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Five Lewis Carroll Poems

Word count: 499

Song Cycle by John Woods Duke (1899 - 1984)

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1. The Lobster Quadrille


"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?

"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.

"What matters it how far we go?" his scaly friend replied.
"There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The [further]1 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?"


View original text (without footnotes)
1Ligeti: "farther"

2. Jabberwocky


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the momeraths 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, has 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 momeraths outgrabe.


3. 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!


Note: a parody of Isaac Watt's Against Idleness and Mischief

4. The Mock Turtle's song


Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup!  Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?
Beautiful Soup!
Beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening,
Beautiful, beautiful soup!


5. The Duchess' Lullaby


Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes;
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.

I speak severely to my boy,
[I]1 beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when [he]2 pleases!


View original text (without footnotes)
Note: this is a parody of David Bates' "Speak Gently."
1 or "And"
2 or "ye"

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