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Best Famous Dedication Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Dedication poems. This is a select list of the best famous Dedication poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Dedication poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of dedication poems.

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by Rabindranath Tagore |

Moments Indulgence

 I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side.
The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure


by Alan Seeger |

The Hosts

 Purged, with the life they left, of all 
That makes life paltry and mean and small, 
In their new dedication charged 
With something heightened, enriched, enlarged, 
That lends a light to their lusty brows 
And a song to the rhythm of their tramping feet, 
These are the men that have taken vows, 
These are the hardy, the flower, the elite, -- 
These are the men that are moved no more 
By the will to traffic and grasp and store 
And ring with pleasure and wealth and love 
The circles that self is the center of; 
But they are moved by the powers that force 
The sea forever to ebb and rise, 
That hold Arcturus in his course, 
And marshal at noon in tropic skies 
The clouds that tower on some snow-capped chain 
And drift out over the peopled plain.
They are big with the beauty of cosmic things.
Mark how their columns surge! They seem To follow the goddess with outspread wings That points toward Glory, the soldier's dream.
With bayonets bare and flags unfurled, They scale the summits of the world And fade on the farthest golden height In fair horizons full of light.
Comrades in arms there -- friend or foe -- That trod the perilous, toilsome trail Through a world of ruin and blood and woe In the years of the great decision -- hail! Friend or foe, it shall matter nought; This only matters, in fine: we fought.
For we were young and in love or strife Sought exultation and craved excess: To sound the wildest debauch in life We staked our youth and its loveliness.
Let idlers argue the right and wrong And weigh what merit our causes had.
Putting our faith in being strong -- Above the level of good and bad -- For us, we battled and burned and killed Because evolving Nature willed, And it was our pride and boast to be The instruments of Destiny.
There was a stately drama writ By the hand that peopled the earth and air And set the stars in the infinite And made night gorgeous and morning fair, And all that had sense to reason knew That bloody drama must be gone through.
Some sat and watched how the action veered -- Waited, profited, trembled, cheered -- We saw not clearly nor understood, But yielding ourselves to the masterhand, Each in his part as best he could, We played it through as the author planned.


by Alexander Pope |

Epistles to Several Persons: Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot

 Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu'd, I said, 
Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.
The dog-star rages! nay 'tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out: Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide? They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide; By land, by water, they renew the charge; They stop the chariot, and they board the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free; Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me: Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme, Happy! to catch me just at dinner-time.
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza, when he should engross? Is there, who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desp'rate charcoal round his darken'd walls? All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws, Imputes to me and my damn'd works the cause: Poor Cornus sees his frantic wife elope, And curses wit, and poetry, and Pope.
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong, The world had wanted many an idle song) What drop or nostrum can this plague remove? Or which must end me, a fool's wrath or love? A dire dilemma! either way I'm sped, If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
Seiz'd and tied down to judge, how wretched I! Who can't be silent, and who will not lie; To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, And to be grave, exceeds all pow'r of face.
I sit with sad civility, I read With honest anguish, and an aching head; And drop at last, but in unwilling ears, This saving counsel, "Keep your piece nine years.
" "Nine years!" cries he, who high in Drury-lane Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends, Oblig'd by hunger, and request of friends: "The piece, you think, is incorrect: why, take it, I'm all submission, what you'd have it, make it.
" Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: "You know his Grace, I want a patron; ask him for a place.
" Pitholeon libell'd me--"but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him? Curll invites to dine, He'll write a Journal, or he'll turn Divine.
" Bless me! a packet--"'Tis a stranger sues, A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.
" If I dislike it, "Furies, death and rage!" If I approve, "Commend it to the stage.
" There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The play'rs and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fir'd that the house reject him, "'Sdeath I'll print it, And shame the fools--your int'rest, sir, with Lintot!" "Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much.
" "Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.
" All my demurs but double his attacks; At last he whispers, "Do; and we go snacks.
" Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door, "Sir, let me see your works and you no more.
" 'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king) His very minister who spied them first, (Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak, or burst.
And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When ev'ry coxcomb perks them in my face? "Good friend, forbear! you deal in dang'rous things.
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick; 'Tis nothing"--Nothing? if they bite and kick? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass: The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel? take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool.
Let peals of laughter, Codrus! round thee break, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gall'ry in convulsions hurl'd, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world.
Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb through, He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew; Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain, The creature's at his dirty work again; Thron'd in the centre of his thin designs; Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer, Lost the arch'd eye-brow, or Parnassian sneer? And has not Colley still his lord, and whore? His butchers Henley, his Free-masons Moore? Does not one table Bavius still admit? Still to one bishop Philips seem a wit? Still Sappho-- "Hold! for God-sake--you'll offend: No names!--be calm!--learn prudence of a friend! I too could write, and I am twice as tall; But foes like these!" One flatt'rer's worse than all.
Of all mad creatures, if the learn'd are right, It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.
A fool quite angry is quite innocent; Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent.
One dedicates in high heroic prose, And ridicules beyond a hundred foes; One from all Grub Street will my fame defend, And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
This prints my Letters, that expects a bribe, And others roar aloud, "Subscribe, subscribe.
" There are, who to my person pay their court: I cough like Horace, and, though lean, am short, Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high, Such Ovid's nose, and "Sir! you have an eye"-- Go on, obliging creatures, make me see All that disgrac'd my betters, met in me: Say for my comfort, languishing in bed, "Just so immortal Maro held his head:" And when I die, be sure you let me know Great Homer died three thousand years ago.
Why did I write? what sin to me unknown Dipp'd me in ink, my parents', or my own? As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, I lisp'd in numbers, for the numbers came.
I left no calling for this idle trade, No duty broke, no father disobey'd.
The Muse but serv'd to ease some friend, not wife, To help me through this long disease, my life, To second, Arbuthnot! thy art and care, And teach the being you preserv'd, to bear.
But why then publish? Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write; Well-natur'd Garth inflamed with early praise, And Congreve lov'd, and Swift endur'd my lays; The courtly Talbot, Somers, Sheffield read, Ev'n mitred Rochester would nod the head, And St.
John's self (great Dryden's friends before) With open arms receiv'd one poet more.
Happy my studies, when by these approv'd! Happier their author, when by these belov'd! From these the world will judge of men and books, Not from the Burnets, Oldmixons, and Cookes.
Soft were my numbers; who could take offence, While pure description held the place of sense? Like gentle Fanny's was my flow'ry theme, A painted mistress, or a purling stream.
Yet then did Gildon draw his venal quill; I wish'd the man a dinner, and sat still.
Yet then did Dennis rave in furious fret; I never answer'd, I was not in debt.
If want provok'd, or madness made them print, I wag'd no war with Bedlam or the Mint.
Did some more sober critic come abroad? If wrong, I smil'd; if right, I kiss'd the rod.
Pains, reading, study, are their just pretence, And all they want is spirit, taste, and sense.
Commas and points they set exactly right, And 'twere a sin to rob them of their mite.
Yet ne'er one sprig of laurel grac'd these ribalds, From slashing Bentley down to pidling Tibbalds.
Each wight who reads not, and but scans and spells, Each word-catcher that lives on syllables, Ev'n such small critics some regard may claim, Preserv'd in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty! in amber to observe the forms Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms; The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare, But wonder how the devil they got there? Were others angry? I excus'd them too; Well might they rage; I gave them but their due.
A man's true merit 'tis not hard to find, But each man's secret standard in his mind, That casting weight pride adds to emptiness, This, who can gratify? for who can guess? The bard whom pilfer'd pastorals renown, Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown, Just writes to make his barrenness appear, And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year: He, who still wanting, though he lives on theft, Steals much, spends little, yet has nothing left: And he, who now to sense, now nonsense leaning, Means not, but blunders round about a meaning: And he, whose fustian's so sublimely bad, It is not poetry, but prose run mad: All these, my modest satire bade translate, And own'd, that nine such poets made a Tate.
How did they fume, and stamp, and roar, and chafe? And swear, not Addison himself was safe.
Peace to all such! but were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires, Blest with each talent and each art to please, And born to write, converse, and live with ease: Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne, View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caus'd himself to rise; Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer; Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike, Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike; Alike reserv'd to blame, or to commend, A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend; Dreading ev'n fools, by flatterers besieg'd, And so obliging, that he ne'er oblig'd; Like Cato, give his little senate laws, And sit attentive to his own applause; While wits and templars ev'ry sentence raise, And wonder with a foolish face of praise.
