Many of the nonsense verses of Edward Lear which take the form now known as a limerick end with a line that merely repeats the first line with but slight variation. Since his time the necessity for the last line to provide a twist in the tail, or a kick in the pants in our less genteel age, has become apparent. Accordingly I have undertaken, in what I hope will be taken to be sincere affection for the originals, and not sacrilege, to provide some of Mr Lear's limericks with a little more punch in their final lines. Unfortunately many modern writers seem to think that all limericks should be obscene and some have 'reduced' Lear's work in this way. My aim has been to 'enhance' his work with a little added wit or humour of a simple kind. The new lines are in italic.
Lear's original printer ran the two short lines with the second rhyme into one line, making the limerick a quatrain, but we print them separately, showing the five lines. Mr Lear's last line is generally retained, converting the limerick into a six-line verse with the rhyme-pattern of three couplets AABBAA. Sometimes the middle rhyme is repeated internal to the extra line. In a few cases two alternative lines are added. The reader is encouraged to join in the game and find still better lines.
In a few cases, where I have found that the verse applies more appropriately to a different character in the first line, I have undertaken a more complete revision. Slight changes modernise spelling and usage: replacing sate (in several verses) by sat, safe (in 144) by sure, avoiding old elisions like ask'd, and all Old Persons are now dignified with capitals.
Addendum (February 2005): I have now put in a section at the end that gives the original text of all those verses that I have altered slightly.
The 212 limericks are given in their sequence of publication: 1112 are from A Book of Nonsense (1846), 113212 are from More Nonsense (1872). As reproduced in The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear edited by Holbrook Jackson (Faber and Faber 1947). These publishers, to whom I wrote in October 1998, confirmed that the original poems are out of copyright and can be freely used.
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren
And some creature scroobious and weird,
Have all built their nests in my beard!
There was a Young Lady of Ryde,
Whose shoe-strings were seldom untied;
She purchased some clogs,
And some small spotty dogs,
Till a taxi-man made her his bride,
Then she frequently Rode about Ryde.
There was an Old Man with a nose,
Who said, 'If you choose to suppose,
That my nose is too long,
You are certainly wrong!
It's your's that's too short, I propose.'
That remarkable man with a nose.
There was an Old Man of Mill Hill,
Who seldom, if ever, stood still;
He ran up and down,
In his Grandmother's gown,
Till he ran up a dressmaker's bill.
That transvestite Old Man of Mill Hill.
There was a Young Lady whose bonnet,
Came untied when the birds sat upon it;
But she said, 'I don't care!
All the birds of the air
Make my Limerick seem like a Sonnet.
And are welcome to sit on my bonnet!'
There was a Young Person of Smyrna,
Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;
But she seized on the Cat,
And said, 'Granny, burn that!
You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!'
For her conscience just didn't concern her.
A cockeyed Old Cockney called Billy
Had ambitions misguided and silly,
He sat on the stairs,
Eating apples and pears,
To teach rhyming slang, willy-nilly,
To the Welsh-speaking folk of Caerphilly.
There was an Old Man with a gong,
Who bumped at it all the day long;
But they called out, 'O law!
You're a horrid old bore!'
So they smashed that Old Man with a gong
Till he stopped it and burst into song.
There was an Old Lady of Chertsey,
Who made a remarkabe curtsey;
She twirled round and round,
Till she sank underground,
And showed Antipodeans her skirt, see,
Which distressed all the people of Chertsey.
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Who was horribly bored by a Bee;
When they said, 'Does it buzz?'
He replied, 'Yes it does!'
'It's a regular brute of a Bee!
But it hornets in only one key.'
There was an Old Man with a flute,
A sarpint ran into his boot;
But he played day and night,
Till the sarpint took flight,
Took him up to a height
And dropped him without parachute.
Which voided that man with a flute.
There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.
Which filled all the town with a din.
There was an Old Man of Kilkenny,
Who never had more than a penny;
He spent all that money,
In onions and honey,
Repeating a joke that seemed punny to many,
That wayward Old Man of Kilkenny.
There was an Old Person of Ischia,
Whose conduct grew friskier and friskier;
He danced hornpipes and jigs,
And ate thousands of figs,
'More whiskey!' he cried, 'Makes me riskier!'
That lively Old Person of Ischia.
There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said 'I'm afloat! I'm afloat!'
When they said, 'No you ain't!'
He was ready to faint,
As the water came up to his throat,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.
There was a Young Lady of Portugal
Whose ideas were excessively nautical:
She climbed up a tree,
To examine the sea,
But the Admiral cried 'Come down you naughty gal!'
And declared she would never leave Portugal.
There was an Old Man of Moldavia,
Who had the most curious behaviour;
For while he was able,
He slept on a table,
Until he found water beds wavier.
That funny Old Man of Moldavia.
There was an Old Man of Madras,
Who rode on a cream-coloured Ass;
But the length of its ears,
So promoted his fears,
That he threw himself in a crevass,
Which killed that Old Man of Madras.
There was an Old Person of Leeds,
Whose head was infested with beads;
She sat on a stool,
And ate gooseberry fool,
Which agreed with that Person of Leeds.
For she said, 'It is all that one needs.'
There was an Old Man of Peru,
Who never knew what he should do;
So he tore out his hair,
And behaved like a Bear,
Till they carried him off to the Zoo.
That intrinsic Old Man of Peru.
There was an Old Person of Hurst,
Who drank when he was not athirst;
When they said, 'You'll grow fatter',
He answered, 'What matter?'
