I am thinking of the Lion Book of Humorous Verse again. I am tempted to include some more Hilaire Belloc, but I feel it only fair to devote a few lines to Edward Lear.
Lear’s work received several mentions in the book, and I know it had an impact on me. Some of it, I was less taken with (a bit too much repetition in the Akond of Swat, for my liking).
Lear could easily be celebrated purely for The Owl and the Pussycat – and I have on occasion surprised young visitors by singing their book to them rather than just reading it.
However, I do like the repeated throwaway lines in Uncle Arly, one that I do remember more out of his wider collection of poems.
Arly belongs in that category of slightly too particular types who meet their end sooner rather than later: like Solomon Grundy, or, I suspect, Jack Spratt and his wife.
I have shared before of my love of catchphrases being used for new purposes. Next time someone is removed from a game show, or ends up worse for wear in a film, you can (reprovingly) tell the others around you why it happened.
“…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).”
[View the link above to read the whole poem.]