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be? Who would not weep, if Atticus were he? What though my name stood rubric on the walls, Or plaister'd posts, with claps, in capitals? Or smoking forth, a hundred hawkers' load, On wings of winds came flying all abroad? I sought no homage from the race that write; I kept, like Asian monarchs, from their sight: Poems I heeded (now berhym'd so long) No more than thou, great George! a birthday song.
I ne'er with wits or witlings pass'd my days, To spread about the itch of verse and praise; Nor like a puppy, daggled through the town, To fetch and carry sing-song up and down; Nor at rehearsals sweat, and mouth'd, and cried, With handkerchief and orange at my side; But sick of fops, and poetry, and prate, To Bufo left the whole Castalian state.
Proud as Apollo on his forked hill, Sat full-blown Bufo, puff'd by every quill; Fed with soft dedication all day long, Horace and he went hand in hand in song.
His library (where busts of poets dead And a true Pindar stood without a head,) Receiv'd of wits an undistinguish'd race, Who first his judgment ask'd, and then a place: Much they extoll'd his pictures, much his seat, And flatter'd ev'ry day, and some days eat: Till grown more frugal in his riper days, He paid some bards with port, and some with praise, To some a dry rehearsal was assign'd, And others (harder still) he paid in kind.
Dryden alone (what wonder?) came not nigh, Dryden alone escap'd this judging eye: But still the great have kindness in reserve, He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve.
May some choice patron bless each grey goose quill! May ev'ry Bavius have his Bufo still! So, when a statesman wants a day's defence, Or envy holds a whole week's war with sense, Or simple pride for flatt'ry makes demands, May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands! Blest be the great! for those they take away, And those they left me--for they left me Gay; Left me to see neglected genius bloom, Neglected die! and tell it on his tomb; Of all thy blameless life the sole return My verse, and Queensb'ry weeping o'er thy urn! Oh let me live my own! and die so too! ("To live and die is all I have to do:") Maintain a poet's dignity and ease, And see what friends, and read what books I please.
Above a patron, though I condescend Sometimes to call a minister my friend: I was not born for courts or great affairs; I pay my debts, believe, and say my pray'rs; Can sleep without a poem in my head, Nor know, if Dennis be alive or dead.
Why am I ask'd what next shall see the light? Heav'ns! was I born for nothing but to write? Has life no joys for me? or (to be grave) Have I no friend to serve, no soul to save? "I found him close with Swift"--"Indeed? no doubt", (Cries prating Balbus) "something will come out".
'Tis all in vain, deny it as I will.
"No, such a genius never can lie still," And then for mine obligingly mistakes The first lampoon Sir Will.
or Bubo makes.
Poor guiltless I! and can I choose but smile, When ev'ry coxcomb knows me by my style? Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow, That tends to make one worthy man my foe, Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear! But he, who hurts a harmless neighbour's peace, Insults fall'n worth, or beauty in distress, Who loves a lie, lame slander helps about, Who writes a libel, or who copies out: That fop, whose pride affects a patron's name, Yet absent, wounds an author's honest fame; Who can your merit selfishly approve, And show the sense of it without the love; Who has the vanity to call you friend, Yet wants the honour, injur'd, to defend; Who tells what'er you think, whate'er you say, And, if he lie not, must at least betray: Who to the Dean, and silver bell can swear, And sees at Cannons what was never there; Who reads, but with a lust to misapply, Make satire a lampoon, and fiction, lie.
A lash like mine no honest man shall dread, But all such babbling blockheads in his stead.
Let Sporus tremble--"What? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk? Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings, This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings; Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys, Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'r enjoys, So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.
Eternal smiles his emptiness betray, As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.
Whether in florid impotence he speaks, And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks; Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad, Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad, In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies, Or spite, or smut, or rhymes, or blasphemies.
His wit all see-saw, between that and this , Now high, now low, now Master up, now Miss, And he himself one vile antithesis.
Amphibious thing! that acting either part, The trifling head, or the corrupted heart, Fop at the toilet, flatt'rer at the board, Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.
Eve's tempter thus the rabbins have express'd, A cherub's face, a reptile all the rest; Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.
Not fortune's worshipper, nor fashion's fool, Not lucre's madman, nor ambition's tool, Not proud, nor servile, be one poet's praise, That, if he pleas'd, he pleas'd by manly ways; That flatt'ry, even to kings, he held a shame, And thought a lie in verse or prose the same: That not in fancy's maze he wander'd long, But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz'd his song: That not for fame, but virtue's better end, He stood the furious foe, the timid friend, The damning critic, half-approving wit, The coxcomb hit, or fearing to be hit; Laugh'd at the loss of friends he never had, The dull, the proud, the wicked, and the mad; The distant threats of vengeance on his head, The blow unfelt, the tear he never shed; The tale reviv'd, the lie so oft o'erthrown; Th' imputed trash, and dulness not his own; The morals blacken'd when the writings 'scape; The libell'd person, and the pictur'd shape; Abuse, on all he lov'd, or lov'd him, spread, A friend in exile, or a father, dead; The whisper, that to greatness still too near, Perhaps, yet vibrates on his sovereign's ear:-- Welcome for thee, fair Virtue! all the past: For thee, fair Virtue! welcome ev'n the last! "But why insult the poor? affront the great?" A knave's a knave, to me, in ev'ry state: Alike my scorn, if he succeed or fail, Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail, A hireling scribbler, or a hireling peer, Knight of the post corrupt, or of the shire; If on a pillory, or near a throne, He gain his prince's ear, or lose his own.
Yet soft by nature, more a dupe than wit, Sappho can tell you how this man was bit: This dreaded sat'rist Dennis will confess Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress: So humble, he has knock'd at Tibbald's door, Has drunk with Cibber, nay, has rhym'd for Moore.
Full ten years slander'd, did he once reply? Three thousand suns went down on Welsted's lie.
To please a mistress one aspers'd his life; He lash'd him not, but let her be his wife.
Let Budgell charge low Grub Street on his quill, And write whate'er he pleas'd, except his will; Let the two Curlls of town and court, abuse His father, mother, body, soul, and muse.
Yet why? that father held it for a rule, It was a sin to call our neighbour fool: That harmless mother thought no wife a whore,-- Hear this! and spare his family, James Moore! Unspotted names! and memorable long, If there be force in virtue, or in song.
Of gentle blood (part shed in honour's cause, While yet in Britain honour had applause) Each parent sprung--"What fortune, pray?"--Their own, And better got, than Bestia's from the throne.
Born to no pride, inheriting no strife, Nor marrying discord in a noble wife, Stranger to civil and religious rage, The good man walk'd innoxious through his age.
No courts he saw, no suits would ever try, Nor dar'd an oath, nor hazarded a lie: Un-learn'd, he knew no schoolman's subtle art, No language, but the language of the heart.
By nature honest, by experience wise, Healthy by temp'rance and by exercise; His life, though long, to sickness past unknown; His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me, thus to live, and thus to die! Who sprung from kings shall know less joy than I.
O friend! may each domestic bliss be thine! Be no unpleasing melancholy mine: Me, let the tender office long engage To rock the cradle of reposing age, With lenient arts extend a mother's breath, Make langour smile, and smooth the bed of death, Explore the thought, explain the asking eye, And keep a while one parent from the sky! On cares like these if length of days attend, May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend, Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene, And just as rich as when he serv'd a queen.
Whether that blessing be denied or giv'n, Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heav'n.


