Edward Lear and Edward Gibbon

On 2 January 1882 Edward Lear wrote in his diary that he “took a Gibbon’s Rise & Fall up to Mrs. Welfords” and then at the bottom of the page added a limerick obviously inspired by this event: the poem was published by Osgood Field in his Edward Lear on My Shelves (p. 90) and by V. Noakes in The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense (p.  434), but the drawing, which Noakes rightly defines “slight,” has not previously been published.

el_ribbon-s

There was an old man with a ribbon,
Who found a large volume of Gibbon,
Wh. he tied to his nose —
And said — I suppose,
This is quite the best use for my ribbon.

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