Wednesday, October 7, 2009


"Jabberwocky" is a nonsensical poem by Lewis Caroll published in "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There" (1871). amazingly, the poem is consistent with the form of classic english poetry (quatrain verse, rhymed, iambic meter, a flow of events). as Alice said herself, "somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas-only i don't know exactly what they are!". while Caroll originally intended the poem to "satirize pretentious poetry and ignorant literary critics" by serving as an example of how NOT to write a poem, "Jabberwocky" has since been utilized in many-a-classroom to help teach children portmanteau*, nonsense words, verbs, and nouns (ex: "chortled" is a combination of chuckle and snort, "mimsy" is a combination of miserable and flimsy). please read poem aloud, it's much more maaaaarvelous.

"a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings"-OED

read more at wikipedia.

Jabberwocky by Lewis Caroll 

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 awhile in thought.

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

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

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

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Anonymous said...

Nearly every line of this blog entry was copied from the Wikipedia entry for "Jabberwocky." You should make reference by link or citatation rather than passing off as your own commentary. Shame on you!

Madame Lamb said...

most of the information is factual, not commentary. but thank you for calling to my attention that i forgot to add a "read more at wikipedia" link at the bottom of the post.

this poem must be dear to you so perhaps you might be interested in what compelled me to post on "jabberwocky". the poem was referenced in a wonderful article in yesterday's times called "how nonsense sharpens the intellect". i suggest reading it, if you haven't already.


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