That doubtful Old Man of th’ Abruzzi.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 45
There was an Old Man of Calcutta,
Who perpetually ate bread and butter;
Till a great bit of muffin, on which he was stuffing,
Choked that horrid Old Man of Calcutta.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 46
There was an Old Person of Rhodes,
Who strongly objected to toads;
He paid several cousins to catch them by dozens,
That futile Old Person of Rhodes.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 47
There was an Old Man of the South,
Who had an immoderate mouth;
But in swallowing a dish that was quite full of Fish,
He was choked, that Old Man of the South.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 48
There was an Old Man of Melrose,
Who walked on the tips of his toes;
But they said, “It ain’t pleasant to see you at present,
You stupid Old Man of Melrose.”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 49
There was an Old Man of the Dee,
Who was sadly annoyed by a Flea;
When he said, “I will scratch it!” they gave him a hatchet,
Which grieved that Old Man of the Dee.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 50
There was a Young Lady of Lucca,
Whose lovers completely forsook her;
She ran up a tree, and said “Fiddle-de-dee!”
Which embarrassed the people of Lucca.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 51
There was an Old Man of Coblenz,
The length of whose legs was immense;
He went with one prance from Turkey to France,
That surprising Old Man of Coblenz.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 52
There was an Old Man of Bohemia,
Whose daughter was christened Euphemia;
But one day, to his grief, she married a thief,
Which grieved that Old Man of Bohemia.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 53
There was an Old Man of Corfu,
Who never knew what he should do;
So he rushed up and down, till the sun made him brown,
That bewildered Old Man of Corfu.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 54
There was an Old Man of Vesuvius,
Who studied the works of Vitruvius;
When the flames burnt his book, to drinking he took,
That morbid Old Man of Vesuvius.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 55
There was an Old Man of Dundee,
Who frequented the top of a tree;
When disturbed by the Crows, he abruptly arose,
And exclaimed, “I’ll return to Dundee!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 56
There was an Old Lady whose folly
Induced her to sit in a holly;
Whereon, by a thorn her dress being torn,
She quickly became melancholy.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 57
There was an Old Man on some rocks,
Who shut his Wife up in a box:
When she said, “Let me out,” he exclaimed, “Without doubt
You will pass all your life in that box.”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 58
There was an Old Person of Rheims,
Who was troubled with horrible dreams;
So to keep him awake they fed him with cake,
Which amused that Old Person of Rheims.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 59
There was an Old Man of Leghorn,
The smallest that ever was born;
But quickly snapt up he was once by a Puppy,
Who devoured that Old Man of Leghorn.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 60
There was an Old Man in a pew,
Whose waistcoat was spotted with blue;
But he tore it in pieces, to give to his Nieces,
That cheerful Old Man in a pew.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 61
There was an Old Man who said, “How
Shall I flee from this horrible Cow?
I will sit on this stile, and continue to smile,
Which may soften the heart of that Cow.”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 63
There was a Young Lady of Troy,
Whom several large flies did annoy;
Some she killed with a thump, some she drowned at the pump,
And some she took with her to Troy.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 64
There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent Bull;
But she seized on a spade, and called out, “Who’s afraid?”
Which distracted that virulent Bull.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 65

There was an Old Person of Dutton,
Whose head was as small as a button;
So to make it look big he purchased a wig,
And rapidly rushed about Dutton.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 66