by Robert Lowell |

For the Union Dead

 "Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam.
" The old South Boston Aquarium stands in a Sahara of snow now.
Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.
Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass; my hand tingled to burst the bubbles drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.
My hand draws back.
I often sigh still for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom of the fish and reptile.
One morning last March, I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized fence on the Boston Common.
Behind their cage, yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting as they cropped up tons of mush and grass to gouge their underworld garage.
Parking spaces luxuriate like civic sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders braces the tingling Statehouse, shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry on St.
Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief, propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.
Two months after marching through Boston, half the regiment was dead; at the dedication, William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.
Their monument sticks like a fishbone in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean as a compass-needle.
He has an angry wrenlike vigilance, a greyhound's gently tautness; he seems to wince at pleasure, and suffocate for privacy.
He is out of bounds now.
He rejoices in man's lovely, peculiar power to choose life and die-- when he leads his black soldiers to death, he cannot bend his back.
On a thousand small town New England greens, the old white churches hold their air of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.
The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier grow slimmer and younger each year-- wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets and muse through their sideburns .
.
.
Shaw's father wanted no monument except the ditch, where his son's body was thrown and lost with his "niggers.
" The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here; on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph shows Hiroshima boiling over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages" that survived the blast.
Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set, the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.
Colonel Shaw is riding on his bubble, he waits for the bless?d break.
The Aquarium is gone.
Everywhere, giant finned cars nose forward like fish; a savage servility slides by on grease.


by Sidney Lanier |

A Dedication. To Charlotte Cushman.

 As Love will carve dear names upon a tree,
Symbol of gravure on his heart to be,

So thought I thine with loving text to set
In the growth and substance of my canzonet;

But, writing it, my tears begin to fall --
This wild-rose stem for thy large name's too small!

Nay, still my trembling hands are fain, are fain
Cut the good letters though they lap again;

Perchance such folk as mark the blur and stain
Will say, `It was the beating of the rain;'

Or, haply these o'er-woundings of the stem
May loose some little balm, to plead for them.


by Rg Gregory |

bee-attitudes

 in the shadow 
of the flower
is the sting

the bee driven by need
uses its painful gift
to keep its sense of beauty
in proportion

it does its job with
a thoughtless dedication
its honeyed world
excites no inner space

bees are not poets
who wade through words
with too much brain
around their ankles

each itching bee-part
is attuned
to a cosmic web
each buzz miraculous

flowers put powder
on their private parts
to call the bees in
it seems a good game

much fumbling and the bee
goes home to mother
rewards ripple outwards
to many dripping tongues

bees hate anything
that gets in the way
the bee-world is exclusive
aliens - keep out

bees live on a knife-edge
between honey
and a ripped-out sting
violation propels them

in the shadow 
of the nectar
is the horror


by Rg Gregory |

eight roundels

 (roundel: variation of the rondeau
consisting of three stanzas of three
lines each, linked together with but
two rhymes and a refrain at the end
of the first and third group)



1.
the blind rose today's fullness is tomorrow's gone (the next day after no one knows) last year's dream now feeds upon what blindly grows imagine if you like a rose on which no likely sun has shone a darkness chokes it (just suppose) the die though's cast - a marathon of hopes endeavours then bestows dawn's right to spill its colours on what blindly grows 2.
squeaking there are so few words left now to grow green on - my vocabulary's stumped for a hard-edged phrase to let you know my truth's not been gazumped love itself of course is blandly thumped each time it suits you to imagine no fruits are guilty for their being scrumped if you can't be honest with me - better go if dumped is what you wish then i'll be dumped excuse me if i go on squeaking though my truth's not been gazumped 3.
ease of mind the world spins - today i have migraine the peace i seek is never less than ill striving's no answer to the bumptious pain that is love's overspill wanting warmth encourages the chill relaxation breeds its bitter strain the worst of all crimes is - i love you still hope itself by nature is inane i squat in a box dismembered from such will to let me find the ease of mind again that is love's overspill 4.
a roundel for ptolemy the earth is not the system's centre- so ok heliocentric - well our sun's a midget spawning galaxies blow our minds away space then equal to a digit the mightiest telescope's a widget science at best hard guessing gone astray no genius stretch beyond a second's fidget ptolemy discarded yet may have his say infinity takes a hologram to bridge it each shard of us contains the cosmos - space then equal to a digit 5.
reflection everything you do is my reflection the hurts you cause are my pain inside out blame's no matter for a close inspection your guilt turns mine about love itself is many hands of doubt it cannot be without it breeds rejection its silences result in one big shout i am left with nothing but dejection what's gold in me has nowhere to get out love's pride is fatal to correction my guilt turns yours about 6.
the round the round understands the fluidity of order how the thing lit up and the shadow can't compete how the centre is that version of the border the moment makes complete notice each face around a space at times replete with insights given to no one else as warder but not condemned when those insights retreat impermanence is eternity's recorder - with an intricate sense of pattern power can't delete the round honours those cracks in the divine disorder the moment makes complete 7.
the actor acting is not the true self's dissipation but not its preening either - outside the role it honours it best fights shy of reputation - being what prometheus stole it is a distant spark of that first live coal a conscious glimpse of human desperation rekindled as a longing to console the waning spirit or the shattered dedication actors are allies of the delphic hole for good or ill they echo human expectation being what prometheus stole 8.
roundels in honour of the round (i) when energy was born it asked this question which way dear parents do i go from here mum fluttered indifferently (i blame exhaustion) dad pointed with his sexual gear so energy thrust straight ahead and fostered fear at once its dreaded source became a bastion too holy to be doubted - mum flipped a gear she sought revenge on dad for his lewd suggestion taking too long of course - things went nuclear the scale of the damage was too much to ingest when dad pointed with his sexual gear (ii) she sat with her flowing skirt spread out on the earth and tore the garment into strips from toe to waist laying them to point around the wide world's girth my way the truth flows best dad laughed his head off at the pointless waste and energy itself was seized by powerful mirth perhaps mum's petalled skirt was not well placed in time mishandled plenty breeds its dearth dad's roisterous one-way-ism was disgraced energy began to sense what mum was worth her way the truth flows best


