come again?

19th-century nursery rhyme becomes bawdy lesbian anthem

English poet Edward Lear could not have expected his 1871 work “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” to become a meme nearly 250 years later, but hey, language evolves!

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Here’s the excerpt that, apparently, resonates.

“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” a nonsense poem published in Lear’s book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets, tells the story of an owl and a cat who fall in love while out to sea and later get married by a turkey after buying a pig’s nose ring for the price of one shilling.

Here’s the full first stanza:

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Could Lear have been blamed for the double entendre? Perhaps. The use of the word in reference to anatomy reportedly dates back to the 18th century.

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Anyway, fans of the poem include Family Guy’s Quagmire, who gets aroused by the poem in this deleted scene from the 2009 episode “Quagmire’s Baby.”