“He left it dead, and with its head he went galumphing back”

JABBERWOCKY
~ by 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.

##

Chortle and burble have lately been adopted for general use in the English language since Lewis Carroll’s preposterous inventions of them. Galumphing gets some use. There is a rock band named Frumious Bandersnatch, of course. We have plastic whiffle-balls whifffling through the air in our backyards. (There is a snack called Snickers. And Gimbels was a great department store in its day.) We now have the idea of portmanteau words, like slithy (lithe and slimy.) Jabberwocky is now a word for gibberish. There might still be hope for vorpal, manxome, uffish, and mimsy— such frabjous adjectives! But, most influential of all nowadays, we have snark in our culture everywhere, just below the surface.

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Author: MDM

Michael Dennis Mooney is a student of humor and witticism in verse. At this site he is compiling a selection of the best works using extended metaphor in poetry, with a special interest in satire, parody, and humor. Suggestions are welcome. Send your citations of favorites, by email, to mike.mooney.home@gmail.com He has a site "New Writings" at http://jcbcast.blogspot.com And a site for essays, 'His Epistles To The Philistines" at http://tothephilistines.wordpress.com

3 thoughts on ““He left it dead, and with its head he went galumphing back”

  1. thank you. did not know it is borogoves. i learned how to spell a non-word! now i don’t know how to picture them. i had always seen them as misty groves (or mimsy). i’m so confused now. well, i’ll always have the tulgey wood

    1. i just looked up carroll’s facetious explanation of what “mimsy” is (flimsy & miserable) and what a “borogove” is (“a thin shabby-looking bird with feathers sticking out all around, like a live mop.”) paints quite a silly picture -mdm

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