by Anna Akhmatova |

Requiem

 Not under foreign skies
 Nor under foreign wings protected -
 I shared all this with my own people
 There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
[1961] INSTEAD OF A PREFACE During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in Leningrad.
One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me, her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in her life heard my name.
Jolted out of the torpor characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear (everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe this?' And I answered - 'I can.
' It was then that something like a smile slid across what had previously been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957.
Leningrad] DEDICATION Mountains fall before this grief, A mighty river stops its flow, But prison doors stay firmly bolted Shutting off the convict burrows And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone, Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this, We are everywhere the same, listening To the scrape and turn of hateful keys And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass, Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed, We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun, Lower every day; the Neva, mistier: But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict.
Immediately a flood of tears, Followed by a total isolation, As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or, Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out, But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends, Captives of my two satanic years? What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard? What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon? I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940] INTRODUCTION [PRELUDE] It happened like this when only the dead Were smiling, glad of their release, That Leningrad hung around its prisons Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang Short songs of farewell To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering, As they, in regiments, walked along - Stars of death stood over us As innocent Russia squirmed Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres Of the black marias.
I You were taken away at dawn.
I followed you As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God.
.
.
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold sweat On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1) Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935.
Autumn.
Moscow] II Silent flows the river Don A yellow moon looks quietly on Swanking about, with cap askew It sees through the window a shadow of you Gravely ill, all alone The moon sees a woman lying at home Her son is in jail, her husband is dead Say a prayer for her instead.
III It isn't me, someone else is suffering.
I couldn't.
Not like this.
Everything that has happened, Cover it with a black cloth, Then let the torches be removed.
.
.
Night.
IV Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling, The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2) If only you could have foreseen What life would do with you - That you would stand, parcel in hand, Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in line, Burning the new year's ice With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways With not a sound - how many innocent Blameless lives are being taken away.
.
.
[1938] V For seventeen months I have been screaming, Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever - I can no longer distinguish Who is an animal, who a person, and how long The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers, The chinking of the thurible, Tracks from somewhere into nowhere And, staring me in the face And threatening me with swift annihilation, An enormous star.
[1939] VI Weeks fly lightly by.
Even so, I cannot understand what has arisen, How, my son, into your prison White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn, Eyes that focus like a hawk, And, upon your cross, the talk Is again of death.
[1939.
Spring] VII THE VERDICT The word landed with a stony thud Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared, I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today; I need to slaughter memory, Turn my living soul to stone Then teach myself to live again.
.
.
But how.
The hot summer rustles Like a carnival outside my window; I have long had this premonition Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939.
Summer.
Fontannyi Dom (4)] VIII TO DEATH You will come anyway - so why not now? I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish.
Burst in Like a shell of noxious gas.
Creep up on me Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation, Or, with a simple tale prepared by you (And known by all to the point of nausea), take me Before the commander of the blue caps and let me glimpse The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore.
The river Yenisey Swirls on.
The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939.
Fontannyi Dom] IX Madness with its wings Has covered half my soul It feeds me fiery wine And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood While listening to my alien delirium That I must hand the victory To it.
However much I nag However much I beg It will not let me take One single thing away: Not my son's frightening eyes - A suffering set in stone, Or prison visiting hours Or days that end in storms Nor the sweet coolness of a hand The anxious shade of lime trees Nor the light distant sound Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] X CRUCIFIXION Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
1.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour, The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!' But to his mother, 'Weep not for me.
.
.
' [1940.
Fontannyi Dom] 2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept, The favourite disciple turned to stone, But there, where the mother stood silent, Not one person dared to look.
[1943.
Tashkent] EPILOGUE 1.
I have learned how faces fall, How terror can escape from lowered eyes, How suffering can etch cruel pages Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair Can suddenly turn white.
I've learned to recognise The fading smiles upon submissive lips, The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself But all of you who stood there with me Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
2.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you: The one who resisted the long drag to the open window; The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar soil beneath her feet; The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied, 'I arrive here as if I've come home!' I'd like to name you all by name, but the list Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So, I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble words I overheard you use.
Everywhere, forever and always, I will never forget one single thing.
Even in new grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth Through which one hundred million people scream; That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country Decides to raise a memorial to me, I give my consent to this festivity But only on this condition - do not build it By the sea where I was born, I have severed my last ties with the sea; Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me; Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear That I will forget the Black Marias, Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears From my immovable bronze eyelids And let the prison dove coo in the distance While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940.
Fontannyi Dom] FOOTNOTES 1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion against Peter the Great in 1698.
Most were either executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.


