Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

O Frabjous Day!

Lewis Carroll

  Lewis Carroll

  * * *



  1. Brother and Sister

  2. The Two Brothers

  3. The Dear Gazelle

  4. ['How doth the little crocodile']

  5. ['"You are old, Father William," the young man said']

  6. [The Mock Turtle's Song: I]

  7. [''Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare']

  8. Jabberwocky

  9. The Walrus and the Carpenter

  10. [The White Knight's Song]

  11. [The Gardener's Song]

  12. from The Hunting of the Snark

  Follow Penguin


  Born 1832, Daresbury, England Died 1898, Guildford, England Selected from Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense:

  Collected Poems, edited by Gillian Beer and

  published in Penguin Classics in 2012.


  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

  and Through the Looking Glass

  The Hunting of the Snark

  Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense:

  Collected Poems

  Brother and Sister

  'Sister, sister, go to bed,

  Go and rest your weary head,'

  Thus the prudent brother said.

  'Do you want a battered hide

  Or scratches to your face applied?'

  Thus the sister calm replied.

  'Sister! Do not rouse my wrath, I'd make you into mutton broth As easily as kill a moth.'

  The sister raised her beaming eye, And looked on him indignantly, And sternly answered 'Only try!'

  Off to the cook he quickly ran, 'Dear cook, pray lend a frying pan To me, as quickly as you can.'

  'And wherefore should I give it to you?'

  'The reason, cook, is plain to view, I wish to make an Irish stew.'

  'What meat is in that stew to go?'

  'My sister'll be the contents.' 'Oh!'

  'Will you lend the pan, Cook?' 'NO!'

  Moral: 'Never stew your sister.'

  The Two Brothers

  There were two brothers at Twyford school, And when they had left the place,

  It was, 'Will ye learn Greek and Latin?

  Or will ye run me a race?

  Or will ye go up to yonder bridge,

  And there we will angle for dace?'

  'I'm too stupid for Greek and for Latin, I'm too lazy by half for a race,

  So I'll even go up to yonder bridge, And there we will angle for dace.'

  He has fitted together two joints of his rod, And to them he has added another,

  And then a great hook he took from his book, And ran it right into his brother.

  Oh much is the noise that is made among boys When playfully pelting a pig,

  But a far greater pother was made by his brother When flung from the top of the brigg.

  The fish hurried up by the dozens,

  All ready and eager to bite,

  For the lad that he flung was so tender and young, It quite gave them an appetite.

  Said he, 'Thus shall he wallop about And the fish take him quite at their ease, For me to annoy it was ever his joy, Now I'll teach him the meaning of "Tees"!'

  The wind to his ear brought a voice, 'My brother, you didn't had ought ter!

  And what have I done that you think it such fun To indulge in the pleasure of slaughter?

  'A good nibble or bite is my chiefest delight, When I'm merely expected to see, But a bite from a fish is not quite what I wish, When I get it performed upon me; And just now here's a swarm of dace at my arm, And a perch has got hold of my knee!

  'For water my thirst was not great at the first, And of fish I have had quite sufficien-'

  'Oh fear not!' he cried, 'for whatever betide, We are both in the selfsame condition!

  'I am sure that our state's very nearly alike (Not considering the question of slaughter), For I have my perch on the top of the bridge, And you have your perch in the water.

  'I stick to my perch and your perch sticks to you, We are really extremely alike;

  I've a turn-pike up here, and I very much fear You may soon have a turn with a pike.'

  'Oh, grant but one wish! If I'm took by a fish (For your bait is your brother, good man!) Pull him up if you like, but I hope you will strike As gently as ever you can.'

  'If the fish be a trout, I'm afraid there's no doubt I must strike him like lightning that's greased; If the fish be a pike, I'll engage not to strike, 'Till I've waited ten minutes at least.'

  'But in those ten minutes to desolate Fate Your brother a victim may fall!'

  'I'll reduce it to five, so perhaps you'll survive, But the chance is exceedingly small.'

