There was an Old Man of Thermopylæ

By Edward Lear 1812–1888 Edward Lear

There was an old man of Thermopylæ,
Who never did anything properly;
But they said, "If you choose, To boil eggs in your shoes,
You shall never remain in Thermopylæ."

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Poet Edward Lear 1812–1888

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Growing Old, Humor & Satire, Activities, Living, Arts & Sciences, Eating & Drinking

Poetic Terms Limerick

 Edward  Lear

Biography

Vivien Noakes fittingly subtitled her biography of Edward Lear The Life of a Wanderer. On a literal level the phrase refers to Lear's constant traveling as a self-proclaimed "dirty landscape painter" from 1837 until he finally settled at his Villa Tennyson on the San Remo coast of Italy in 1880. But wandering, in that it suggests rootlessness, aimlessness, loneliness, and uncertainty, is also a metaphor for Lear's emotional life . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Growing Old, Humor & Satire, Activities, Living, Arts & Sciences, Eating & Drinking

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Limerick

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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