by Lewis Carroll |

The Hunting Of The Snark

 Dedication

Inscribed to a dear Child:
in memory of golden summer hours
and whispers of a summer sea.
Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task, Eager she wields her spade; yet loves as well Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask The tale he loves to tell.
Rude spirits of the seething outer strife, Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright, Deem, if you list, such hours a waste of life, Empty of all delight! Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled.
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy, The heart-love of a child! Away, fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more! Work claims my wakeful nights, my busy days-- Albeit bright memories of that sunlit shore Yet haunt my dreaming gaze! PREFACE If--and the thing is wildly possible--the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in p.
18) "Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes.
" In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural History--I will take the more prosaic course of simply explaining how it happened.
The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to.
They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand--so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder.
The helmsman* used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one.
" So remon{-} strance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day.
During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.
As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves.
" The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves.
" Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow.
" I have heard people try to give it the sound of the"o" in "worry.
" Such is Human Perversity.
This also seems a fitting occasion to notice the other hard works in that poem.
Humpty-Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a port{-} manteau, seems to me the right explanation for all.
For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious.
" Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first.
Now open your mouth and speak.
If your thoughts incline ever so little towards "fuming," you will say "fuming-furious;" if they turn, by even a hair's breadth, towards "furious," you will say "furious-fuming;" but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say "frumious.
" Supposing that, when Pistol uttered the well-known words-- "Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or die!" Justice Shallow had felt certain that it was either William or Richard, but had not been able to settle which, so that he could not possibly say either name before the other, can it be doubted that, rather than die, he would have gasped out "Rilchiam!" CONTENTS Fit the First.
The Landing Fit the Second.
The Bellman's Speech Fit the Third.
The Baker's Tale Fit the Fourth.
The Hunting Fit the Fifth.
The Beaver's Lesson Fit the Sixth.
The Barrister's Dream Fit the Seventh.
The Banker's Fate Fit the Eighth.
The Vanishing Fit the First.
THE LANDING "Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried, As he landed his crew with care; Supporting each man on the top of the tide By a finger entwined in his hair.
"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.
" The crew was complete: it included a Boots-- A maker of Bonnets and Hoods-- A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes-- And a Broker, to value their goods.
A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense, Might perhaps have won more than his share-- But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense, Had the whole of their cash in his care.
There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck, Or would sit making lace in the bow: And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck, Though none of the sailors knew how.
There was one who was famed for the number of things He forgot when he entered the ship: His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings, And the clothes he had bought for the trip.
He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed, With his name painted clearly on each: But, since he omitted to mention the fact, They were all left behind on the beach.
The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because He had seven coats on when he came, With three pair of boots--but the worst of it was, He had wholly forgotten his name.
He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry, Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!" To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!" But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!" While, for those who preferred a more forcible word, He had different names from these: His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends," And his enemies "Toasted-cheese.
" "His form in ungainly--his intellect small--" (So the Bellman would often remark) "But his courage is perfect! And that, after all, Is the thing that one needs with a Snark.
" He would joke with hy{ae}nas, returning their stare With an impudent wag of the head: And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear, "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.
He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late-- And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad-- He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state, No materials were to be had.
The last of the crew needs especial remark, Though he looked an incredible dunce: He had just one idea--but, that one being "Snark," The good Bellman engaged him at once.
He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared, When the ship had been sailing a week, He could only kill Beavers.
The Bellman looked scared, And was almost too frightened to speak: But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone, There was only one Beaver on board; And that was a tame one he had of his own, Whose death would be deeply deplored.
The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark, Protested, with tears in its eyes, That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark Could atone for that dismal surprise! It strongly advised that the Butcher should be Conveyed in a separate ship: But the Bellman declared that would never agree With the plans he had made for the trip: Navigation was always a difficult art, Though with only one ship and one bell: And he feared he must really decline, for his part, Undertaking another as well.
The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure A second-hand dagger-proof coat-- So the Baker advised it-- and next, to insure Its life in some Office of note: This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire (On moderate terms), or for sale, Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire, And one Against Damage From Hail.
Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day, Whenever the Butcher was by, The Beaver kept looking the opposite way, And appeared unaccountably shy.
II.
--THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.
Fit the Second.
THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.
The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies-- Such a carriage, such ease and such grace! Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise, The moment one looked in his face! He had bought a large map representing the sea, Without the least vestige of land: And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be A map they could all understand.
"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators, Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?" So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply "They are merely conventional signs! "Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes! But we've got our brave Captain to thank (So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best-- A perfect and absolute blank!" This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out That the Captain they trusted so well Had only one notion for crossing the ocean, And that was to tingle his bell.
He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!" What on earth was the helmsman to do? Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes: A thing, as the Bellman remarked, That frequently happens in tropical climes, When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked.
" But the principal failing occurred in the sailing, And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed, Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East, That the ship would not travel due West! But the danger was past--they had landed at last, With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags: Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view, Which consisted to chasms and crags.
The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low, And repeated in musical tone Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe-- But the crew would do nothing but groan.
