Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Best Famous Lewis Carroll Poems

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

Search for the best famous Lewis Carroll poems, articles about Lewis Carroll poems, poetry blogs, or anything else Lewis Carroll poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also: Best Member Poems

Go Back

by Lewis Carroll |

Jabberwocky

'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 a while 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! 
Oh 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. 


by Lewis Carroll |

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 neat—
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—
   And 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!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
   "The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said;
   "I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
   Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
   Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
   "You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
   But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because
   They'd eaten every one.


by Lewis Carroll |

Phantasmagoria CANTO II ( Hys Fyve Rules )

 "MY First - but don't suppose," he said,
"I'm setting you a riddle -
Is - if your Victim be in bed,
Don't touch the curtains at his head,
But take them in the middle, 

"And wave them slowly in and out,
While drawing them asunder;
And in a minute's time, no doubt,
He'll raise his head and look about
With eyes of wrath and wonder. 

"And here you must on no pretence
Make the first observation.
Wait for the Victim to commence:
No Ghost of any common sense
Begins a conversation. 

"If he should say 'HOW CAME YOU HERE?'
(The way that YOU began, Sir,)
In such a case your course is clear -
'ON THE BAT'S BACK, MY LITTLE DEAR!'
Is the appropriate answer. 

"If after this he says no more,
You'd best perhaps curtail your
Exertions - go and shake the door,
And then, if he begins to snore,
You'll know the thing's a failure. 

"By day, if he should be alone -
At home or on a walk -
You merely give a hollow groan,
To indicate the kind of tone
In which you mean to talk. 

"But if you find him with his friends,
The thing is rather harder.
In such a case success depends
On picking up some candle-ends,
Or butter, in the larder. 

"With this you make a kind of slide
(It answers best with suet),
On which you must contrive to glide,
And swing yourself from side to side -
One soon learns how to do it. 

"The Second tells us what is right
In ceremonious calls:-
'FIRST BURN A BLUE OR CRIMSON LIGHT'
(A thing I quite forgot to-night),
'THEN SCRATCH THE DOOR OR WALLS.'" 

I said "You'll visit HERE no more,
If you attempt the Guy.
I'll have no bonfires on MY floor -
And, as for scratching at the door,
I'd like to see you try!" 

"The Third was written to protect
The interests of the Victim,
And tells us, as I recollect,
TO TREAT HIM WITH A GRAVE RESPECT,
AND NOT TO CONTRADICT HIM." 

"That's plain," said I, "as Tare and Tret,
To any comprehension:
I only wish SOME Ghosts I've met
Would not so CONSTANTLY forget
The maxim that you mention!" 

"Perhaps," he said, "YOU first transgressed
The laws of hospitality:
All Ghosts instinctively detest
The Man that fails to treat his guest
With proper cordiality. 

"If you address a Ghost as 'Thing!'
Or strike him with a hatchet,
He is permitted by the King
To drop all FORMAL parleying -
And then you're SURE to catch it! 

"The Fourth prohibits trespassing
Where other Ghosts are quartered:
And those convicted of the thing
(Unless when pardoned by the King)
Must instantly be slaughtered. 

"That simply means 'be cut up small':
Ghosts soon unite anew.
The process scarcely hurts at all -
Not more than when YOU're what you call
'Cut up' by a Review. 

"The Fifth is one you may prefer
That I should quote entire:-
THE KING MUST BE ADDRESSED AS 'SIR.'
THIS, FROM A SIMPLE COURTIER,
IS ALL THE LAWS REQUIRE: 

"BUT, SHOULD YOU WISH TO DO THE THING
WITH OUT-AND-OUT POLITENESS,
ACCOST HIM AS 'MY GOBLIN KING!
AND ALWAYS USE, IN ANSWERING,
THE PHRASE 'YOUR ROYAL WHITENESS!' 

"I'm getting rather hoarse, I fear,
After so much reciting :
So, if you don't object, my dear,
We'll try a glass of bitter beer -
I think it looks inviting."


by Lewis Carroll |

Hiawathas photographing ( Part I )

 FROM his shoulder Hiawatha 
Took the camera of rosewood, 
Made of sliding, folding rosewood; 
Neatly put it all together. 
In its case it lay compactly, 
Folded into nearly nothing; 
But he opened out the hinges, 
Pushed and pulled the joints and hinges, 
Till it looked all squares and oblongs, 
Like a complicated figure 
In the Second Book of Euclid. 

This he perched upon a tripod - 
Crouched beneath its dusky cover - 
Stretched his hand, enforcing silence - 
Said "Be motionless, I beg you!" 
Mystic, awful was the process. 


