Gateway to the Classics: Display Item
Edward Lear

Nonsense Alphabet

A was an ant

Who seldom stood still,

And who made a nice house

In the side of a hill.

Nice little ant!

B was a book

With a binding of blue,

And pictures and stories

For me and for you.

Nice little book!

C was a cat

Who ran after a rat;

But his courage did fail

When she seized on his tail.

Crafty old cat!

D was a duck

With spots on his back,

Who lived in the water,

And always said "Quack!"

Dear little duck!

E was an elephant,

Stately and wise:

He had tusks and a trunk,

And two queer little eyes.

Oh, what funny small eyes!

F was a fish

Who was caught in a net;

But he got out again,

And is quite alive yet.

Lively young fish!

G was a goat

Who was spotted with brown:

When he did not lie still

He walked up and down.

Good little goat!

H was a hat

Which was all on one side;

Its crown was too high,

And its brim was too wide.

Oh, what a hat!

I was some ice

So white and so nice,

But which nobody tasted;

And so it was wasted.

All that good ice!

J was a jackdaw

Who hopped up and down

In the principal street

Of a neighboring town.

All through the town!

K was a kite

Which flew out of sight,

Above houses so high,

Quite into the sky.

Fly away, kite!

L was a light

Which burned all the night,

And lighted the gloom

Of a very dark room.

Useful nice light!

M was a mill

Which stood on a hill,

And turned round and round

With a loud hummy sound.

Useful old mill!

N was a net

Which was thrown in the sea

To catch fish for dinner

For you and for me.

Nice little net!

O was an orange

So yellow and round:

When it fell off the tree,

It fell down to the ground.

Down to the ground!

P was a pig,

Who was not very big;

But his tail was too curly,

And that made him surly.

Cross little pig!

Q was a quail

With a very short tail;

And he fed upon corn

In the evening and morn.

Quaint little quail!

R was a rabbit,

Who had a bad habit

Of eating the flowers

In gardens and bowers.

Naughty fat rabbit!

S was the sugar-tongs,


To take up the sugar

To put in our tea.


T was a tortoise,

All yellow and black:

He walked slowly away,

And he never came back.

Torty never came back!

U was an urn

All polished and bright,

And full of hot water

At noon and at night.

Useful old urn!

V was a villa

Which stood on a hill,

By the side of a river,

And close to a mill.

Nice little villa!

W was a whale

With a very long tail,

Whose movements were frantic

Across the Atlantic.

Monstrous old whale!

X was King Xerxes,

Who, more than all Turks, is

Renowned for his fashion

Of fury and passion.

Angry old Xerxes!

Y was a yew,

Which flourished and grew

By a quiet abode

Near the side of a road.

Dark little yew!

Z was some zinc,

So shiny and bright,

Which caused you to wink

In the sun's merry light.

Beautiful zinc!