  'Oh hard is your heart for to act such a part; Is it iron, or granite, or steel?'

  'Why, I really can't say - it is many a day Since my heart was accustomed to feel.

  ''Twas my heart-cherished wish for to slay many fish, Each day did my malice grow worse,

  For my heart didn't soften with doing it so often, But rather, I should say, the reverse.'

  'Oh would I were back at Twyford school, Learning lessons in fear of the birch!'

  'Nay, brother!' he cried, 'for whatever betide, You are better off here with your perch!

  'I am sure you'll allow you are happier now, With nothing to do but to play;

  And this single line here, it is perfectly clear, Is much better than thirty a day!

  'And as to the rod hanging over your head, And apparently ready to fall,

  That, you know, was the case, when you lived in that place, So it need not be reckoned at all.

  'Do you see that old trout with a turn-up-nose snout?

  (Just to speak on a pleasanter theme,) Observe, my dear brother, our love for each other -

  He's the one I like best in the stream.

  'To-morrow I mean to invite him to dine (We shall all of us think it a treat,) If the day should be fine, I'll just drop him a line, And we'll settle what time we're to meet.

  'He hasn't been into society yet,

  And his manners are not of the best, So I think it quite fair that it should be my care, To see that he's properly dressed.'

  Many words brought the wind of 'cruel' and 'kind', And that 'man suffers more than the brute': Each several word with patience he heard, And answered with wisdom to boot.

  'What? prettier swimming in the stream, Than lying all snugly and flat?

  Do but look at that dish filled with glittering fish, Has Nature a picture like that?

  'What? a higher delight to be drawn from the sight Of fish full of life and of glee?

  What a noodle you are! 'tis delightfuller far To kill them than let them go free!

  'I know there are people who prate by the hour Of the beauty of earth, sky, and ocean; Of the birds as they fly, of the fish darting by, Rejoicing in Life and in Motion.

  'As to any delight to be got from the sight, It is all very well for a flat,

  But I think it all gammon, for hooking a salmon Is better than twenty of that!

  'They say that a man of a right-thinking mind Will love the dumb creatures he sees -

  What's the use of his mind, if he's never inclined To pull a fish out of the Tees?

  'Take my friends and my home - as an outcast I'll roam: Take the money I have in the Bank -

  It is just what I wish, but deprive me of fish, And my life would indeed be a blank!'

  Forth from the house his sister came, Her brothers for to see,

  But when she saw that sight of awe,

  The tear stood in her ee.

  'Oh what bait's that upon your hook, My brother, tell to me?'

  'It is but the fantailed pig

  He would not sing for me.'

  'Whoe'er would expect a pigeon to sing, A simpleton he must be!

  But a pigeon-cote is a different thing To the coat that there I see!

  'Oh what bait's that upon your hook, My brother, tell to me?'

  'It is but the black-capped bantam,

  He would not dance for me.'

  'And a pretty dance you are leading him now!'

  In anger answered she,

  'But a bantam's cap is a different thing To the cap that there I see!

  'Oh what bait's that upon your hook

  Dear brother, tell to me?'

  'It is my younger brother,' he cried, 'Oh woe and dole is me!

  'I's mighty wicked, that I is!

  Or how could such things be?

  Farewell, farewell, sweet sister, I'm going o'er the sea.'

  'And when will you come back again,

  My brother, tell to me?'

  'When chub is good for human food,

  And that will never be!'

  She turned herself right round about, And her heart brake into three,

  Said, 'One of the two will be wet through and through, And t'other'll be late for his tea!'

  Croft. 1853

  The Dear Gazelle

  ['How doth the little crocodile']

  How doth the little crocodile

  Improve his shining tail,

  And pour the waters of the Nile

  On every golden scale!

  How cheerfully he seems to grin,

  How neatly spreads his claws,

  And welcomes little fishes in,

  With gently smiling jaws!

  ['"You are old, Father William," the young man said']

  'You are old, Father William,' the young man said, 'And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head -

  Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

  'In my youth,' Father William replied to his son, 'I feared it might injure the brain;

  But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none, Why, I do it again and again.'

