Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Speaking of Edward Lear (which we were doing in the preceding post), in addition to the nonsense poetry and limericks for which he is famous, he was a gifted painter.

Here are two of his creations:

Not too shabby, eh?

According to Wikipedia, Edward Lear (1812 - 1888) was the 21st child of Ann and Jeremiah Lear. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. He also suffered from periods of severe depression which he referred to as “the Morbids.”

Edward Lear was known to introduce himself with one of his long names, “Mr. Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph” or “Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps” which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

You just know I had to look that one up.

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos was a book published in 1825 that contained a game in which players had to read the snippet for each letter of the alphabet as fast as they could without making a mistake. Alternatively, several players could read the snippets in a staggered manner. The snippets for each letter contain tongue-twisting mock-Latin names whose content is cumulatively appended at the end of each new letter snippet. The book is based on Chrononhotonthologos, which in turn was based on Henry Fielding’s Tom Thumb. The book was embellished with sixteen elegantly coloured engravings and sold for one shilling.

The following is the snippet for the letter O:

ODDS NIPPERKINS! cried Mother Bunch on her broomstick, here’s a to-do! as Nicholas Hotch-potch said, Never were such times, as Muley Hassan, Mufti of Moldavia, put on his Barnacles, to see little Tweedle gobble them up, when Kia Khan Kreuse transmogrofied them into Pippins, because Snip’s wife cried, Illikipilliky! lass a-day! ’tis too bad to titter at a body, when Hamet el Mammet, the bottlenosed Barber of Balasora, laughed ha! ha! ha! on beholding the elephant spout mud over the ’Prentice, who pricked his trunk with a needle, as Dicky Snip, the tailor, read the proclamation of Chrononhotonthologos, offering a thousand sequins for taking Bombardinian, Bashaw of three tails, who killed Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

And you think I’m strange.

Still, we mustn’t be too hard on Mr. Lear. There are, after all, those paintings.


  1. Those paintings are magnificent! Perhaps he should have stuck to painting... Although I've seen some of his um, creepier paintings, so maybe I mean he should have stuck to paintings I consider beautiful? :)

  2. I have a great fondness for Lear, though I confess it is many a year since I read any of his work, at least until today. Thank you.

  3. Yes I still think you are strange, just not as strange as Lear.

  4. Spirit of Edward LearSeptember 22, 2011 at 6:54 AM

    There was a young man called Brague
    Whose hygiene was careless and vague
    Hearing noise from his belly
    Said his dear wife called Ellie
    "It sounds like buboonic plague!"

  5. buboonic = bubonic!...or maybe baboonic!

  6. My tang is all toungled just trying to read that aloud! Mr. Lear's paintings are indeed lovely.

    As far as I'm concerned, you never fail to amuse and/or educate your readers.

  7. Spirit, I will overlook the "careless and vague" and "baboonic plague" remarks for two simple reasons:

    1. I believe in artistic freedom.
    2. No one has called me "a young man" in a very long time.

    Pat, my tang doesn't get toungled, but sometimes my tongue gets wrapped around my eye tooth and I can't see what I'm saying.