Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

There Was an Old Man with a Beard, a fun singable Limerick by Edward Lear

Posted on: December 1, 2012

A hilarious classic limerick from Edward Lear.

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This limerick first appeared in Edward Lear’s 1846 work, “A Book of Nonsense,”

book of nonsense edward lear
A Book of Nonsense (1846)
Poems by Edward Lear
Music by Various Artists
Illustrated by Edward Lear
This book includes singable poems:

This book includes Mr. Lear’s original illustration for the Old Man with the Beard:

old man with a beard

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THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD is featured in many collections of children’s poetry, including:
(And other wonderful illustrations of the Old Man follow…)

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There Was an Old Man with a Beard
Limerick by Edward Lear
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Kelly Oechsli

Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

This illustration above is from:

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Eleven and Three are Poetry
Poems and Music by Various Artists
Compiled by Sally Nohelty
Illustrated by Kelly Oechsli
This book includes singable poems:

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there was an old man w a beard lear oechsli
There Was an Old Man with a Beard
Limerick by Edward Lear
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Kelly Oechsli
To view or print this song sheet, click here:
there was an old man w a beard lear oechsli

Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

This songs sheet is for home or classroom use only.

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There Was an Old Man with a Beard
Limerick by Edward Lear
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Published in her book, “Limericks by Lear” (World Press, 1965) 
Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

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The above illustration is from:

Limericks by Lear
Verses by Edward Lear
Sing to a Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Published in 1965 by World Publishing Company
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 65-22152
Sing along using this tune which works for every limerick:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old
This book includes singable poems:

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A page for the Sing Books with Emily SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR

Edward Lear’s limerick Old Man in “There Was an Old Man with a Beard,” is very Santa Claus-y, especially as depicted by Lois Ehlert

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SBWE Advent Calendar There Was an Old Man with a Beard
There Was an Old Man with a Beard
SBWE SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR
Limerick by Edward Lear
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Published in her book, “Limericks by Lear” (World Press, 1965) 

To view or print this page, click here:
SBWE Advent Calendar There Was an Old Man with a Beard

Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

This song sheet is for home or classroom use only.

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old man beard (from talking like the rain) - Copy
There Was an Old Man with a Beard

Limerick by Edward Lear
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Jane Dyer
From Talking Like the Rain (a First Book of Poems)
Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

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Poetry Foundation page for this limerick:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175025

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“There Was an Old Man with a Beard” wiki with original illustration:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/There_was_an_Old_Man_with_a_beard

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THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD
Limerick by Edward Lear
Traditional Tune
Illustrated by Various Artists

Sing the limerick tune with Emily, here:

http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/limerick-tune-there-was-an-old

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard!”

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Addendum 7/15/2013

One thing I dearly love about the songs in Singable Picture Books is that they present many an opportunity learning new things. Four different kinds of fowl have taken residence in the Old Man’s beard.  This gives us an opportunity to learn a little something about each one.

You’ll find a link to the Audubon webpage for each bird.  The information provided on each page includes photographs, geographical habitat and sound recordings of the birds’ songs.

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OWL
I chose to feature this Short Eared Owl because it was described as “Tawny.”  It’s the Tawny Owl of Europe who is written about in much Singable Poetry for its “Te-wit, te-who” song, including Sweet Suffolk Owl.  Though the Short Eared Owl doesn’t seem to sing “Te-wit, te-who,” it is still a beautiful owl of America:
Short-eared_Owl_g14-12-019_l
http://birds.audubon.org/birds/short-eared-owl

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HEN
Instead of your standard barnyard chicken, I liked the looks of Delaware’s state bird, the Blue Hen Chicken
blue hen chicken delaware
Facts for this bird were not available on the Audubon site, but some info is available on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Hen_of_Delaware

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LARKS
For the larks, I’ve chosen the Meadowlark.  I chose this since there is a beautiful and dramatic song by Stephen Schwartz called “Meadowlark,” (from the musical THE BAKER’S WIFE) which is often sung by cabaret artists
Western_Meadowlark_w02-43-144_l_1

http://birds.audubon.org/birds/western-meadowlark

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WREN
House_Wren_b57-13-170_l
This house wren sure is cute and it sure sings some great songs!
http://birds.audubon.org/birds/house-wren

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Addendum, 8/7/2013
A Crocheted Beard for the Old Man Inspired Me to Write the Rest of the Story…

Browsing on that wonderful site Etsy.com where people sell their wonderful handmade items, I happened upon a site of a woman who sells crochet beards (The Contrary Canary) and I got an idea for THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD.  The shop owner said she would indeed make me a large crochet beard for THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD and it is as delightful and funny as all-get-out:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I thought it would be hilarious to don the beard and sing the song for the kids.

The next step will be to find and affix the two owls and a hen four larks and a wren to the beard, and we’re off to the races.

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I went on a little bender and wrote a story for the old man and his birdie pals…

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there was an old man who fed the birds cover no image
There was an Old Man with a Beard (Who Fed the Birds)
Original Limerick by Edward Lear
Additional Words by  Emily
Traditional Tune
Book Assembled by Sing Books with Emily

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THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WITH A BEARD (WHO FED THE BIRDS)
Original Limerick by Edward Lear
Additional Words by Emily Leatha Everson Gleichenhaus
Traditional Tune

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!
Two owls and a hen,
Four larks and a wren
Have all built their nests in my beard!”

He gave them a nice bit of dinner
He noticed they’d gotten much thinner
They dined on bird seed
A suitable feed
At cooking he was a beginner.

Together they all took a class
They craved a more-tasty repast
Though birdseed was fine
They sought meals divine
They were hungry and had to learn fast!

Then the Old Bearded Man and the fowl
Filled their dishes with food cheek-by-jowl
The food was delicious
And also nutritious
Their tummies would no longer growl!

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “I’m no longer a- feared!
Two owls and a hen
Four larks and a wren
Share dinner with me in my beard!”

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Related Posts

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SING LIMERICKS WITH EMILY
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/sing-limericks-with-emily/

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POETRY SINGABLE POETRY

An ever-expanding list of  singable poems from compilations or singable poems creating individual Singable Picture Books
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/singable-poetry-a-list-of-poems-that-can-be-sung-from-illustrated-compilations-of-poetry-and-singable-picture-books/

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EDWARD LEAR

A list of books with musical settings of, and illustrating Singable Picture Book versions of, Edward Lear’s poems:
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/singable-picture-book-spotlight-1302011-edward-lear-and-william-mathias-learsongs/

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LIMERICKS BY LEAR, A SINGABLE PICTURE BOOK (ILLUSTRATED BY LOIS EHLERT)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/limericks-by-lear-a-singable-picture-book-illustrated-by-lois-ehlert/

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SING BOOKS WITH EMILY SINGABLE ADVENT CALENDAR
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/the-sing-books-with-emily-singable-advent-calendar/

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A Crocheted Beard for the Old Man Inspired Me to Write the Rest of the Story…
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/a-crocheted-beard-for-the-old-man-inspired-me-to-write-the-rest-of-the-story/

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