All the family in order 
Sat before him for their pictures: 
Each in turn, as he was taken, 
Volunteered his own suggestions, 
His ingenious suggestions.


by Lewis Carroll |

Fit the Third ( Hunting of the Snark )

 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!"


by Lewis Carroll |

Fit the First: ( Hunting of the Snark )

 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 is 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 is 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 hyaenas, 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 Baker 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.


by Lewis Carroll |

Phantasmagoria CANTO IV ( Hys Nouryture )

 "OH, when I was a little Ghost, 
A merry time had we! 
Each seated on his favourite post, 
We chumped and chawed the buttered toast 
They gave us for our tea." 

"That story is in print!" I cried. 
"Don't say it's not, because 
It's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide!" 
(The Ghost uneasily replied 
He hardly thought it was). 

"It's not in Nursery Rhymes? And yet 
I almost think it is - 
'Three little Ghosteses' were set 
'On posteses,' you know, and ate 
Their 'buttered toasteses.' 

"I have the book; so if you doubt it - " 
I turned to search the shelf. 
"Don't stir!" he cried. "We'll do without it: 
I now remember all about it; 
I wrote the thing myself. 

"It came out in a 'Monthly,' or 
At least my agent said it did: 
Some literary swell, who saw 
It, thought it seemed adapted for 
The Magazine he edited. 

"My father was a Brownie, Sir; 
My mother was a Fairy. 
The notion had occurred to her, 
The children would be happier, 
If they were taught to vary. 

"The notion soon became a craze; 
And, when it once began, she 
Brought us all out in different ways - 
One was a Pixy, two were Fays, 
Another was a Banshee; 

"The Fetch and Kelpie went to school 
And gave a lot of trouble; 
Next came a Poltergeist and Ghoul, 
And then two Trolls (which broke the rule), 
A Goblin, and a Double - 

"(If that's a snuff-box on the shelf," 
He added with a yawn, 
"I'll take a pinch) - next came an Elf, 
And then a Phantom (that's myself), 
And last, a Leprechaun. 

"One day, some Spectres chanced to call, 
Dressed in the usual white: 
I stood and watched them in the hall, 
And couldn't make them out at all, 
They seemed so strange a sight. 

"I wondered what on earth they were, 
That looked all head and sack; 
But Mother told me not to stare, 
And then she twitched me by the hair, 
And punched me in the back. 

"Since then I've often wished that I 
Had been a Spectre born. 
But what's the use?" (He heaved a sigh.) 
"THEY are the ghost-nobility, 
And look on US with scorn. 

"My phantom-life was soon begun: 
When I was barely six, 
I went out with an older one - 
And just at first I thought it fun, 
And learned a lot of tricks. 

"I've haunted dungeons, castles, towers - 
Wherever I was sent: 
I've often sat and howled for hours, 
Drenched to the skin with driving showers, 
Upon a battlement. 

"It's quite old-fashioned now to groan 
When you begin to speak: 
This is the newest thing in tone - " 
And here (it chilled me to the bone) 
He gave an AWFUL squeak. 

"Perhaps," he added, "to YOUR ear 
That sounds an easy thing? 
Try it yourself, my little dear! 
It took ME something like a year, 
With constant practising. 

"And when you've learned to squeak, my man, 
And caught the double sob, 
You're pretty much where you began: 
Just try and gibber if you can! 
That's something LIKE a job! 

"I'VE tried it, and can only say 
I'm sure you couldn't do it, e- 
ven if you practised night and day, 
Unless you have a turn that way, 
And natural ingenuity. 

"Shakspeare I think it is who treats 
Of Ghosts, in days of old, 
Who 'gibbered in the Roman streets,' 
Dressed, if you recollect, in sheets - 
They must have found it cold. 

"I've often spent ten pounds on stuff, 
In dressing as a Double; 
But, though it answers as a puff, 
It never has effect enough 
To make it worth the trouble. 

"Long bills soon quenched the little thirst 
I had for being funny. 
The setting-up is always worst: 
Such heaps of things you want at first, 
One must be made of money! 

"For instance, take a Haunted Tower, 
With skull, cross-bones, and sheet; 
Blue lights to burn (say) two an hour, 
Condensing lens of extra power, 
And set of chains complete: 

"What with the things you have to hire - 
The fitting on the robe - 
And testing all the coloured fire - 
The outfit of itself would tire 
The patience of a Job! 

"And then they're so fastidious, 
The Haunted-House Committee: 
I've often known them make a fuss 
Because a Ghost was French, or Russ, 
Or even from the City! 

"Some dialects are objected to - 
For one, the IRISH brogue is: 
And then, for all you have to do, 
One pound a week they offer you, 
And find yourself in Bogies!


by Lewis Carroll |

Punctuality

 Man Naturally loves delay,
And to procrastinate;
Business put off from day to day
Is always done to late.

Let ever hour be in its place
Firm fixed, nor loosely shift,
And well enjoy the vacant space,
As though a birthday gift.

