Edward Lear’s Turtle

lear's turtle

Edward Lear (1812-1888), Turtle, Sept. 15, 1860. Pencil on paper. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02052

Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To the calm and silent sea
Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
Lay a large and lively Turtle.
“You’re the Cove,” he said, “for me;
On your back beyond the sea,
Turtle, you shall carry me!”
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Through the silent-roaring ocean
Did the Turtle swiftly go;
Holding fast upon his shell
Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
With a sad primeval motion
Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
Still the Turtle bore him well.
Holding fast upon his shell,
“Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!”
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

–Excerpt from The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo by Edward Lear (1812 – 1888)

See also: James de Carle Sowerby (1787-1871), Tortoises, terrapins, and turtles drawn from life, by James de Carle Sowerby … and Edward Lear (London, Paris, and Frankfort: H. Sotheran, J. Baer & co., 1872). Rare Books (Ex)Oversize 88783.867q