The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo

Edward Lear 1812 (Holloway) – 1888 (Sanremo)



I

On the Coast of Coromandel
Where the early pumpkins blow,
In the middle of the woods
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
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 the worldly goods,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

II

Once, among the Bong-trees walking
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To a little heap of stones
Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
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-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

III

'Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
'Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
'Will you come and be my wife?'
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
'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-Bonghy-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

IV

'On this Coast of Coromandel,
'Shrimps and watercresses grow,
'Prawns are plentiful and cheap,'
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
'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-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

V

Lady Jingly answered sadly,
And her tears began to flow,--
'Your proposal comes too late,
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
'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-Bò!
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!'

VI

'Mr. Jones -- (his name is Handel,--
'Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
'Dorking fowls delights to send,
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
'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-Bò!
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!'

VII

'Though you've such a tiny body,
'And your head so large doth grow,--
'Though your hat may blow away,
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!
'Though you're such a Hoddy Doddy--
'Yet a 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-Bò!
'Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò!'.

VIII

Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To the calm and silent sea
Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
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-Bò,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

IX

Through the silent-roaring ocean
Did the Turtle swiftly go;
Holding fast upon his shell
Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
With a sad primæval 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-Bò,
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

X

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

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 30, 2023

2:54 min read
241

Quick analysis:

Scheme aABcaabBbCC dAecddeeeCC aafCaafffCC aghCaahhhCC aaiCaaiiiCC agjCaajjjCC cgkCickkkCC aAccaacccCC lgAcllaAaCC agxCaaeeeCC
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 3,279
Words 582
Stanzas 10
Stanza Lengths 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11

Edward Lear

Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. more…

All Edward Lear poems | Edward Lear Books

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