That globular person of Hurst.
Imbibed one more sip, and then burst.
There was a Young Person of Crete,
Whose toilette was far from complete;
She dressed in a sack,
Spickle-speckled with black,
Which matched her complexion a treat.
That ombliferous person of Crete.
There was an Old Man of the Isles
Whose face was pervaded with smiles:
He sang 'High Dum Diddle',
And played on the fiddle,
Balancing eels on his nose all the whiles,
That amiable Man of the Isles.
There was an Old Person of Buda,
Whose conduct grew ruder and ruder;
Till at last, with a hammer,
They silenced his clamour,
By smashing that Person of Buda
In a manner that could scarcely be cruder.
There was an Old Man of Columbia,
Who, was thirsty and called out for some beer;
But they brought it quite hot,
In a small copper pot,
Which disgusted that Man of Columbia.
So he ate it with bread, which was crumbier.
And with salad that tasted cucumbier.
There was a Young Lady of Dorking,
Who bought a large bonnet for walking
(It wasn`t quite right for deer-stalking);
But its colour and size,
So bedazzled her eyes,
And set all the neighbourhood talking,
That she very soon went back to Dorking.
There was an Old Man who supposed,
That the street door was partially closed;
But some very large rats,
Ate his coats and his hats,
Till his wardrobe was wholly disposed,
While that futile old gentleman dozed.
There was an Old Man of the West,
Who wore a pale plum-coloured vest;
When they said, 'Does it fit?'
He replied, 'Not a bit!'
It's ten times too large round the chest.
That unmeasured Old Man of the West.
There was an Old Man of the Wrekin,
Whose shoes made a horrible creaking;
When they said, 'Tell us whether,
Your shoes are of leather,
Or of what, you Old Man of the Wrekin?'
He replied 'They're of mouse hence the squeakin!'
There was a Young Lady whose eyes,
Were unique as to colour and size;
When she opened them wide,
People all turned aside,
And started away in surprise.
For they saw through pretention and lies.
There was a Young Lady of Norway,
Who casually sat in a doorway;
When the door squeezed her flat,
She exclaimed, 'What of that?
I`ll go my way. You go your way.'
This courageous Young Lady of Norway.
There was an Old Man of Vienna,
Who lived upon tincture of senna;
When that did not agree,
He took camomile tea,
Which he bought by the ton for a tenner,
And which coloured his face burnt sienna,
That dusky Old Man of Vienna.
There was an old Person whose habits,
Induced him to feed upon rabbits;
When he'd eaten eighteen,
He turned perfectly green,
Upon which he relinquished those habits.
Now he's a Friend of the Earth he inhabits.
There was an Old Person of Dover,
Who rushed through a field of blue clover,
But some very large bees,
Stung his nose and his knees,
So his days as a rover were over.
And he very soon went back to Dover.
There was on Old Man of Marseilles,
Whose daughters wore bottle-green veils;
They caught several fish,
Which they put in a dish,
And baked with their mouths in their tails,
And sent to the Princess of Wales.
There was an Old Person of Cadiz,
Who was always polite to ladies;
But in handing his daughter,
He fell into the water,
Which drowned that Old Person of Cadiz
And Davy Jones took him to Hades.
There was an Old Person of Basing,
Whose presence of mind was amazing;
He purchased a steed,
Which he rode at full speed,
Without bridle or reins; quite hair-raising!
And escaped from the people of Basing.
There was an Old Man of Quebec,
A beetle ran over his neck;
But he cried, 'With a needle,
I`ll slay you, O beadle!'
But he missed with his stab, cried 'Oh Heck!'
That angry Old Man of Quebec.
There was an Old Person of Filey,
Whose conduct was scroobious and wily;
He rushed up a Palm,
When the weather was calm,
Dressed up just like Old Mother Riley
And observed all the ruins of Philæ
There was a Young Lady of Bute,
Who played on a silver-gilt flute;
She played several jigs,
To her uncle's white pigs,
Which caused them to grow quite hirsute.
That hair-raising Young Lady of Bute.
There was a Young Lady whose nose,
Was so long that it reached to her toes;
So she hired an Old Lady,
Whose conduct was steady,
To precede her wherever she goes,
And carry that wonderful nose.
There was a Young Lady of Turkey,
Who wept when the weather was murky;
When the day turned out fine,
She ceased to repine,
And became overwhelmingly perky,
That capricious Young Lady of Turkey.
There was an Old Man of Apulia,
Whose conduct was very peculiar
He fed twenty sons
Upon nothing but buns,
Then taught them to sing 'Alleluiah!'
But this only made them unrulier,
That whimsical Man of Apulia.
There was an Old Man with a poker,
Who painted his face with red oker
When they said, 'You're a Guy!'
He made no reply,
But he thought 'How rude folk are!'
And knocked them all down with his poker.
There was an Old Person of Prague,
Who was suddenly seized with the plague;
But they gave him some butter,
Which caused him to mutter,
A swear word, explicit not vague
Which cured that Old Person of Prague
There was an Old Man of the North,
Who fell into a basin of broth;
But a laudable cook,
Fished him out with a hook,
And licked all the tasty broth off,
Which saved that Old Man of the North.
There was a Young Lady of Poole,
Whose soup was excessively cool;
So she put it to boil
By the aid of some oil,
And for afters ate Gooseberry Fool,
That ingenious Young Lady of Poole.
There was an Old Person of the Wold,
Who shrank from sensations of cold;
So he purchased some muffs,
Some furs and some fluffs,
And wrapped himself round from the cold.
