The Owl and the Pussycat is a delightful nonsense poem written by English artist and poet
The poem was written for a three-year-old girl named Janet Symonds who was the daughter of Lear's friend, poet John Addington Symonds, and his wife Catherine.
The Owl and the Pussycat was first published in 1871 in a book called Nonsense Songs & Stories with Edward Lear's own illustrations, including the one on the left.
Since then it has been set to music and animated many times over the years.
About The Owl and the PussycatThe Owl and the Pussycat is typical of many of Edward Lear's poems which often feature anthropomorphic animals – animals who behave like humans.
It tells the story of the love between the owl and the pussycat who sail away to marry in the land 'where the Bong-tree grows'.
The poem contains quite a few made-up words which was something Edward Lear loved to do.
The most famous of these is the 'runcible spoon' which the owl and his lady-love used when they 'dined on mince and slices of quince.'
Reading nonsense poems like these with children is fun but it also is a brilliant stimulator of phonological awareness, a really important pre-reading skill.
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'
Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.