And when the hour arrives, be there,
Where'er that "there" may be;
Uncleanly hands or ruffled hair
Let no one ever see.

If dinner at "half-past" be placed,
At "half-past" then be dressed.
If at a "quarter-past" make haste
To be down with the rest

Better to be before you time,
Than e're to be behind;
To open the door while strikes the chime,
That shows a punctual mind. 

Moral:

Let punctuality and care
Seize every flitting hour,
So shalt thou cull a floweret fair,
E'en from a fading flower


by Lewis Carroll |

Phantasmagoria CANTO III ( Scarmoges )

 "AND did you really walk," said I,
"On such a wretched night?
I always fancied Ghosts could fly -
If not exactly in the sky,
Yet at a fairish height." 

"It's very well," said he, "for Kings
To soar above the earth:
But Phantoms often find that wings -
Like many other pleasant things -
Cost more than they are worth. 

"Spectres of course are rich, and so
Can buy them from the Elves:
But WE prefer to keep below -
They're stupid company, you know,
For any but themselves: 

"For, though they claim to be exempt
From pride, they treat a Phantom
As something quite beneath contempt -
Just as no Turkey ever dreamt
Of noticing a Bantam." 

"They seem too proud," said I, "to go
To houses such as mine.
Pray, how did they contrive to know
So quickly that 'the place was low,'
And that I 'kept bad wine'?" 

"Inspector Kobold came to you - "
The little Ghost began.
Here I broke in - "Inspector who?
Inspecting Ghosts is something new!
Explain yourself, my man!" 

"His name is Kobold," said my guest:
"One of the Spectre order:
You'll very often see him dressed
In a yellow gown, a crimson vest,
And a night-cap with a border. 

"He tried the Brocken business first,
But caught a sort of chill ;
So came to England to be nursed,
And here it took the form of THIRST,
Which he complains of still. 

"Port-wine, he says, when rich and sound,
Warms his old bones like nectar:
And as the inns, where it is found,
Are his especial hunting-ground,
We call him the INN-SPECTRE." 

I bore it - bore it like a man -
This agonizing witticism!
And nothing could be sweeter than
My temper, till the Ghost began
Some most provoking criticism. 

"Cooks need not be indulged in waste;
Yet still you'd better teach them
Dishes should have SOME SORT of taste.
Pray, why are all the cruets placed
Where nobody can reach them? 

"That man of yours will never earn
His living as a waiter!
Is that queer THING supposed to burn?
(It's far too dismal a concern
To call a Moderator). 

"The duck was tender, but the peas
Were very much too old:
And just remember, if you please,
The NEXT time you have toasted cheese,
Don't let them send it cold. 

"You'd find the bread improved, I think,
By getting better flour:
And have you anything to drink
That looks a LITTLE less like ink,
And isn't QUITE so sour?" 

Then, peering round with curious eyes,
He muttered "Goodness gracious!"
And so went on to criticise -
"Your room's an inconvenient size:
It's neither snug nor spacious. 

"That narrow window, I expect,
Serves but to let the dusk in - "
"But please," said I, "to recollect
'Twas fashioned by an architect
Who pinned his faith on Ruskin!" 

"I don't care who he was, Sir, or
On whom he pinned his faith!
Constructed by whatever law,
So poor a job I never saw,
As I'm a living Wraith! 

"What a re-markable cigar!
How much are they a dozen?"
I growled "No matter what they are!
You're getting as familiar
As if you were my cousin! 

"Now that's a thing I WILL NOT STAND,
And so I tell you flat."
"Aha," said he, "we're getting grand!"
(Taking a bottle in his hand)
"I'll soon arrange for THAT!" 

And here he took a careful aim,
And gaily cried "Here goes!"
I tried to dodge it as it came,
But somehow caught it, all the same,
Exactly on my nose. 

And I remember nothing more
That I can clearly fix,
Till I was sitting on the floor,
Repeating "Two and five are four,
But FIVE AND TWO are six." 

What really passed I never learned,
Nor guessed: I only know
That, when at last my sense returned,
The lamp, neglected, dimly burned -
The fire was getting low - 

Through driving mists I seemed to see
A Thing that smirked and smiled:
And found that he was giving me
A lesson in Biography,
As if I were a child.


by Lewis Carroll |

Hiawathas photographing ( Part IV)

 Next to him the eldest daughter:
She suggested very little
Only asked if he would take her
With her look of 'passive beauty-'



Her idea of passive beauty
Was a squinting of the left-eye,
Was a drooping of the right-eye,
Was a smile that went up Sideways
To the corner of the nostrils.


Hiawatha, when she asked him
Took no notice of the question
Looked as if he hadn't heared it;
But, when pointedly appealed to,
Smiled in his peculiar manner,
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter,'
Bit his lip and changed the subject.


Nor in this was he mistaken,
As the picture failed completely.


So in turn the other sisters.