But was took for a snowball and rolled.
There was an Old Man of Nepaul,
From his horse had a terrible fall;
But, though split quite in two,
By some very strong glue,
Brewed from cow-gum and gall,
They mended that Man of Nepaul.
King's men, King's horses and all.
There was an Old Man of th' Abruzzi,
So blind that he couldn't his foot see;
When they said, 'That's your toe,'
He replied, 'Is it so?
How d'you do my old tootsie wootsie!'
That doubtful Old Man of th' Abruzzi
There was an Old Person of Rhodes,
Who strongly objected to toads;
He paid several cousins,
To catch them by dozens,
And store them in collossal commodes,
That futile Old Person of Rhodes.
There was an Old Man of Peru,
Who watched his wife making a stew;
But once by mistake,
In a stove she did bake,
That unfortunate Man of Peru,
But he came out much better than new.
There was an Old Man of Melrose,
Who walked on the tips of his toes;
But they said, 'It ain't pleasant,
To see you at present,
In that old ballet dancer's strange pose,
You stupid Old Man of Melrose'.
There was a Young Lady of Lucca,
Whose lovers completely forsook her;
She ran up a tree,
and said, 'Fiddle-de-dee!
I`ll be a Rugby wing-forward and hooker,'
Which embarassed the people of Lucca.
There was an Old Man of Bohemia,
Whose daughter was christened Euphemia;
Till one day, to his grief,
She married a thief,
Then her life became artless and seamier,
Which grieved that Old Man of Bohemia.
There was an Old Man of Vesuvius,
Who studied the works of Vitruvius;
When the flames burnt his book,
To drinking he took,
And became architecturally scroobious,
That morbid Old Man of Vesuvius
There was an Old Man of Cape Horn,
Who wished he had never been born;
So he sat on a chair,
Till he died of despair,
But was reincarnated next dawn,
That dolorous Man of Cape Horn.
There was an Old Lady whose folly,
Induced her to sit in a holly;
Wheron by a thorn,
Her dress being torn,
She quickly became melancholy.
And was never again ever jolly.
There was an Old man of Corfu,
Who never knew what he should do;
So he rushed up and down,
Till the sun made him brown,
And all he could say was, 'Cor, Phew!'
That bewildered Old Man of Corfu.
There was an Old Man of the South
Who had an immoderate mouth;
But in swallowing a dish,
That was quite full of fish,
Washed down with a quart of Vermouth,
He was choked, that Old Man of the South.
There was an Old Man of the Nile,
Who sharpened his nails with a file;
Till he cut off his thumbs,
And said calmly, 'This comes
Of sharpening one's nails with a file,
That one could see was a saw all the while!'
There was an Old Person of Rheims,
Who was troubled with horrible dreams;
So, to keep him awake,
They fed him with cake,
Which amused that Old Person of Rheims.
Till he woke, for the cakes were his pillows it seems.
There was an Old Person of Cromer,
Who stood on one leg to read Homer;
When he found he grew stiff,
He jumped over the cliff,
Which concluded that Person of Cromer,
On his odyssey as a beachcomber.
There was an Old Person of Troy,
Whose drink was warm brandy and soy;
Which he took with a spoon,
By the light of the Moon,
In sight of the city of Troy.
Which the Greeks were about to destroy.
There was an Old Man of the Dee,
Who was sadly annoyed by a flea;
When he said, 'I will scratch it'
They gave him a hatchet,
So he snatched it and cut off his knee,
Which grieved that Old Man of the Dee.
There was an Old Man of Dundee,
Who frequented the top of a tree;
When disturbed by the crows,
He abruptly arose,
Without changing his clothes, so dirty,
And exclaimed, 'I`ll return to Dundee'.
There was an Old Person of Tring,
Who embellished his nose with a ring;
He gazed at the Moon,
Every evening in June,
Declaring, 'The rhyme is the thing!'
That ecstatic Old Person of Tring.
There was an Old Man on some rocks,
Who shut his wife up in a box;
When she said, 'Let me out,'
He exclaimed, 'Without doubt,
You will pass all your life in that box.
You must learn from the school of hard knocks,
Only Houdini could escape all these locks!'
There was an Old Man of Coblentz,
The length of whose legs was immense;
He went with one prance,
From Turkey to France,
But the customs men all took offence
At that surprising Old Man of Coblentz.
There was an Old Man of Calcutta,
Who perpetually ate bread and butter;
Till a great bit of muffin,
On which he was stuffing,
Choked that horrid Old Man of Calcutta.
And left him utterly unable to mutter.
There was an Old Man in a pew,
Whose waistcoat was spotted with blue;
But he tore it in pieces,
To give to his neices,
To fold into creases and stew,
That cheerful Old Man from Beaulieu.
There was an Old Man who said, 'How,
Shall I flee from this horrible Cow?
I will sit on this stile,
And continue to smile,
Which may soften the heart of that Cow.
And may help to uncrumple her brow.'
There was a Young Lady of Hull,
Who was chased by a virulent Bull;
But she seized on a spade,
And called out 'Who's afraid!'
And hit the Bull full on the skull,
Which distracted that virulent Bull.
There was an Old Man of Whitehaven,
Who danced a quadrille with a Raven;
But they said 'It's absurd,
To encourage this bird!'
This rule in our byelaws is engraven!
So they smashed that old Man of Whitehaven.
There was an Old Man of Leghorn,
The smallest as ever was born;
But quickly snapped up he,
Was once by a puppy,
One unhappy midsummer's morn,
Who devoured that Old Man of Leghorn.
