Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Stunting of the Snark

"Just the place for a Snark! This'll do,
And I'll say it three times, so it's true."
Thus the Bellman did cry
With a glint in his eye
When he landed the rest of his crew:

A Barrister, Broker and Boots,
A Beaver, a Banker (from Coutts),
A Butcher, a Baker,
A fine Bonnet-maker,
And a Billiard-marker called "Shoots".

The Baker, it seems, to his shame,
Had completely forgotten his name;
And the Butcher's sharp cleavers
Could only kill Beavers -
The one on the ship, though, was tame.

The Bellman, though hardly a crank,
Had brought them a map that was blank.
His instructions for steering
Had sent the ship veering -
A wonder the boat never sank.

When the crew had arrived on the beach,
The Bellman delivered a speech.
There were five simple marks
That distinguished all Snarks,
And he commented briefly on each.

But he suddenly caused an affray
When he ventured politely to say:
"Some are Boojums, you know - "
'Twas a story of woe,
For the Baker had fainted away.

They revived him, and then he made clear:
"You have uttered the word that I fear.
With a regular Snark
I'm as bright as a lark;
With a Boojum, I'll just disappear!"

"Why didn't you say so before?"
Asked the Bellman. "I did, to be sure,"
Said the Baker, "In Greek -
But it's English you speak!"
The Bellman could take it no more.

He ordered his crew to prepare
For the hunting, with thimbles and care,
With forks, smiles and soap,
And a great deal of hope,
And a threatening railway-share.

But the Butcher dressed up in a ruff
And lots of peculiar stuff.
Said the Bellman, "That's neat,
But if ever you meet
With a Jubjub, it won't be enough!"

The Butcher arrived at a spot
Where he thought that the Beaver was not,
But they walked on together
Through desolate weather
Though fearing each other a lot.

" 'Tis a Jubjub, that desperate bird!"
Said the Butcher, three times every word.
The Beaver had reckoned
The first and the second,
But couldn't keep up with the third.

So the Butcher expounded with glee
His method for counting to three,
And through simple affection
He added a section
On the Jubjub's behaviour, for free.

Through the lesson they both made amends,
And the Butcher declared they were friends.
He vowed to the Beaver
He never would leave her
(Or was it a "him"? That depends.)

Then the Barrister dreamed of a court
Of quite a peculiar sort.
The Snark, in its wig,
Was defending a pig
On a charge that defied normal thought.

It summed up the case, which was hell,
And gave verdict and sentence as well.
The judge had now gone,
But the Snark carried on
Till the Barrister woke to a bell.

Then a Bandersnatch grabbed at the Banker,
Which caused much confusion and rancour.
He collapsed in a fit -
Cried the Bellman, "That's it!"
As the Banker's expression grew blanker.

As the daylight was turning to dark,
The Baker exclaimed, "It's a Snark!"
Then he plunged out of view
With the words "It's a Boo - "
(No one heard the completed remark.)

They searched, but they couldn't agree
Where the Snark and the Baker could be;
As everyone feared,
He had just disappeared -
For the Snark *was* a Boojum, you see.

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