Treasure Island

Edward Lear

(12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888 / London / England)

Incidents in the life of my Uncle Arly


O my aged Uncle Arly!
Sitting on a heap of Barley
Thro' the silent hours of night,
Close beside a leafy thicket:
On his nose there was a Cricket,
In his hat a Railway-ticket
(But his shoes were far too tight).

Long ago, in youth, he squander'd
All his goods away, and wander'd
To the Tinskoop-hills afar.
There on golden sunsets blazing,
Every evening found him gazing,
Singing, 'Orb! you're quite amazing!
How I wonder what you are!'

Like the ancient Medes and Persians,
Always by his own exertions
He subsisted on those hills;
Whiles, by teaching children spelling,
Or at times by merely yelling,
Or at intervals by selling
'Propter's Nicodemus Pills.'

Later, in his morning rambles
He perceived the moving brambles
Something square and white disclose;
'Twas a First-class Railway-Ticket;
But, on stooping down to pick it
Off the ground - a pea-green Cricket
Settled on my uncle's Nose.

Never - never more - oh, never,
Did that Cricket leave him ever,
Dawn or evening, day or night;
Clinging as a constant treasure,
Chirping with a cheerious measure,
Wholly to my uncle's pleasure
(Though his shoes were far too tight).

So for three and forty winters,
Till his shoes were worn to splinters,
All those hills he wander'd o'er,
Sometimes silent; sometimes yelling;
Till he came to Borley-Melling,
Near his old ancestral dwelling
(But his shoes were far too tight).

On a little heap of Barley
Died my aged Uncle Arly,
And they buried him one night;
Close beside the leafy thicket;
There - his hat and Railway-Ticket;
There - his ever-faithful Cricket
(But his shoes were far too tight).

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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