He served out some grog with a liberal hand, And bade them sit down on the beach: And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand, As he stood and delivered his speech.
"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!" (They were all of them fond of quotations: So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers, While he served out additional rations).
"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks, (Four weeks to the month you may mark), But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks) Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark! "We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days, (Seven days to the week I allow), But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze, We have never beheld till now! "Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again The five unmistakable marks By which you may know, wheresoever you go, The warranted genuine Snarks.
"Let us take them in order.
The first is the taste, Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp: Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist, With a flavour of Will-o-the-wisp.
"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree That it carries too far, when I say That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea, And dines on the following day.
"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one, It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed: And it always looks grave at a pun.
"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines, Which is constantly carries about, And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes-- A sentiment open to doubt.
"The fifth is ambition.
It next will be right To describe each particular batch: Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite, From those that have whiskers, and scratch.
"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm, Yet, I feel it my duty to say, Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm, For the Baker had fainted away.
FIT III.
--THE BAKER'S TALE.
Fit the Third.
THE BAKER'S TALE.
They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice-- They roused him with mustard and cress-- They roused him with jam and judicious advice-- They set him conundrums to guess.
When at length he sat up and was able to speak, His sad story he offered to tell; And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!" And excitedly tingled his bell.
There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream, Scarcely even a howl or a groan, As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe In an antediluvian tone.
"My father and mother were honest, though poor--" "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark-- We have hardly a minute to waste!" "I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears, "And proceed without further remark To the day when you took me aboard of your ship To help you in hunting the Snark.
"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named) Remarked, when I bade him farewell--" "Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed, As he angrily tingled his bell.
"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men, " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right: Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens, And it's handy for striking a light.
" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care; You may hunt it with forks and hope; You may threaten its life with a railway-share; You may charm it with smiles and soap--' " ("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold In a hasty parenthesis cried, "That's exactly the way I have always been told That the capture of Snarks should be tried!") " 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day, If your Snark be a Boojum! For then You will softly and suddenly vanish away, And never be met with again!' "It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul, When I think of my uncle's last words: And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl Brimming over with quivering curds! "It is this, it is this--" "We have had that before!" The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
It is this, it is this that I dread! "I engage with the Snark--every night after dark-- In a dreamy delirious fight: I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes, And I use it for striking a light: "But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day, In a moment (of this I am sure), I shall softly and suddenly vanish away-- And the notion I cannot endure!" FIT IV.
--THE HUNTING.
Fit the fourth.
THE HUNTING.
The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
"If only you'd spoken before! It's 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? "It's excessively awkward to mention it now-- As I think I've 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 you've 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 I've 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 Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't: Not a chance must be wasted to-day! "For England expects--I forbear to proceed: 'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite: And you'd 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 there's 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!" FIT V.
--THE BEAVER'S LESSON.
Fit the Fifth.
THE BEAVER'S LESSON.
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care; They pursued it with forks and hope; They threatened its life with a railway-share; They charmed it with smiles and soap.
Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan For making a separate sally; And had fixed on a spot unfrequented by man, A dismal and desolate valley.
But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred: It had chosen the very same place: Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word, The disgust that appeared in his face.
Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark" And the glorious work of the day; And each tried to pretend that he did not remark That the other was going that way.
But the valley grew narrow and narrower still, And the evening got darker and colder, Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill) They marched along shoulder to shoulder.
Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky, And they knew that some danger was near: The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail, And even the Butcher felt queer.
He thought of his childhood, left far far behind-- That blissful and innocent state-- The sound so exactly recalled to his mind A pencil that squeaks on a slate! "'Tis the voice of the Jubjub!" he suddenly cried.
(This man, that they used to call "Dunce.
") "As the Bellman would tell you," he added with pride, "I have uttered that sentiment once.
"'Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat; You will find I have told it you twice.
Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete, If only I've stated it thrice.
" The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care, Attending to every word: But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair, When the third repetition occurred.
It felt that, in spite of all possible pains, It had somehow contrived to lose count, And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains By reckoning up the amount.
"Two added to one--if that could but be done," It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!" Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years, It had taken no pains with its sums.
"The thing can be done," said the Butcher, "I think.
The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink, The best there is time to procure.
" The Beaver brought paper, portfolio, pens, And ink in unfailing supplies: While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens, And watched them with wondering eyes.
So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not, As he wrote with a pen in each hand, And explained all the while in a popular style Which the Beaver could well understand.
"Taking Three as the subject to reason about-- A convenient number to state-- We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out By One Thousand diminished by Eight.
"The result we proceed to divide, as you see, By Nine Hundred and Ninety and Two: Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be Exactly and perfectly true.
"The method employed I would gladly explain, While I have it so clear in my head, If I had but the time and you had but the brain-- But much yet remains to be said.
"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been Enveloped in absolute mystery, And without extra charge I will give you at large A Lesson in Natural History.
" In his genial way he proceeded to say (Forgetting all laws of propriety, And that giving instruction, without introduction, Would have caused quite a thrill in Society), "As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird, Since it lives in perpetual passion: Its taste in costume is entirely absurd-- It is ages ahead of the fashion: "But it knows any friend it has met once before: It never will look at a bride: And in charity-meetings it stands at the door, And collects--though it does not subscribe.