There was an Old Man of the Hague,
Whose ideas were excessively vague;
He built a balloon,
To examine the Moon,
But ended up landing in Prague,
That deluded Old Man of Den Haag.
There was an Old Man of Jamaica,
Who suddenly married a Quaker!
But she cried out 'O lack!
I have married a Black!'
That short-sighted. racist, old Shaker,
Which distressed that Old Man of Jamaica.
There was an Old Person of Dutton,
Whose head was as small as a button;
So to make it look big,
He purchased a wig,
Four feet wide and held tight with a nut on,
And rapidly rushed about Dutton.
There was a Young Lady of Tyre,
Who swept the loud chords of a lyre;
At the sound of each sweep,
She enraptured the deep,
And enchanted the city of Tyre.
And drew the cloud hordes of Valkyr,
With sounds like a celestial choir.
There was an Old Man who said 'Hush!
I perceive a young bird in this bush!'
When they said 'Is it small?'
He replied 'Not at all!
It's a Turdus gigantus (great thrush).
It is four times as big as the bush!'
There was an Old Man of the East,
Who gave all his children a feast;
But they all ate so much,
And their conduct was such,
That it killed that Old Man of the East.
And he left all his wealth to a beast.
There was an Old Man of Kamschatka,
Who possessed a remarkably fat cur;
His gait and his waddle,
Were held as a model,
To all the fat dogs in Kamschatka.
And to all local chasers of cat fur.
There was an Old Man of the Coast,
Who placidly sat on a post;
But when it was cold,
He relinquished his hold,
Of the Times, in which he was engrossed,
And called for some hot buttered toast.
There was an Old Person of Bangor,
Whose face was distorted with anger;
He tore off his boots,
And subsisted on roots,
Which alone could induce him to languor,
That borascible Person of Bangor.
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who sat on a horse when it reared;
But they said, 'Never mind!
You will fall off behind!
You propitious Old Man with a beard!'
And he said, 'It was just as I feared!'
There was an Old Man of the West,
Who never could get any rest;
So they set him to spin,
On his nose and his chin,
To be lulled by the hum of his vest,
Which cured that Old Man of the West.
There was an Old Person of Anerley,
Whose conduct was strange and unmannerly;
He rushed down the Strand
With a Pig in each hand,
While keeping his balance uncannily,
But returned in the evening to Anerley.
There was a Young Lady of Troy,
Whom several large flies did annoy;
Some she killed with a thump,
Some she drowned at the pump,
Some she sent with love to her boy,
And some she took with her to Troy.
There was and Old Man of Berlin,
Whose form was uncommonly thin;
Till he once, by mistake,
Was mixed up in a cake,
And was cooked to a turn in a tin,
So they baked that Old Man of Berlin.
There was an Old Person of Spain,
Who hated all trouble and pain;
So he sat on a chair,
With his feet in the air,
To shield his face from the rain,
That umbrageous Old Person of Spain.
There was a Young Lady of Russia,
Who screamed so that no one could hush her;
Her screams were extreme,
No one heard such a scream,
Since the fall of the great House of Usher,
As was screamed by that Lady of Russia.
There was an Old Man who said, 'Well!
Will nobody answer this bell?
I have pulled day and night,
Till my hair has grown white,
But nobody answers this bell!'
And he died there still tolling his knell.
There was a Young Lady of Wales,
Who caught a large fish without scales;
When she lifted her hook,
She exclaimed, 'Only look!
How can I weigh it for fishermen's tales?'
That extatic Young Lady of Wales.
There was an Old Person of Cheadle,
Was put in the stocks by the beadle;
For stealing some pigs,
Some coats and some wigs,
And Old Cleopatterer's needle,
That horrible Person of Cheadle.
There was a Young Lady of Welling,
Whose praise all the world was a-telling;
She played on the harp,
And caught several carp,
Both at once, makes the tale more compelling!
That accomplished Young Lady of Welling.
There was an Old Person of tartary,
Who divided his jugular artery;
But he screeched to his wife,
And she said, 'Oh my life!
You have entered the roll-call of martyry,
Your death will be felt by all Tartary!'
There was an Old Person of Chester,
Whom several small children did pester;
They threw some large stones,
Which broke most of his bones,
But what was worse, they called him a jester,
Which displeased that Old Person of Chester.
So he moved forthwith down to Leicester.
There was an Old Man with an Owl,
Who continued to bother and howl;
He sat on a rail,
And imbibed bitter ale,
With a runcible spoon from a fanciful bowl,
Which refreshed that Old Man and his fowl.
There was an Old Person of Gretna,
Who rushed down the crater of Etna;
When they said, 'Is it hot?'
He replied, 'No it's not!
It's perfectly cool to the retina.'
That mendacious Old Person of Gretna.
There was a Young Lady of Sweden,
Who went by the slow train to Weedon;
When they cried, 'Weedon Station!'
She made no observation,
But she thought she should go back to Sweden,
For it was by no means the Garden of Eden.
There was a Young Girl of Majorca,
Whose Aunt was a very fast walker;
She walked seventy miles,
And leaped fifteen stiles,
It was clear that nothing could baulk her.
Which astonished that Girl of Majorca.
There was an Old Man of the Cape,
Who possessed a large Barbary Ape;
Till the Ape one dark night,
Set the house all alight,
In his barbarous desire to escape.
Which burned that Old Man of the Cape.
There was an Old Lady of Prague,
Whose language was horribly vague;
When they said, 'Are these caps?'
