'The Table And The Chair' by Edward Lear

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Said the table to the chair,
"You can scarcely be aware
How I suffer from the heat
And from blisters on my feet!
If we took a little walk
We might have a little talk.
Pray, let us take the air!"
Said the table to the chair.Said the chair unto the table,
"Now you know we are not able!
How foolishly you talk
When you know we cannot walk!"
Said the table with a sigh,
"It can do no harm to try.
I've as many legs as you.
Why can't we walk on two?"So they both went slowly down,
And walked about the town,
With a cheerful bumpy sound
As they toddled all around.
And everybody cried
As they ran up to their side
"See! The table and the chair
Have come out to take the air!"But, in going down an alley,
To the castle, in the valley,
They completely lost their way
And they wandered all the day
‘Til, to see them safely back,
They paid a ducky-quack
And a beetle and a mouse
To take them to their house.Then they whispered to each other
"Oh delightful little brother!
What a lovely walk we've taken!
Let us dine on beans and bacon!"
So the ducky and the little
Brownie-mousey and the beetle
Dined, and danced upon their heads,
‘Til they toddled to their beds.

Editor 1 Interpretation

The Quirky World of Edward Lear's "The Table and The Chair"

Edward Lear's "The Table and The Chair" is a brilliant piece of poetry that takes us on a whimsical journey through the land of crockery, furniture and household objects. At first glance, the poem appears to be a simple conversation between a table and a chair, but it soon becomes apparent that there is much more to this delightful piece of literature than meets the eye. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will explore the themes, symbols, and literary devices employed by Lear in "The Table and The Chair" and reveal the deeper meaning behind this seemingly innocent poem.

The Table and The Chair: A Conversation Between Equals

The poem begins with a conversation between a table and a chair, two equal objects of furniture who are able to speak and express their opinions. The table is portrayed as being reliable and practical, while the chair is more emotional and sensitive. They discuss their respective roles in the household and their feelings towards each other. The table is content to do its job and serve as a surface for meals and other activities, while the chair longs for more freedom and adventure.

The conversation between the table and the chair can be interpreted as a metaphor for the relationship between humans and their possessions. Just as the table and the chair are dependent on each other for their existence, humans are dependent on their possessions for their sense of identity and security. At the same time, possessions can become a burden and limit our freedom and creativity. The chair's desire for adventure and the table's contentment with routine can be seen as a commentary on the human condition and the tension between stability and change.

The Joy of Personification

One of the most striking aspects of "The Table and The Chair" is the way that Lear personifies objects that are normally considered inanimate. By giving the table and the chair human voices and personalities, Lear invites us to see the world from a different perspective. This technique of personification is not only entertaining but also serves to highlight the importance of everyday objects in our lives. We often take for granted the furniture and other objects that surround us, but Lear's poem reminds us that they have their own stories and personalities.

The Power of Imagery

Another noteworthy aspect of "The Table and The Chair" is the vivid imagery that Lear employs. The poem is full of sensory details that bring the objects to life. We can almost hear the creaking of the chair as it moves or the clatter of the cups and saucers on the table. The imagery is not only descriptive but also serves to create a mood and atmosphere. The cozy domestic scene that is depicted in the poem is both comforting and nostalgic.

Furthermore, the imagery in "The Table and The Chair" is not limited to the objects themselves. Lear also employs images of nature and the seasons to create a sense of time passing. The leaves falling from the trees and the snow on the ground are symbols of the changing seasons and the passage of time. This use of natural imagery adds a layer of depth and meaning to the poem, suggesting that the conversation between the table and the chair is taking place in a larger context of the natural world.

The Importance of Wordplay

Finally, one cannot discuss "The Table and The Chair" without mentioning Lear's love of wordplay. The poem is full of puns, rhymes, and playful language. For example, the chair declares that it is "weary, and cannot move", to which the table responds, "Then, dear chair, you must excuse / If I take the liberty / Of stirring up myself and you to / Fire up this cold tea". This playful use of language not only adds to the whimsy of the poem but also serves to demonstrate Lear's skill as a wordsmith.


In conclusion, Edward Lear's "The Table and The Chair" is a delightful piece of poetry that manages to be both entertaining and thought-provoking. Through the conversation between a table and a chair, Lear explores themes of identity, freedom, and the human relationship with possessions. His use of personification, imagery, and wordplay create a vivid and engaging world that invites us to see the familiar in a new light. This poem is a testament to the power of literature to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

The Table and the Chair: A Masterpiece of Nonsense Poetry

Edward Lear, the famous English poet and artist, is known for his whimsical and nonsensical poetry. His works are filled with absurd characters, bizarre situations, and playful language. One of his most beloved poems is "The Table and the Chair," a delightful piece of nonsense verse that has captured the hearts of readers for generations.

At first glance, "The Table and the Chair" appears to be a simple poem about two pieces of furniture having a conversation. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that there is much more going on beneath the surface. The poem is a clever commentary on the relationship between form and function, as well as a playful exploration of the nature of language itself.

The poem begins with the Table addressing the Chair, saying "You have been my friend in every weather." This opening line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, establishing a sense of familiarity and warmth between the two objects. The Table goes on to describe the various ways in which the Chair has been useful to it, from providing a place to rest its legs to serving as a surface for books and papers.

The Chair responds in kind, acknowledging the Table's usefulness as a sturdy and reliable surface. However, the Chair also expresses a desire to be more than just a functional object. It longs to be appreciated for its beauty and elegance, saying "I wish you could see my inside, / How curiously I am made!"

This exchange between the Table and the Chair highlights the tension between form and function. The Table values the Chair primarily for its usefulness, while the Chair longs to be appreciated for its aesthetic qualities. This tension is a common theme in art and design, as well as in everyday life. It raises questions about the purpose of objects and the role they play in our lives.

As the conversation between the Table and the Chair continues, the language becomes increasingly playful and nonsensical. The Chair describes itself as "a soft cushion to the feet," while the Table responds by saying "You shall not be cut up into bits." These absurd statements add to the whimsical tone of the poem, and also serve to highlight the arbitrary nature of language.

In the final stanza of the poem, the Table and the Chair come to a resolution. They agree that they are both important objects in their own right, and that they should appreciate each other for their unique qualities. The Table says, "We'll always be friends to the end," while the Chair responds, "But what shall we do for a table?"

This final exchange is a perfect example of the playful and lighthearted tone that runs throughout the poem. It also serves as a reminder that even the most mundane objects can have a special place in our lives. The Table and the Chair may seem like simple pieces of furniture, but they are also symbols of the relationships we have with the objects around us.

In conclusion, "The Table and the Chair" is a masterpiece of nonsense poetry that explores complex themes in a playful and lighthearted way. Through the conversation between these two objects, Edward Lear raises questions about the relationship between form and function, the nature of language, and the role that objects play in our lives. The poem is a testament to Lear's skill as a poet and his ability to find beauty and meaning in the most unexpected places. It is a true classic of English literature, and a joy to read for readers of all ages.

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