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Incidents in the Life of
my Uncle Arly



O! My aged Uncle Arly!
Sitting on a heap of Barley
      Thro' the silent hours of night,--
Close beside a leafy thicket:--
On his nose there was a Cricket,--
In his hat a Railway-Ticket;--
      (But his shoes were far too tight.)


Long ago, in youth, he squander'd
All his goods away, and wander'd
      To the Tiniskoop-hills afar.
There on golden sunsets blazing,
Every morning found him gazing,--
Singing -- "Orb! you're quite amazing!
      How I wonder what you are!"


Like the ancient Medes and Persians,
Always by his own exertions
      He subsisted on those hills;--
Whiles, -- by teaching children spelling,--
Or at times by merely yelling,--
Or at intervals by selling
      "Propter's Nicodemus Pills."


Later, in his morning rambles
He perceived the moving brambles--
      Something square and white disclose;--
"Twas a First-class Railway Ticket;
But, on stooping down to pick it
Off the ground, -- a pea-green Cricket
      settled on my uncle's Nose.


Never -- never more, -- Oh! never,
Did that Cricket leave him ever,--
      Dawn or evening, day or night;--
Clinging as a constant treasure,--
Chirping with a cheerious measure,--
Wholly to my uncle's pleasure
      (Though his shoes were far too tight.)


So for three-and-forty winters,
Till his shoes were worn to splinters,
      All those hills he wander'd o'er,--
Sometimes silent; -- sometimes yelling;--
Till he came to Borley-Melling,
Near his old ancestral dwelling;--
      (But his shoes were far too tight.)


On a little heap of Barley
Died my aged uncle Arly,
      And they buried him one night;--
Close beside the leafy thicket;--
There, -- his hat and Railway-Ticket;--
There, -- his ever-faithful Cricket;--
      (But his shoes were far too tight.)

[from The Complete Nonsense Book,
edited by Lady Strachey, 1912, p. 395.
This poem first appeared in Nonsense Songs and
, edited by Sir Edward Strachey, 1895.
Etext prepared by Doug Love.]

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