For Mike Batt, for orchestrating the “Snark”
…and also for giving me a link!

Lewis Carroll 1871 Elwood Herring 2000

T’was brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch.
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand,
Long time the manxome foe he sought.
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

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

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack.
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

T’was brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”


Thus so the frusty saga broiled
On tongues of sages round the sward,
But truth will out in times of doubt -
This ‘hero’ is a fraud!

Whilst out in stately style was he
Confronted by a franxious mob:-
“The Jubjub bird has put us right -
Proclaimed thou botched the job!”

“Come clean, thou artificial champ,
Thy mopy fable’s pure deceit –
‘I saw it all’, yon bird decried,
Thou masquerading cheat!”

“T’is true”, our slayer stumbly fessed,
“I am the fake you ache to clout;
But if I’m due one last request -
Please hear my story out.

“Beneath the Tumtum shroud I slept
And gruelly lost in leerish dreams,
When woken by said frighteous beast
With angry scrambled screams!

“Its breath was gack, its voice was shrilk,
It burbled frothly, so it did!
I quivelled to my toes, and then
Ran half a league and hid.

“The Jabberwock, its teeth aglow
Leapt up into the tulgey trees -
Then missed its grip, I watched it slip
And crash upon its knees.

“I skiddled back to stranglish moans,
Its carcass steamed in Jabbersweat.
It flailed its last; I skewered fast -
Its manky skull to net.

“So now you know the hurtful truth,
Thy punishment I sheeply dread -
I did not slay the Jabberwock…
For t’was already dead!”

© Elwood Herring Sep 11 2000

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