Edward Lear's Nonsense Books

Edward Lear's nonsense books complete set - online version

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The contents of the third or present volume were made also at different intervals in the last two years.
Long years ago, in days when much of my time was passed in a country house, where children and mirth abounded, the lines beginning, "There was an old man of Tobago," were suggested to me by a valued friend, as a form of verse lending itself to limitless variety for rhymes and pictures; and thenceforth the greater part of the original drawings and verses for the first "Book of Nonsense" were struck off with a pen, no assistance ever having been given me in any way but that of uproarious delight and welcome at the appearance of every new absurdity.
Most of these Drawings and Rhymes were transferred to lithographic stones in the year 1846, and were then first published by Mr. Thomas McLean, of the Haymarket. But that edition having been soon exhausted, and the call for the "Book of Nonsense" continuing, I added a considerable number of subjects to those previously-published, and having caused the whole to be carefully reproduced in woodcuts by Messrs. Dalzell, I disposed of the copyright to Messrs. Routledge and Warne, by whom the volume was published in 1843.
VILLA EMILY, SAN REMO, August, 1871.