"Its flavour when cooked is more exquisite far Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs: (Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar, And some, in mahogany kegs:) "You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue: You condense it with locusts and tape: Still keeping one principal object in view-- To preserve its symmetrical shape.
" The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day, But he felt that the Lesson must end, And he wept with delight in attempting to say He considered the Beaver his friend.
While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks More eloquent even than tears, It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books Would have taught it in seventy years.
They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned (For a moment) with noble emotion, Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days We have spent on the billowy ocean!" Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became, Have seldom if ever been known; In winter or summer, 'twas always the same-- You could never meet either alone.
And when quarrels arose--as one frequently finds Quarrels will, spite of every endeavour-- The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds, And cemented their friendship for ever! FIT VI.
--THE BARRISTER'S DREAM.
Fit the Sixth.
THE BARRISTER'S DREAM.
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care; They pursued it with forks and hope; They threatened its life with a railway-share; They charmed it with smiles and soap.
But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong, Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain That his fancy had dwelt on so long.
He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court, Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye, Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig On the charge of deserting its sty.
The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw, That the sty was deserted when found: And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law In a soft under-current of sound.
The indictment had never been clearly expressed, And it seemed that the Snark had begun, And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed What the pig was supposed to have done.
The Jury had each formed a different view (Long before the indictment was read), And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew One word that the others had said.
"You must know ---" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed "Fudge!" That statute is obsolete quite! Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends On an ancient manorial right.
"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear To have aided, but scarcely abetted: While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear, If you grant the plea 'never indebted.
' "The fact of Desertion I will not dispute; But its guilt, as I trust, is removed (So far as relates to the costs of this suit) By the Alibi which has been proved.
"My poor client's fate now depends on your votes.
" Here the speaker sat down in his place, And directed the Judge to refer to his notes And briefly to sum up the case.
But the Judge said he never had summed up before; So the Snark undertook it instead, And summed it so well that it came to far more Than the Witnesses ever had said! When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined, As the word was so puzzling to spell; But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind Undertaking that duty as well.
So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned, It was spent with the toils of the day: When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned, And some of them fainted away.
Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite Too nervous to utter a word: When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night, And the fall of a pin might be heard.
"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave, "And then to be fined forty pound.
" The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared That the phrase was not legally sound.
But their wild exultation was suddenly checked When the jailer informed them, with tears, Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect, As the pig had been dead for some years.
The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted: But the Snark, though a little aghast, As the lawyer to whom the defence was intrusted, Went bellowing on to the last.
Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed To grow every moment more clear: Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell, Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.
FIT VII.
--THE BANKER'S FATE.
Fit the Seventh.
THE BANKER'S FATE.
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care; They pursued it with forks and hope; They threatened its life with a railway-share; They charmed it with smiles and soap.
And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new It was matter for general remark, Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view In his zeal to discover the Snark But while he was seeking with thimbles and care, A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair, For he knew it was useless to fly.
He offered large discount--he offered a cheque (Drawn "to bearer") for seven-pounds-ten: But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck And grabbed at the Banker again.
Without rest or pause--while those frumious jaws Went savagely snapping around-- He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped, Till fainting he fell to the ground.
The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared Led on by that fear-stricken yell: And the Bellman remarked "It is just as I feared!" And solemnly tolled on his bell.
He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace The least likeness to what he had been: While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white-- A wonderful thing to be seen! To the horror of all who were present that day, He uprose in full evening dress, And with senseless grimaces endeavoured to say What his tongue could no longer express.
Down he sank in a chair--ran his hands through his hair-- And chanted in mimsiest tones Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity, While he rattled a couple of bones.
"Leave him here to his fate--it is getting so late!" The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
"We have lost half the day.
Any further delay, And we sha'nt catch a Snark before night!" FIT VIII.
--THE VANISHING.
Fit the Eighth.
THE VANISHING.
They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care; They pursued it with forks and hope; They threatened its life with a railway-share; They charmed it with smiles and soap.
They shuddered to think that the chase might fail, And the Beaver, excited at last, Went bounding along on the tip of its tail, For the daylight was nearly past.
"There is Thingumbob shouting!" the Bellman said, "He is shouting like mad, only hark! He is waving his hands, he is wagging his head, He has certainly found a Snark!" They gazed in delight, while the Butcher exclaimed "He was always a desperate wag!" They beheld him--their Baker--their hero unnamed-- On the top of a neighbouring crag, Erect and sublime, for one moment of time In the next, that wild figure they saw (As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm, While they waited and listened in awe.
"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears, And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers: Then the ominous words "It's a Boo-" Then, silence.
Some fancied they heard in the air A weary and wandering sigh Then sounded like "-jum!" but the others declare It was only a breeze that went by.
They hunted till darkness came on, but they found Not a button, or feather, or mark, By which they could tell that they stood on the ground Where the Baker had met with the Snark.
In the midst of the word he was trying to say, In the midst of his laughter and glee, He had softly and suddenly vanished away--- For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
THE END.


by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow |

Ultima Thule: Dedication to G. W. G.

 With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas, 
We sailed for the Hesperides, 
The land where golden apples grow; 
But that, ah! that was long ago.
How far, since then, the ocean streams Have swept us from that land of dreams, That land of fiction and of truth, The lost Atlantis of our youth! Whither, ah, whither? Are not these The tempest-haunted Orcades, Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar, And wreck and sea-weed line the shore? Ultima Thule! Utmost Isle! Here in thy harbors for a while We lower our sails; a while we rest From the unending, endless quest.