Written by Erskin Quint
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Saturday, 21 April 2012

image for Edward Lear: The Dorking Poems, Pt I Mole Valley farmers discuss the literary legacy of Edward Lear.

Another selection from the fruitful harvest of Lear's Dorking years


A deluded young vicar of Dorking
Put a hen on his arm to go hawking.
Though he hawked day and night,
The prey simply took fright
At the hen's dreadful flapping and squawking.

A Mole Valley farmer one day
Resolved he would live upon hay,
So he sat on a cow
And repeated his vow,
Saying 'here with the cattle I'll stay'.

The Bishop of Dorking, whose nose
Was as long as a very long hose,
Was obliged, at his toilet,
To twist and to coil it
Around from his neck to his toes.

A sheep-farmer from the North Downs
Was surprised by a stray troupe of clowns.
When they shouted 'Where are we?'
He replied 'On safari!'
And he drove them away with his hounds.

A mournful schoolmaster of Dorking
Was unable to do any chalking,
Crying: 'My boys will baulk!
Trying to teach without chalk
Is like going in a boat with no caulking!'

While journeying through the Mole Gap
A cantankerous squire lost his cap.
Though he screamed and he roared,
The police sergeant snored:
'Twas the hour of his afternoon nap.

An inebriate cove climbed Box Hill
With a carpet bag stuffed full of twill.
When they cried: 'Why the bag?'
He said: 'Aye, it's a fag,
But 'twas left in my grandmother's will.'

A Dorking fishmonger named Rounder,
Was known as a bit of a bounder.
He sold bream in hot custard,
Live eels in French mustard;
And cold Christmas pudding with flounder.

A man who ascended Leith Hill
Was mocked when they said: 'There's no skill
In climbing up that!
An old maid and her cat
Only yesterday mounted Leith Hill!'

A Brockham man sat in a tree
and he sang to a wasp and a bee.
'Fiddle-da, fiddle-dee;
Fiddle-riddle bo-ree',
Sang the man, 'Fiddle-diddle do-dee.'

An eccentric gourmet of Great Bookham
Saw the bonnets of girls and he took them.
When they cried: 'You've our hats!'
He replied: 'What of that?
'I eat hats. I shall go home and cook them.'

An inventive fishmonger of Dorking
Had grown very tired of walking,
So he fitted some eels
With bicycle wheels,
Which certainly got the town talking.

A Dorking housekeeper kept toads.
When they said: 'Your obsession forebodes
Nothing good', she replied:
'Pish! I am occupied
In composing amphibian odes'.

A Betchworth man mocked at the labours
Of a pigeon-fancying neighbour,
So he threw him a bat,
Saying 'just fancy that!'
Beating out a tattoo on a tabor.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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