Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
The Jumblies
Edward Lear (1812–88)
THEY went to sea in a sieve, they did;
  In a sieve they went to sea;
In spite of all their friends could say,
On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
  In a sieve they went to sea.        5
And when the sieve turn’d round and round,
And every one cried, “You ’ll be drown’d!”
They call’d aloud, “Our sieve ain’t big:
But we don’t care a button; we don’t care a fig:
  In a sieve we ’ll go to sea!”        10
    Far and few, far and few,
      Are the lands where the Jumblies live:
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;
      And they went to sea in a sieve.
They sail’d away in a sieve, they did,        15
  In a sieve they sail’d so fast,
With only a beautiful pea-green veil
Tied with a ribbon, by way of a sail,
  To a small tobacco-pipe mast.
And every one said who saw them go,        20
“Oh! won’t they be soon upset, you know:
For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long;
And, happen what may, it ’s extremely wrong
  In a sieve to sail so fast.”
The water it soon came in, it did;        25
  The water it soon came in:
So, to keep them dry, they wrapp’d their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat:
  And they fasten’d it down with a pin.
And they pass’d the night in a crockery-jar;        30
And each of them said, “How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
  While round in our sieve we spin.”
And all night long they sail’d away;        35
  And, when the sun went down,
They whistled and warbled a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
  In the shade of the mountains brown,
“O Timballoo! how happy we are        40
When we live in a sieve and a crockery-jar!
And all night long, in the moonlight pale,
We sail away with a pea-green sail
  In the shade of the mountains brown.”
They sail’d to the Western Sea, they did,—        45
  To a land all cover’d with trees:
And they bought an owl, and a useful cart,
And a pound of rice, and a cranberry-tart,
  And a hive of silvery bees;
And they bought a pig, and some green jackdaws,        50
And a lovely monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of ring-bo-ree,
  And no end of Stilton cheese:
And in twenty years they all came back,—
  In twenty years or more;        55
And every one said, “How tall they’ve grown!
For they’ve been to the Lakes, and the Torrible Zone,
  And the hills of the Chankly Bore.”
And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;        60
And every one said, “If we only live,
We, too, will go to sea in a sieve,
  To the hills of the Chankly Bore.”
    Far and few, far and few,
      Are the lands where the Jumblies live:        65
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue;
      And they went to sea in a sieve.


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