She answered, 'Perhaps!'
Then she spoke of the Year of the Plague.
That oracular Lady of Prague.
There was an Old Person of Sparta,
Who had twenty-five sons and one daughter;
He fed them on snails,
And weighed them in scales,
Marked in ounce, pound, ton, stone and quarter
Sold the sons and put the girl up for barter.
That wonderful Person of Sparta.
There was an Old Man at a casement,
Who held up his hands in amazement;
When they said, 'Sir! you'll fall!'
He replied, 'Not at all!'
This he yelled as he fell to the basement.
That incipient Old Man at a casement.
There was an Old Person of Burton,
Whose answers were rather uncertain;
When they said, 'How d'ye do?'
He replied, 'Who are you?'
And he'd hide behind a long curtain.
That distressing Polonius of Burton.
There was an Old Person of Ems,
Who casually fell in the Thames;
And when he was found,
They said he was drowned,
But he said, 'No, I'm diving for gems.'
That unlucky Old Person of Ems.
There was an Old Person of Ewell,
Who chiefly subsisted on gruel;
But to make it more nice,
He inserted some mice,
To give it a flavour more cruel,
Which refreshed that Old Person of Ewell.
There was a Young Lady of Parma,
Whose conduct grew calmer and calmer;
When they said, 'Are you dumb?'
She merely said, 'Hum!'
In transcendent meditation of Brahma,
That provoking Young Lady of Parma.
There was an Old Man of Aôsta,
Who possessed a large Cow, but he lost her;
But they said, 'Don't you see,
She has rushed up a tree?
Or is that where the Bull has just tossed her?
You invidious Old Man of Aôsta!'
There was an Old Man on whose nose,
Most birds of the air could repose;
But they all flew away,
At the closing of day,
So he could doze with his nose on his toes,
Which relieved that Old Man and his nose.
There was a Young Lady of Clare,
Who was sadly pursued by a Bear;
When she found she was tired,
She abruptly expired,
From a true Winter's Tale, I declare,
That unfortunate Lady of Clare.
There was an Old Man of Hong Kong,
Who never did anything wrong;
He lay on his back,
With his head in a sack,
Till the time came for playing Mah Jong
That innocuous Old Man of Hong Kong.
There was an Old Person of Fife,
Who was greatly disgusted with life;
They sang him a ballad,
And fed him on salad,
And found him a pretty young wife,
Which cured that Old Person of Fife.
There was a Young Person in Green,
Who seldom was fit to be seen;
She wore a long shawl,
Over bonnet and all,
Which enveloped that Person in Green.
So that no-one would call her Dear Queen.
There was an Old Person of Slough,
Who danced at the end of a bough;
But they said, 'If you sneeze,
You might damage the trees,
And if you cough you could fall on a cow.
You imprudent Old Person of Slough.'
There was an Old Person of Putney,
Whose food was roast spiders and chutney,
Which he took with his tea,
Within sight of the sea,
So that none could accuse him of gluttony,
That romantic Old Person of Putney.
There was a Young Lady in White,
Who looked out at the depths of the night;
But the birds of the air,
Filled her heart with despair,
Like ghosts of the dead in their flight,
Which oppressed that Young Lady in White.
There was an Old Person of Brill,
Who purchased a shirt with a frill,
But they said, 'Don't you wish,
You mayn't look like a fish,
You obsequious Old Person of Brill?'
But he ignored them since it gave him a thrill.
There was an Old Man of Three Bridges,
Whose mind was distracted by midges,
He sat on a wheel,
Eating underdone veal,
Sealed up in jellied-eel sandwiches,
Which relieved that Old Man of Three Bridges.
There was an Old Person of Wick,
Who said, 'Tick-a-Tick, Tick-a-Tick;
And he said nothing more,
As the time-bomb he'd ate went off quick.
That laconic Old Person of Wick.
There was a Young Lady in Blue,
Who said, 'Is it you? Is it you?'
When they said, 'Yes it is,'
She replied only, 'Whizz!'
And left before they knew Who.
That ungracious Young Lady in Blue.
There was an Old Person of China,
Whose daughters were Jiska and Dinah,
Amelia and Fluffy,
Olivia and Chuffy,
And whose son was Confucius Minor,
And all of them settled in China.
There was an Old Man of the Dargle,
Who purchased six barrels of Gargle;
For he said, 'I'll sit still,
And will roll them downhill,
As a mark of goodwill, from our bar gal,
To the fish in the depths of the Dargle.'
There was an Old Man in a Marsh,
Whose manners were futile and harsh;
He sat on a log,
And sang songs to a frog,
While whistling through his moustache.
That instructive Old Man in a Marsh.
There was a Young Person in Red,
Who carefully covered her head,
With a bonnet of leather,
And three lines of feather,
Besides some long ribands of red,
For change in the weather was her dread.
There was an Old Person of Bree,
Who frequented the depths of the sea;
She nurs'd the small fishes,
And washed all the dishes,
Which she did without charging a fee,
And swam back in time to make tea.
There was an Old Man in a Barge,
Whose nose was exceedingly large;
But in fishing at night,
It supported a light,
Produced by electric discharge,
Which helped that Old Man in a Barge.
There was an Old Person in black,
A grasshopper jumped on his back;
When it chirped in his ear,
He was smitten with fear,
Since at hopping he was lacking the knack,
That helpless Old Person in black.
There was an Old Man of Toulouse,
Who purchased a new pair of shoes;
When they asked, 'Are they pleasant?'
