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Poem by Lewis Carroll

The Hunting of the Snark. Fit the Fourth. The Hunting

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow. 
  	If only youd spoken before! 
Its excessively awkward to mention it now, 
  	With the Snark, so to speak, at the door! 

We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe, 
  	If you never were met with again   
But surely, my man, when the voyage began, 
  	You might have suggested it then? 

Its excessively awkward to mention it now   
  	As I think Ive already remarked. 
And the man they called Hi! replied, with a sigh, 
  	I informed you the day we embarked. 

You may charge me with murder  or want of sense   
  	(We are all of us weak at times): 
But the slightest approach to a false pretence 
  	Was never among my crimes! 

I said it in Hebrew  I said it in Dutch   
  	I said it in German and Greek: 
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much) 
  	That English is what you speak! 

 Tis a pitiful tale, said the Bellman, whose face 
  	Had grown longer at every word: 
But, now that youve stated the whole of your case, 
  	More debate would be simply absurd. 

The rest of my speech (he explained to his men) 
  	You shall hear when Ive leisure to speak it. 
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again! 
  	Tis your glorious duty to seek it! 

To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care; 
  	To pursue it with forks and hope; 
To threaten its life with a railway-share; 
  	To charm it with smiles and soap! 

For the Snarks a peculiar creature, that wont 
  	Be caught in a commonplace way. 
Do all that you know, and try all that you dont: 
  	Not a chance must be wasted to-day! 

For England expects  I forbear to proceed: 
  	Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite: 
And youd best be unpacking the things that you need 
  	To rig yourselves out for the fight. 

Then the Banker endorsed a blank check (which he crossed), 
  	And changed his loose silver for notes. 
The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair, 
  	And shook the dust out of his coats. 

The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade   
  	Each working the grindstone in turn: 
But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed 
  	No interest in the concern: 

Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride, 
  	And vainly proceeded to cite 
A number of cases, in which making laces 
  	Had been proved an infringement of right. 

The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned 
  	A novel arrangement of bows: 
While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand 
  	Was chalking the tip of his nose. 

But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine, 
  	With yellow kid gloves and a ruff   
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine, 
  	Which the Bellman declared was all stuff. 

Introduce me, now theres a good fellow, he said, 
  	If we happen to meet it together! 
And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head, 
  	Said That must depend on the weather. 

The Beaver went simply galumphing about, 
  	At seeing the Butcher so shy: 
And even the Baker, though stupid and stout, 
  	Made an effort to wink with one eye. 

Be a man! said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard 
  	The Butcher beginning to sob. 
Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird, 
  	We shall need all our strength for the job! 

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll's other poems:
  1. The Elections to the Hebdomadal Council
  2. The Wandering Burgess
  3. What Tottles Meant
  4. Theme with Variations
  5. Melancholetta

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