Edward Lear

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

The New Vestments


There lived an old man in the kingdom of Tess,
Who invented a purely original dress;
And when it was perfectly made and complete,
He opened the door, and walked into the street.

By way of a hat, he'd a loaf of Brown Bread,
In the middle of which he inserted his head;--
His Shirt was made up of no end of dead Mice,
The warmth of whose skins was quite fluffy and nice;--
His Drawers were of Rabit-skins, -- but it is not known whose;--
His Waistcoat and Trowsers were made of Pork Chops;--
His Buttons were Jujubes, and Chocolate Drops;--
His Coat was all Pancakes with Jam for a border,
And a girdle of Biscuits to keep it in order;
And he wore over all, as a screen from bad weather,
A Cloak of green Cabbage-leaves stitched all together.

He had walked a short way, when he heard a great noise,
Of all sorts of Beasticles, Birdlings, and Boys;--
And from every long street and dark lane in the town
Beasts, Birdles, and Boys in a tumult rushed down.
Two Cows and a half ate his Cabbage-leaf Cloak;--
Four Apes seized his Girdle, which vanished like smoke;--
Three Kids ate up half of his Pancaky Coat,--
And the tails were devour'd by an ancient He Goat;--
An army of Dogs in a twinkling tore up his
Pork Waistcoat and Trowsers to give to their Puppies;--
And while they were growling, and mumbling the Chops,
Ten boys prigged the Jujubes and Chocolate Drops.--
He tried to run back to his house, but in vain,
Four Scores of fat Pigs came again and again;--
They rushed out of stables and hovels and doors,--
They tore off his stockings, his shoes, and his drawers;--
And now from the housetops with screechings descend,
Striped, spotted, white, black, and gray Cats without end,
They jumped on his shoulders and knocked off his hat,--
When Crows, Ducks, and Hens made a mincemeat of that;--
They speedily flew at his sleeves in trice,
And utterly tore up his Shirt of dead Mice;--
They swallowed the last of his Shirt with a squall,--
Whereon he ran home with no clothes on at all.

And he said to himself as he bolted the door,
'I will not wear a similar dress any more,
'Any more, any more, any morre, never more!'

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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