  'You are old,' said the youth, 'as I mentioned before, And have grown most uncommonly fat;

  Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door -

  Pray, what is the reason for that?'

  'In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks, 'I kept all my limbs very supple

  By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -

  Allow me to sell you a couple?'

  'You are old,' said the youth, 'and your jaws are too weak For anything tougher than suet;

  Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -

  Pray, how did you manage to do it?'

  'In my youth,' said his father, 'I took to the law, And argued each case with my wife;

  And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw Has lasted the rest of my life.'

  'You are old,' said the youth, 'one would hardly suppose That your eye was as steady as ever;

  Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose -

  What made you so awfully clever?'

  'I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'

  Said his father. 'Don't give yourself airs!

  Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

  Be off, or I'll kick you down-stairs!'

  [The Mock Turtle's Song: I]

  'Will you walk a little faster?' said a whiting to a snail,

  'There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.

  See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!

  They are waiting on the shingle - will you come and join the dance?

  Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

  Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?

  'You can really have no notion how delightful it will be When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!'

  But the snail replied 'Too far, too far!', and gave a look askance -

  Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.

  Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.

  Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

  'What matters it how far we go?' his scaly friend replied.

  'There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.

  The further off from England the nearer is to France -

  Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.

  Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

  Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?'

  [''Tis the voice of the Lobster:

  I heard him declare']

  'Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare 'You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.'

  As a duck with his eyelids, so he with his nose Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.

  When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark, And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark: But, when the tide rises and sharks are around, His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.


  'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves,

  And the mome raths outgrabe.

  'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

  Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!'

  He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -

  So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.

  And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!

  One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

  He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.

  'And, hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

  Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

  O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'

  He chortled in his joy.

  'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves,

  And the mome raths outgrabe.

  The Walrus and the Carpenter

  The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make The billows smooth and bright -

  And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night.

  The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done -

  'It's very rude of him,' she said, 'To come and spoil the fun.'

  The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry.

  You could not see a cloud, because No cloud was in the sky:

  No birds were flying overhead -

  There were no birds to fly.

  The Walrus and the Carpenter Were walking close at hand.

  They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand:

  'If this were only cleared away,'

  They said, 'it would be grand!'

  'If seven maids with seven mops Swept it for half a year,

  Do you suppose,' the Walrus said, 'That they could get it clear?'

  'I doubt it,' said the Carpenter, And shed a bitter tear.

  'O Oysters, come and walk with us!'

  The Walrus did beseech.

  'A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach:

  We cannot do with more than four, To give a hand to each.'

  The eldest Oyster looked at him, But never a word he said:

  The eldest Oyster winked his eye, And shook his heavy head -

  Meaning to say he did not choose To leave the oyster-bed.

  But four young Oysters hurried up, All eager for the treat:

  Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, Their shoes were clean and ne
at -

  And this was odd, because, you know, They hadn't any feet.

  Four other Oysters followed them, And yet another four;

  And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more -

  All hopping through the frothy waves, And scrambling to the shore.

  The Walrus and the Carpenter Walked on a mile or so,

  And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low:

  And all the little Oysters stood And waited in a row.

  'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'To talk of many things:

  Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -

  Of cabbages - and kings -

  And why the sea is boiling hot -

  And whether pigs have wings.'

  'But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried, 'Before we have our chat:

  For some of us are out of breath, And all of us are fat!'

  'No hurry!' said the Carpenter.

  They thanked him much for that.

  'A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said, 'Is what we chiefly need:

  Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed -

  Now if you're ready, Oysters dear, We can begin to feed.'

  'But not on us!' the Oysters cried, Turning a little blue.

  'After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!'

  'The night is fine,' the Walrus said.

  'Do you admire the view?

  'It was so kind of you to come!

  And you are very nice!'

  The Carpenter said nothing but 'Cut us another slice,

  I wish you were not quite so deaf -

  I've had to ask you twice!'

  'It seems a shame,' the Walrus said, 'To play them such a trick, After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!'