Edward Lear

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

The Daddy Long-Legs and the Fly


Once Mr Daddy Long-Legs,
Dressed in brown and gray,
Walked about upon the sands
Upon a summer's day;
And there among the pebbles,
When the wind was rather cold,
He met with Mr Floppy Fly,
All dressed in blue and gold.
And as it was too soon to dine,
They drank some Periwinkle-wine,
And played an hour or two, or more,
At battlecock and shuttledore.

Said Mr Daddy Long-legs
To Mr Floppy Fly,
'Why do you never come to court?
I wish you'd tell me why.
All gold and shine, in dress so fine,
You'd quite delight the court.
Why do you never go at all?
I really think you ought!
And if you went, you'd see such sights!
Such rugs! and jugs! and candle-lights!
And more than all, the King and Queen,
One in red, and one in green!'

'O Mr Daddy Long-Legs,'
Said Mr Floppy Fly,
'It's true I never go to court,
And I will tell you why.
If I had six long legs like yours,
At once I'd go to court!
But Oh! I can't, because my legs
Are so extremely short.
And I'm afraid the King and Queen
(One in red and one in green)
Would say aloud, 'You are not fit,
You Fly, to come to court a bit.'
O Mr Daddy Long-Legs,'
Said Mr Floppy Fly,
'I wish you'd sing one little song!
One mumbian melody!
You used to sing so awful well
In former days gone by,
But now you never sing at all;
I wish you'd tell me why:
For if you would, the silvery sound
Would please the shrimps and cockles round,
And all the crabs would gladly come
To hear you sing, 'Ah, Hum di Hum!''

Said Mr Daddy Long-Legs,
'I can never sing again!
And if you wish, I'll tell you why,
Although it gives me pain.
For years I could not hum a bit,
Or sing the smallest song;
And this the dreadful reason is,
My legs are grown too long!
My six long legs, all here and there,
Oppress my bosom with despair;
And if I stand, or lie, or sit,
I cannot sing one single bit!'

So Mr Daddy Long-Legs
And Mr Floppy Fly
Sat down in silence by the sea,
And gazed upon the sky.
They said, 'This is a dreadful thing!
The world has all gone wrong,
Since one has legs too short by half,
The other much too long!
One never more can go to court,
Because his legs have grown too short;
The other cannot sing a song,
Because his legs have grown too long!'

Then Mr Daddy Long-Legs
And Mr Floppy Fly
Rushed downward to the foaming sea
With one sponge-taneous cry;
And there they found a little boat
Whose sails were pink and gray;
And off they sailed among the waves
Far, and far away.
They sailed across the silent main
And reached the great Gromboolian plain;
And there they play for evermore
At battlecock and shuttledore.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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