'He said, 'Not at present!
They're too loose and too easy to lose.'
That turbid Old Man of Toulouse.
There was an Old Man of Blackheath,
Whose head was adorned with a wreath,
Of lobsters and spice,
Pickled onions and mice,
With a ring of shark's teeth underneath,
That uncommon Old Man of Blackheath.
There was an Old Man on the Humber,
Who dined on a cake of burnt umber;
When he said 'It's enough!'
They only said, 'Stuff!
You must at least wash it down with cucumber,
You amazing Old Man on the Humber!'
There was an Old Person of Stroud,
Who was horribly jammed in a crowd;
Some she slew with a kick,
Some she scrunched with a stick,
The rest she left bloody and bowed,
That impulsive Old Person of Stroud.
There was an Old Man of Boulak,
Who sat on a crocodile's back;
But they said, 'Towards night,
He may probably bite,
And some pieces or two you would lack,
Which might vex you, Old Man of Boulak!'
There was an Old Man of Ibreem,
Who suddenly threatened to scream:
But they said, 'If you do,
We will thump you quite blue,
With the end of this shiny moon-beam,
You disgusting Old Man of Ibreem!'
There was an Old Lady of France,
Who taught little ducklings to dance;
When she said, 'Tick-a-tack!'
They only said, 'Quack!'
Which grieved that Old Lady of France.
And disappointed her uncles and aunts.
There was an Old Man who screamed out
Whenever they knocked him about;
So they took off his boots,
And fed him with fruits,
Yet despite these pursuits he'd still shout,
When they continued to knock him about!
There was an Old Person of Woking,
Whose mind was perverse and provoking;
He sat on a rail,
With his head in a pail,
Yet insisted he wasn't just joking.
That illusive Old Person of Woking.
There was a Young Person of Bantry,
Who frequently slept in the pantry;
When disturbed by the mice,
She appeased them with rice,
Before hanging them up on a gantry.
That judicious Young Person of Bantry.
(But the Council declared it insanitary.)
There was an Old Man at a junction,
Whose feelings were wrung with compunction,
When they said, 'The Train's gone!'
He exclaimed, 'How forlorn!
This misfunction will cost me my luncheon!'
But remained on the rails of the junction.
There was an Old Man who when little
Fell casually into a kettle;
But, growing too stout,
He could never get out,
So he passed all his life in that metal.
Yet his humour remained in fine fettle.
There was an Old Lady of Winchelsea,
Who said, 'If you needle or pin shall see,
On the floor of my room,
Sweep it up with the broom!'
Now her thrift is a subject of minstralsy.
That exhaustive Old Lady of Winchelsea!
There was a Young Lady of Firle,
Whose hair was addicted to curl;
It curled up a tree,
And all over the sea,
And set the world's winds in a whirl.
That expansive Young Lady of Firle.
There was an Old Person of Rye,
Who went up to town on a fly;
But they said, 'If you cough,
You are sure to fall off!
Unless you quaff enough whiskey to get high,
You abstemious Old Person of Rye!'
There was an Old Man of Messina,
Whose daughter was named Opsibeena;
She wore a small wig,
And rode out on a pig,
And no-one has ever since seen her.
To the perfect delight of Messina.
There is a Young Lady, whose nose,
Continually prospers and grows;
When it grew out of sight,
She exclaimed in a fright,
'Oh, farewell to the end of my nose!'
When she sneezes they shout: 'Thar she blows!'
There was an Old Person of Cannes,
Who purchased three fowls and a fan;
Those she placed on a stool,
And to make them feel cool,
And complete her ingenious plan,
She constantly fanned them at Cannes.
There was an Old Person of Barnes,
Whose garments were covered with darns;
But they said, 'Without doubt,
You will soon wear them out,
They are stitched with the flimsiest yarns,
You luminous person of Barnes!'
There was an Old Man of Cashmere,
Whose movements were scroobious and queer;
Being slender and tall,
He looked over a wall,
And saw far past the end of next year.
And perceived the dread fate of Cashmere.
There was an Old Person of Hove,
Who frequented the depths of a grove;
Where he studied his books,
With the wrens and the rooks,
Midst the druidic spell that he wove.
That tranquil Old Person of Hove.
There was an Old Person of Down,
Whose face was adorned with a frown;
When he opened the door,
For one minute or more,
In his moth-eaten old dressing gown.
He alarmed all the people of Down.
There was an Old Man of Dunluce,
Who went out to sea on a goose;
When he'd gone out a mile,
He observed with a smile,
'I can see you have run out of juice,
It is time to return to Dunluce.'
There was a Young Person of Kew,
Whose virtues and vices were few;
But with blameable haste,
She devoured some hot paste,
Without endeavouring to chew.
Which destroyed that Young Person of Kew.
There was an Old Person of Sark,
Who made an unpleasant remark;
But they said, 'Don't you see
What a brute you must be?
You obnoxious Old Beldame of Sark!'
And threw her to swim with the shark.
There was an Old Person of Filey,
Of whom his acquaintance spoke highly;
He danced perfectly well,
To the sound of a bell,
With a countenance cherubic and smiley,
Which delighted the people of Filey.
There was an Old Man of El Hums,
Who lived upon nothing but crumbs,
Which he picked off the ground,
With the other birds round,
In the roads and the lanes of El Hums.
Since with spoons he was fingers and thumbs.
There was an Old Man of West Dumpet,
Who possessed a large nose like a trumpet;
When he blew it aloud,
It astonished the crowd,
And was heard through the whole of West Dumpet.
