July 2019 Favorite Poem & Poet

Jabberwocky | Lewis Carroll

’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.


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Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky appeared in 1871 when Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There was published.  Many of the words in the poem are nonsense words of Carroll’s own invention, such as “galumphing.”  Many of us share Alice’s impression after reading it:

“It seems very pretty, but it’s rather hard to understand!  Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas—only I don’t exactly know what they are! However, somebody killed something: that’s clear, at any rate.”

Illustration credit:  "Beware the Jabberwock, my Son" by John Tenniel

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