The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo

“…there was always a terrible sadness, too, that only nonsense could assuage.”¹

Edward Lear1812 – 1888

On the Coast of Coromandel
Where the early pumpkins blow,
In the middle of the woods
Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
Two old chairs, and half a candle,
One old jug without a handle–
These were all his worldly goods,
In the middle of the woods,
These were all his worldly goods,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Of the Yonghy-Bonghy Bo.

Once, among the Bong-trees walking
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To a little heap of stones
Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There he heard a Lady talking,
To some milk-white Hens of Dorking–
“‘Tis the Lady Jingly Jones!
On that little heap of stones
Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!”
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

“Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
Will you come and be my wife?”
Said the Yongby-Bonghy-Bo.
“I am tired of living singly–
On this coast so wild and shingly–
I’m a-weary of my life;
If you’ll come and be my wife,
Quite serene would be my life!”
Said the Yonghy-Bongby-Bo,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

“On this Coast of Coromandel
Shrimps and watercresses grow,
Prawns are plentiful and cheap,”
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
“You shall have my chairs and candle,
And my jug without a handle!
Gaze upon the rolling deep
(Fish is plentiful and cheap);
As the sea, my love is deep!”
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Lady Jingly answered sadly,
And her tears began to flow–
“Your proposal comes too late,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
I would be your wife most gladly!”
(Here she twirled her fingers madly)
“But in England I’ve a mate!
Yes! you’ve asked me far too late,
For in England I’ve a mate,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Mr. Yongby-Bonghy-Bo!

“Mr. Jones (his name is Handel–
Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
Dorking fowls delights to send
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Keep, oh, keep your chairs and candle,
And your jug without a handle–
I can merely be your friend!
Should my Jones more Dorkings send,
I will give you three, my friend!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!

“Though you’ve such a tiny body,
And your head so large doth grow–
Though your hat may blow away
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Though you’re such a Hoddy Doddy,
Yet I wish that I could modi-
fy the words I needs must say!
will you please to go away
That is all I have to say,
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!
Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!”

Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
Where the early pumpkins blow,
To the calm and silent sea
Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
Lay a large and lively Turtle.
“You’re the Cove,” he said, “for me;
On your back beyond the sea,
Turtle, you shall carry me!”
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

Through the silent-roaring ocean
Did the Turtle swiftly go;
Holding fast upon his shell
Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
With a sad primeval motion
Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
Still the Turtle bore him well.
Holding fast upon his shell,
“Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!”
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.

From the Coast of Coromandel
Did that Lady never go;
On that heap of stones she mourns
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
On that Coast of Coromandel,
In his jug without a handle
Still she weeps, and daily moans;
On that little heap of stones
To her Dorking Hens she moans,
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,
For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.


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