So they fed him on muffins and crumpet.
There was an Old Man of Port Grigor,
Whose actions were noted for vigour;
He stood on his head,
Till his waistcoat turned red,
But the exercise ruined his figure.
That eclectic Old Man of Port Grigor.
There was an Old Person of Bar,
Who passed all her life in a jar,
Which she painted pea-green,
To appear more serene,
And was appointed a saint by the Tsar.
That placid Old Person of Bar.
There was an Old Person of Pett,
Who was partly consumed by regret;
He sat in a cart,
And ate cold apple tart,
Thus reducing his levels of debt.
Which relieved that Old Person of Pett.
There was an Old Person of Newry,
Whose manners were tinctured with fury;
He tore all the rugs,
And broke all the jugs,
Within twenty miles' distance of Newry.
And was sentenced to hugs by the jury.
There was an Old Person of Jodd,
Whose ways were perplexing and odd;
She purchased a whistle,
And sat on a thistle,
And squeaked to the people of Jodd,
To acknowledge the greatness of God.
There was an Old Person of Shoreham,
Whose habits were marked by decorum;
He brought an umbrella,
And sat in the cellar,
And hired a story teller to bore them.
Which pleased all the people of Shoreham.
There was an Old Man of Dumbree,
Who taught little owls to drink tea;
For he said, 'To eat mice,
Is not proper or nice.'
Especially not twice before three.'
That amiable man of Dumbree.
There was an Old Person of Wilts,
Who constantly walked upon stilts;
He wreathed them with lilies,
So no-one could look up his kilts.
That elegant Person of Wilts.
There was an Old Man whose remorse,
Induced him to drink caper sauce;
For they said, 'If mixed up,
With some cold claret-cup,
And washed down for supper with gorse.
It will certainly soothe your remorse!'
There was an Old Person of Cassel,
Whose nose finished off in a tassel;
But they called out, 'Oh well!
Don't it look like a bell!'
And the police had to quell all the hassle.
Which perplexed that old Person of Cassel.
There was a Young Person of Janina,
Whose uncle was always a-fanning her;
When he fanned off her head,
She smiled sweetly, and said,
'You propitious Old Person of Janina!
Without doubt you're one man in a ...'
There was an Old Person of Ware,
Who rode on the back of a bear:
When they asked, 'Does it trot?'
He said 'Certainly not!
He sways like a camel and bounds like a hare.
He's a Moppsikon Floppsikon bear!'
There was an Old Person of Dean
Who dined on one pea and one bean;
For he said, 'More than that,
Would make me too fat,
And less would make me too lean.'
That cautious Old Person of Dean.
There was an Old Person of Dundalk,
Who tried to teach fishes to walk;
When they tumbled down dead,
He grew weary and said,
'People are beginning to talk, and to gawk.
I had better go back to Dundalk!'
There was a Young Person of Ayr,
Whose head was remarkably square:
On the top, in fine weather,
She wore a gold feather,
And laid her best silver tableware.
Which dazzled the people of Ayr.
There was an Old Person of Skye,
Who waltzed with a bluebottle fly:
They buzzed a sweet tune,
To the light of the moon,
For they both were quite lissom and spry.
And entranced all the people of Skye.
There was an Old Man of Dumblane,
Who greatly resembled a crane;
But they said, 'Is it wrong,
Since you're legs are so long,
And your grandsire was Derrick the Vain.
To request you won't stay in Dumblane?'
There was an Old Person of Hyde,
Who walked by the shore with his bride,
Till a crab who came near,
Filled their bosoms with fear,
Since its pincers were forty feet wide.
And they said, 'Would we'd never left Hyde!'
There was an Old Person of Rimini,
Who said, 'Gracious, Goodness, O Gimini!'
When they said, 'Please be still!'
She ran off down a hill,
Pursued by an invisible enemy.
And was never more heard of at Rimini.
There was an Old Man in a tree,
Whose whiskers were lovely to see;
But the birds of the air,
Plucked them perfectly bare,
And they used all the hair fancy free,
To make themselves nests in that tree.
There was a Young Lady of Corsica,
Who purchased a little brown saucy-cur;
Which she fed upon ham,
And hot raspberry jam,
Which made it melancholic or sicker.
That expensive Young Lady of Corsica.
There was an Old Person of Bray,
Who sang through the whole of the day
To his ducks and his pigs,
Whom he fed upon figs,
Some jigs and a gay roundelay.
That valuable Person of Bray.
There was an Old Dean of Oswestry,
Who sat himself down in the vestry,
When they said, 'You are wrong!'
He merely said, 'Bong!'
And cast doubts on his critics ancestry.
That repulsive Old Dean of Oswestry.
There was an Old Person of Bude,
Whose deportment was vicious and crude;
He wore a large ruff,
Of pale straw-coloured stuff,
But otherwise dressed in the nude.
Which perplexed all the people of Bude.
There was an Old Person of Bow,
Whom nobody happened to know;
So they gave him some soap,
And said coldly, 'We hope,
A pair of clean heels you will show.
And will go back directly to Bow!'
There was a Young Lady of Greenwich,
Whose garments were bordered with spinach;
But a large spotty calf,
Bit her shawl quite in half,
Ate her scarf and cast doubt on her lineage.
Which alarmed that Young Lady of Greenwich.
There was an Old Person of Brigg,
Who purchased no end of a wig;
So that only his nose,
And the end of his toes,
And nothing at all of his rig,
Could be seen when he walked about Brigg.