There was an Old Man who said, “Hush!
I perceive a young bird in this bush!”
When they said, “Is it small?” he replied, “Not at all;
It is four times as big as the bush!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 67
There was a Young Lady of Russia,
Who screamed so that no one could hush her;
Her screams were extreme,—no one heard such a scream
As was screamed by that Lady of Russia.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 68
There was a Young Lady of Tyre,
Who swept the loud chords of a lyre;
At the sound of each sweep she enraptured the deep,
And enchanted the city of Tyre.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 69
There was an Old Person of Bangor,
Whose face was distorted with anger;
He tore off his boots, and subsisted on roots,
That borascible Person of Bangor.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 70
There was an Old Man of the East,
Who gave all his children a feast;
But they all ate so much, and their conduct was such,
That it killed that Old Man of the East.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 71
There was an Old Man of the Coast,
Who placidly sat on a post;
But when it was cold he relinquished his hold,
And called for some hot buttered toast.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 72
There was an Old Man of Kamschatka,
Who possessed a remarkably fat Cur;
His gait and his waddle were held as a model
To all the fat dogs in Kamschatka.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 73
There was an Old Person of Gretna,
Who rushed down the crater of Etna;
When they said, “Is it hot?” he replied, “No, it’s not!”
That mendacious Old Person of Gretna.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 74
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who sat on a Horse when he reared;
But they said, “Never mind! you will fall off behind,
You propitious Old Man with a beard!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 75
There was an Old Man of Berlin,
Whose form was uncommonly thin;
Till he once, by mistake, was mixed up in a cake,
So they baked that Old Man of Berlin.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 76
There was an Old Man of the West,
Who never could get any rest;
So they set him to spin on his nose and his chin,
Which cured that Old Man of the West.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 77
There was an Old Person of Cheadle
Was put in the stocks by the Beadle
For stealing some pigs, some coats, and some wigs,
That horrible person of Cheadle.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 78
There was an Old Person of Anerley,
Whose conduct was strange and unmannerly;
He rushed down the Strand with a Pig in each hand,
But returned in the evening to Anerley.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 79
There was a Young Lady of Wales,
Who caught a large Fish without scales;
When she lifted her hook, she exclaimed, “Only look!”
That ecstatic Young Lady of Wales.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 80
There was a Young Lady of Welling,
Whose praise all the world was a-telling;
She played on the harp, and caught several Carp,
That accomplished Young Lady of Welling.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 81
There was an Old Person of Tartary,
Who divided his jugular artery;
But he screeched to his Wife, and she said, “Oh, my life!
Your death will be felt by all Tartary!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 82
There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
But they said, “It’s absurd to encourage this bird!”
So they smashed that Old Man of Whitehaven.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 83
There was a Young Lady of Sweden,
Who went by the slow train to Weedon;
When they cried, “Weedon Station!” she made no observation,
But thought she should go back to Sweden.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 84
There was an Old Person of Chester,
Whom several small children did pester;
They threw some large stones, which broke most of his bones,
And displeased that Old Person of Chester.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 85
There was an Old Man of the Cape,
Who possessed a large Barbary Ape;
Till the Ape, one dark night, set the house all alight,
Which burned that Old Man of the Cape.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 86
There was an Old Person of Burton,
Whose answers were rather uncertain;
When they said, “How d’ ye do?” he replied, “Who are you?”
That distressing Old Person of Burton.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 87
There was an Old Person of Ems
Who casually fell in the Thames;
And when he was found, they said he was drowned,
That unlucky Old Person of Ems.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 88
There was a Young Girl of Majorca,
Whose Aunt was a very fast walker;
She walked seventy miles, and leaped fifteen stiles,
Which astonished that Girl of Majorca.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 89
There was a Young Lady of Poole,
Whose soup was excessively cool;
So she put it to boil by the aid of some oil,
That ingenious Young Lady of Poole.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 90
There was an Old Lady of Prague,
Whose language was horribly vague;
When they said, “Are these caps?” she answered, “Perhaps!”
That oracular Lady of Prague.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 91
There was a Young Lady of Parma,
Whose conduct grew calmer and calmer:
When they said, “Are you dumb?” she merely said, “Hum!”
That provoking Young Lady of Parma.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 92
There was an Old Person of Sparta,
Who had twenty-five sons and one “darter;”
He fed them on Snails, and weighed them in scales,
That wonderful Person of Sparta.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 93
There was an Old Man on whose nose
Most birds of the air could repose;
But they all flew away at the closing of day,
Which relieved that Old Man and his nose.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 94
There was a Young Lady of Turkey,
Who wept when the weather was murky;
When the day turned out fine, she ceased to repine,
That capricious Young Lady of Turkey.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 95
There was an Old Man of Aôsta
Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
But they said, “Don’t you see she has run up a tree,
You invidious Old Man of Aôsta?”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 96
There was a Young Person of Crete,
Whose toilette was far from complete;
She dressed in a sack spickle-speckled with black,
That ombliferous Person of Crete.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 97
There was a Young Lady of Clare,
Who was madly pursued by a Bear;
When she found she was tired, she abruptly expired,
That unfortunate Lady of Clare.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 98
There was a Young Lady of Dorking,
Who bought a large bonnet for walking;
But its color and size so bedazzled her eyes,
That she very soon went back to Dorking.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 99
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.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 100
There was an old Person of Cromer,
Who stood on one leg to read Homer;
When he found he grew stiff, he jumped over the cliff,
Which concluded that Person of Cromer.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 101
There was an Old Man of the Hague,
Whose ideas were excessively vague;
He built a balloon to examine the moon,
That deluded Old Man of the Hague.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 102
There was an Old Person of Spain,
Who hated all trouble and pain;
So he sate on a chair with his feet in the air,
That umbrageous Old Person of Spain.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 103
There was an Old Man who said, “Well!
Will nobody answer this bell?
I have pulled day and night, till my hair has grown white,
But nobody answers this bell!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 104
There was an Old Man with an Owl,
Who continued to bother and howl;
He sat on a rail, and imbibed bitter ale,
Which refreshed that Old Man and his Owl.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 105
There was an Old Man in a casement,
Who held up his hands in amazement;
When they said, “Sir, you’ll fall!” he replied, “Not at all!”
That incipient Old Man in a casement.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 106
There was an Old Person of Ewell,
Who chiefly subsisted on gruel;
But to make it more nice, he inserted some Mice,
Which refreshed that Old Person of Ewell.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 107
There was an Old Man of Peru.
Who never knew what he should do;
So he tore off his hair, and behaved like a bear,
That intrinsic Old Man of Peru.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 108
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 109
There was a Young Lady whose eyes
Were unique as to color and size;
When she opened them wide, people all turned aside,
And started away in surprise.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 110
There was a Young Lady of Ryde,
Whose shoe-strings were seldom untied;
She purchased some clogs, and some small spotty Dogs,
And frequently walked about Ryde.

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 111
There was a Young Lady whose bonnet
Came untied when the birds sate upon it;
But she said, “I don’t care! all the birds in the air
Are welcome to sit on my bonnet!”

Poems for Kids - Edward Lear vintage illustration 112

POEMS FOR KIDS WRITTEN BY EDWARD LEAR

 
Illustrated by Edward Lear 

LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE POEMS ~ IDEAS FOR TALKING WITH KIDS

 
Creativity 

1. These kinds of silly poems are called Limericks. They have lines that rhyme in a very particular way. Looking at the rhymes above, can you make your own Limerick poem?

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