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The Owl and the Pussy-cat Went to Sea

It’s a Victorian-era love ballad and one of England’s classic childhood poems
© William Foster, illustrator View Large

During much of his life, Edward Lear, the poet who wrote The Owl and the Pussy-cat, was known for his paintings. Lear’s first major project was a book of paintings of parrots, inspired in part by the friendship and mentoring of John James Audubon. He spent years traveling the globe, painting landscapes.

In real life, owls and cats aren't usually good friends, but check out this strange video for a smile.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Owl and the Pussy-cat Went to Sea

Written by Bob Sundstrom

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.”

It’s a Victorian-era love ballad set in nonsense verse and one of England’s classic childhood poems. But in the natural world, there’s little romance between owls and cats. Great Horned Owls have even been known to dine on pussy-cats. Still, in the cultural world, the poem’s charm endures.

During much of his life, Edward Lear, the poet who wrote this verse, was known for his skillful paintings. Lear’s first major project was a book of paintings of parrots, inspired in part by the friendship and mentoring of John James Audubon. Lear was just twenty when his watercolor collection was published, establishing his reputation as a skillful artist. Lear traveled the world for decades, painting landscapes as he went.

But back to our friends, the cat and the owl... the two of them “sailed away, for a year and a day” ...

   "And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand
          They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.”

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

###

BirdNote’s theme composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler. Music: Piano Concerto No. 4 in F Minor Opus 19 II. Album: Bennett and Bache Piano Concertos. Artist: Howard Shelley & the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Publishing: Hyperion Records 2007
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2019 Tune In to Nature.org   January 2019   Narrator: Mary McCann
 
ID#  leare-01-2019-1-21  leare-01

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