There was an Old Person of Crowle,
Who lived in the nest of an owl;
When they screamed in the nest,
He screamed out with the rest,
'Can't you see, you fools, I'm a fowl!'
That depressing Old Person of Crowle.
There was an Old Person in grey,
Whose feelings were tinged with dismay;
She purchased two parrots,
And fed them with carrots,
But they spurned them and flew far away,
Which pleased that Old Person in grey.
There was an Old Person of Blythe,
Who cut up his meat with a scythe;
When they said, 'Well I never!'
He cried 'Scythes for ever!'
And danced with a rhythmical writhe,
That lively Old Person of Blythe.
There was an Old Person of Ealing,
Who was wholly devoid of good feeling;
He drove a small gig,
With three owls and a pig,
Up the walls and over the ceiling,
Which distressed all the people of Ealing.
There was an Old Person of Ickley,
Who could not abide to ride quickly,
He rode to Karnak,
On a tortoise's back,
And returned on a hedgehog, so prickly.
That moony Old Person of Ickley.
There was an Old Man of Ancona,
Who found a small dog with no owner,
Which he took up and down,
All the streets of the town,
But he found that the dog was a Jonah.
That anxious Old man of Ancona.
There was an Old Person of Grange,
Whose manners were scroobious and strange;
He sailed to St. Blubb,
In a waterproof tub,
Over dangerous quick-sands that change.
That aquatic Old Person of Grange.
There was an Old Person of Nice,
Whose associates were usually geese.
They walked out together,
In all sorts of weather.
Even on ice just to please his nice niece.
That affable Person of Nice!
There was an Old Person of Deal,
Who in walking used only his heel;
When they said, 'Tell us why?'
He made no reply;
But the tack in his toe seemed quite real.
That mysterious Old Person of Deal.
There was an Old Man of Thermopylae,
Who never did anything properly;
But they said, 'If you choose,
To boil eggs in your shoes,
Which makes them flap floppily,
You shall never remain in Thermopylae.'
There was an Old Person of Minety
Who purchased five hundred and ninety
Large apples and pears,
Which he threw unawares,
In a manner neither jaunty nor dainty,
At the heads of the people of Minety.
There was an Old Man whose despair
Induced him to purchase a hare:
Whereon one fine day,
He rode wholly away,
To London, where they made him Lord Mayor,
Which partly assuaged his despair.
There was an Old Person of Pinner,
As thin as a lath, if not thinner;
They dressed him in white,
And rolled him up tight,
As contortionist gold-medal winner,
That elastic Old Person of Pinner.
There was an Old Person of Bromley,
Whose ways were not cheerful or comely;
He sat in the dust,
Eating spiders and crust,
And continued to behave quite abominably,
That unpleasing Old Person of Bromley.
There was an Old Man of Dunrose;
A parrot seized hold of his nose.
When he grew melancholy,
They said, 'His name's Polly.'
The parrot said 'Hallo Mr Polly, I'm Joe's',
Which soothed that Old Man of Dunrose.
There was an Old Man on the Border,
Who lived in the utmost disorder;
He danced with the cat,
And made tea in his hat,
But the Queen made him chief prison warder,
Which vexed all the folks on the Border.
There was an Old Man of Spithead,
Who opened the window and said,
A new language he'd thought of in bed,
That doubtful Old Man of Spithead.
There was an Old Person of Sheen,
Whose expression was calm and serene;
He sat in the water,
And drank bottled porter,
Till the flood circumvented his spleen,
That placid Old Person of Sheen.
There was an Old Person of Florence,
Who held mutton chops in abhorrence;
He purchased a bustard,
And fried him in mustard,
And poured on hot custard in torrents,
Which choked that Old Person of Florence.
There was an Old Person of Loo,
Who said, 'What on earth shall I do?'
When they said, 'Go away!'
She continued to stay,
And create a big hullaballoo,
That vexatious Old Person of Loo.
There was an Old Person of Pisa,
Whose daughters did nothing to please her;
She dressed them in grey,
And chased them all day,
In the widdershins way,
Round the walls of the city of Pisa.
There was an Old Man in a garden,
Who always begged every-one's pardon;
When they asked him, 'What for?'
He replied, 'You're a bore!
And before the cement starts to harden,
I trust you'll get out of my garden.'
There was an Old Man of Thames Ditton,
Who called for something to sit on;
But they brought him a hat,
And said 'Sit upon that,
And play with this cat and its kitten,
You abruptious Old Man of Thames Ditton!'
There was an Old Man of Dee-side,
Whose hat was exceedingly wide,
But he said, 'Do not fail,
If it happen to hail,
Or blow up a gale, to come and abide
Here, under my hat at Dee-side!'
There was an Old Man at a station,
Who made a promiscuous oration;
But they said, 'Take some snuff!
You have talked quite enough!
Cease your confounded long confabulation,
You afflicting Old Man at a station!'
There was an Old Person of Shields,
Who frequented the valleys and fields;
All the mice and the cats,
And the snakes and the rats,
Impressed by the umbrella he wields,
Followed after that Person of Shields.
There was a Young Person in pink,
Who called out for something to drink;
But they said, 'O my daughter,
There's nothing but water!'
But what they brought her was Indian ink,
Which vexed that Young Person in pink.
There was a Young Person whose history,
Was always considered a mystery;
She sat in a ditch,
Although no one knew which,
And composed a small treatise on history:
"On the lore of the papal consistory".
Addendum: The following are the originals of verses where I have done more than just adding a line: