Tag Archives: edward-gorey

Before Edward Gorey –The Edward Lear Limerick Book

Before Edward Gorey –The Edward Lear Limerick Book




Author’s Note–I love Edward Gorey always have. He might be a tad more macabre than Edward Lear but the writing of limericks and the devil were associated back in the day so he isn’t far off from Gorey. This book was my Grandfather’s and I have cherished it through the years. He made me recite limericks as a child as he said it would improve my King’s  English. I have no idea if that idea succeeded.:)



The “Letters of Edward Lear,” author of the “ Book of Nonsense” which have just appeared in a handsome volume edited by Lady Strachey, and published by Mr. Fisher Unwin, would not have been produced at a more appropriate moment.


For Lear is generally recognised as the inventor of the limerick and the year 1907 is likely to be remembered in history forever as the Limerick year. There may be people here and there who have not tried their skill in these enterprises.


Photo- Linda Seccaspina


Such curious people may he found in the land, just as there are folk who have, not seen a railway train or the sea. But for months the writing of Limericks and the learning of Diabolo have absorbed the attention of a great and a free people. The competition between the two has been fierce. No man and no woman is likely to excel at both, for each demands an undivided devotion, and will bear no rival near the throne. Who invented Diabolo I know not, though I know there are some who have been baffled by the game who claim that it is named after its inventor, and that it was demised by the Evil One himself.


But in regard to the Limerick, I think it is generally conceded that Edward Lear, the artist, was the first to introduce this form of versification to the public. In one important point, however, the Limerick has changed since its day. That what is turning women grey and men bald is the attempt to make up a line to rhyme with the first two lines, and thus the last word is of importance as constituting the rhyme.



Photo- Linda Seccaspina

Lear, however, was in the habit of ending the first line and the last with the same word. I will give-one of his verses just as a sample : There was a young lady of Clare Who was sadly pursued by a bear ; When she found she was tired, She abruptly expired, That unfortunate lady of Clare. But we should remember that Lear began the style, he created the mode, he was the pioneer, and while later bards may have produced more effective verse they have done so by improving on his model.


And what sort of a man was this same Edward Lear ? It seems to me that these letters reveal him all the more effectively because it is so obvious that they were not written for publication. Letters that are written in order to be published, or these written when the author has a shrewd suspicion that one day they will appear in print, may gain something in the way of literary polish, but they lose much in charm.



Photo- Linda Seccaspina

Edward Lear had a way of prattling on paper, talking about his struggles and his prospects, his art which he loved, and that want of pence which from time to time ‘ exed him as it has vexed other public men. He was singularly fortunate in forming friendship with men and women in the high places both of society and of, politics, and yet he was no means torn in the purple himself.


He was the youngest of twenty-one children, and according to his account he was only fifteen years old when he learned to draw for bread and cheese, but only did uncommon queer shop sketches—selling them for varying prices from ninepence to four shillings ; coloring prints, screens, fans ; awhile making morbid drawings for hospitals and certain doctors of physic.



Photo- Linda Seccaspina–Great Aunt Alice from the UK


When only nineteen years old, he was engaged as a draughtsman at the Zoological Gardens, and his fine work in producing a collection of coloured drawings of parrots and other birds attracted the attention of Lord Derby, who had formed a magnificent affection of animals and birds at Knowsley and had resolved to produce an illustrated volume illustrating that collection.





The volume was privately printed In 1856, is now the extremely rare and valuable Knowsley Menagerie and was left in the hands cf Edward Lear. That was the tide in his affairs which, taken at the flood, led on to fortune or something  like it or he was associated with Knowsley for twelve or thirteen years.

S. L . Hughes in Canadian Courier 1900




Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)



Sticky Fingers – With Apologies to Edward Gorey –Wheeler’s Pancake House





It was a cold snowy day when Basil and Una went for a drive,

It was just the type of day that made you happy to be alive.


Basil had not wanted to make the journey to the house of sweet treats,

But Una had insisted, as she had heard it was quite neat.

Una was fascinated with the pioneer tales of yesteryear,

And had heard that magic lurked in the woods not far from there.


Una was fascinated to see if these tales of golden sweet sticky syrup were true,

She had heard that magic poured from trees and her imagination flew.



Una and Basil were hungry as they impatiently tapped their fingers,

Waiting for their delicious sweet treat to arrive without delays or lingers.


As a kind woman made their pancakes in a large vessel,

Basil told Una that he was so hungry she’d better watch her Sugar Bush Special.


Their pancakes were placed on the table with the utmost of great care,

Basil ate BOTH their meals quickly and Una gave him the darkest stare.


Suddenly Basil disappeared and was nowhere to be found,

He was not outside by the sap feeders and there was nary a sound.


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The llamas giggled next to the sheep,

They had seen Basil but were not making a peep.

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There were no footsteps in the snow where Basil might have been,

It was so quiet and peaceful you could not hear the drop of a pin.


There was no trace of Basil hiding behind the wood,

He was nowhere,  yet we saw a piece of his hood.


All of a sudden from the depths of the earth came an fat orange-coloured cat,

He giggled and smiled and said, “I know where Basil is at!”


“Basil was greedy”, said the very clever cat.

“He’s gone forever no matter how warm that chair is where he sat!”


The moral of this story is not to have eyes bigger that your tummy,

Basil got what he deserved, and his fate wasn’t funny.


Just look carefully in that steaming boiling vat,

That was the very last place where Basil was seen at.


You see Una was mad because he stole her sticky sweet treat,

She was last seen giggling and kicking up her delicate size 9 feet.


The other moral of this story is not to steal someone’s food,

Just ask Uma who decided Basils’ fate in one dreadful mood.

Some say the remains of Basil lies in that black pot,

Or, maybe not!

And all that is left of him is his Ottawa Senators hat.

Basil is no more – he is no longer on the map,

No more Sugar Bush Specials as he is now nothing but sap.

Or is he?


Photos by Linda Seccaspina

Shot at: Wheelers Pancake House and Sugar

Camp, Lanark Highlands, Ontario, Canada

Their huge pancakes are made from scratch!

Every night the dry portion of the ingredients are mixed together. When we are ready for fresh batter, the wet ingredients   (including farm fresh local eggs) are added… After a couple of flips, the big, fluffy pancakes are headed to your table!And they also have gluten-free ones!!

Homemade Maple Sausages  

Our Famous 100% lean pork sausages are made right here.  We mix in seasonings and our own maple syrup to create this one-of-a-kind maple sausage.


And major apologies to the late Edward Gorey 🙂

Carleton Place- The Happiest Damn Town in Lanark County

For the Facebook Group:

Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

Sticky Fingers – With Apologies to Edward Gorey – Zoomers


Sticky Fingers – With Apologies to Edward Gorey – Zoomers.


Photo blog of winter, sugary treats and my son who is going to kill me when he reads it..:)