The Jumblies

- 1812-1888

I

They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they went to sea:
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
   In a Sieve they went to sea!
And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, "You'll all be drowned!"
They called aloud, "Our Sieve ain't big,
But we don't care a button! we don't care a fig!
   In a Sieve we'll go to sea!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

II

They sailed in a Sieve, they did,
   In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a ribbon by way of a sail,
   To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
And every one said, who saw them go,"
0 won't they be soon upset, you know!
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
   In a Sieve to sail so fast!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

III

The water it soon came in, it did,
   The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
   And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, "How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
   While round in our Sieve we spin!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

IV

And all night long they sailed away;
   And when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
   In the shade of the mountains brown.
"0 Timballo! How happy we are,
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar,
And all night long in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail,
   In the shade of the mountains brown!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

V

They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
   To a land all covered with trees,
And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
   And a hive of silvery Bees.
And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
   And no end of Stilton Cheese.
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

VI

And in twenty years they all came back,
   In twenty years or more,
And every one said, "How tall they've grown!
For they've been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
   And the hills of the Chankly Bore";
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
And every one said, "If we only live,
We too will go to sea in a Sieve,--
   To the hills of the Chankly Bore!"
      Far and few, far and few,
         Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
      Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
         And they went to sea in a Sieve.

More by Edward Lear

The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo

On the Coast of Coromandel
   Where the early pumpkins blow,
      In the middle of the woods
   Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle--
      These were all his worldly goods,
      In the middle of the woods,
      These were all his worldly goods,
   Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
   Of the Yonghy-Bonghy Bo.

Once, among the Bong-trees walking
   Where the early pumpkins blow,
      To a little heap of stones
   Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There he heard a Lady talking,
To some milk-white Hens of Dorking--
      "'Tis the Lady Jingly Jones!
      On that little heap of stones
      Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!"
   Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
   Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

"Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
   Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
      Will you come and be my wife?"
   Said the Yongby-Bonghy-Bo.
"I am tired of living singly--
On this coast so wild and shingly--
      I'm a-weary of my life;
      If you'll come and be my wife,
      Quite serene would be my life!"
   Said the Yonghy-Bongby-Bo,
   Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

"On this Coast of Coromandel
   Shrimps and watercresses grow,
      Prawns are plentiful and cheap,"
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
"You shall have my chairs and candle,
And my jug without a handle!
      Gaze upon the rolling deep
      (Fish is plentiful and cheap);
      As the sea, my love is deep!"
   Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
   Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Lady Jingly answered sadly,
   And her tears began to flow--
      "Your proposal comes too late,
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
I would be your wife most gladly!"
(Here she twirled her fingers madly)
      "But in England I've a mate!
      Yes! you've asked me far too late,
      For in England I've a mate,
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
   Mr. Yongby-Bonghy-Bo!

"Mr. Jones (his name is Handel--
   Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
      Dorking fowls delights to send
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Keep, oh, keep your chairs and candle,
And your jug without a handle--
      I can merely be your friend!
      Should my Jones more Dorkings send,
      I will give you three, my friend!
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!

"Though you've such a tiny body,
   And your head so large doth grow--
      Though your hat may blow away
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Though you're such a Hoddy Doddy,
Yet I wish that I could modi-
      fy the words I needs must say!
      will you please to go away
      That is all I have to say,
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
   Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!"

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.

From the Coast of Coromandel
   Did that Lady never go;
      On that heap of stones she mourns
   For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
On that Coast of Coromandel,
In his jug without a handle
      Still she weeps, and daily moans;
      On that little heap of stones
      To her Dorking Hens she moans,
   For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
   For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Book of Nonsense, 1, 10 & 12

1. 
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,
Have all built their nests in my beard!"


10. 
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!"


12. 
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.

Alphabet Poem

A     tumbled down, and hurt his Arm, against a bit of wood.
B     said, "My Boy, O! do not cry' it cannot do you good!"
C     said, "A Cup of Coffee hot can't do you any harm."
D     said, "A Doctor should be fetched, and he would cure the arm."
E     said, "An Egg beat up in milk would quickly make him well."
F     said, "A Fish, if broiled, might cure, if only by the smell."
G     said, "Green Gooseberry fool, the best of cures I hold."
H     said, "His Hat should be kept on, keep him from the cold."
I     said, "Some Ice upon his head will make him better soon."
J     said, "Some Jam, if spread on bread, or given in a spoon."
K     said, "A Kangaroo is here,—this picture let him see."
L     said, "A Lamp pray keep alight, to make some barley tea."
M     said, "A Mulberry or two might give him satisfaction."
N     said, "Some Nuts, if rolled about, might be a slight attraction."
O     said, "An Owl might make him laugh, if only it would wink."
P     said, "Some Poetry might be read aloud, to make him think."
Q     said, "A Quince I recommend,—A Quince, or else a Quail."
R     said, "Some Rats might make him move, if fastened by their tail."
S     said, "A Song should now be sung, in hopes to make him laugh!"
T     said, "A Turnip might avail, if sliced or cut in half."
U     said, "An Urn, with water hot, place underneath his chin!"
V     said, "I'll stand upon a chair, and play a Violin!"
W    said, "Some Whiskey-Whizzgigs fetch, some marbles and a ball!"
X     said, "Some double XX ale would be the best of all!"
Y     said, "Some Yeast mised up with salt would make a perfect plaster!"
Z     said, "Here is a box of Zinc! Get in my little master!
       We'll shut you up! We'll nail you down!
       We will, my little master!
       We think we've all heard quite enough of this sad disaster!"