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There was an Old Man in a boat,
Who said, “I'm afloat! I'm afloat!”

When they said, “No, you ain't!”

He was ready to faint,
That unhappy Old Man in a boat.

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There was an Old Man with a poker,
Who painted his face with red ochre;

When they said, “You're a Guy!"

He made no reply,
But knocked them all down with his poker.

There was an Old Man who said, “Hush!
I perceive a young bird in this bush!”

When they said, “Is it small?"

He replied, “Not at all!
It is four times as big as the bush!”

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

THE TURTLE AND FLAMINGO

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A LIVELY young turtle lived down by the banks
Of a dark rolling stream called the Jingo,
And one summer day, as he went out to play,
Fell in love with a charming flamingo-
An enormously genteel flamingo!
An expansively crimson flamingo!
A beautiful, bouncing flamingo!

Spake the turtle in tones like a delicate wheeze:
“To the water I've oft seen you in go,
And your form has impressed itself deep on my shell,
You perfectly modeled flamingo!
You tremendously 'Ar' flamingo!
You inex-pres-si-ble flamingo!

To be sure I'm a turtle, and you are a belle,
And my language is not your fine lingo;
But smile on me, tall one, and be my bright flame,
You miraculous, wondrous flamingo!
You blazingly beauteous flamingo!

Jabberwocky

1991

You turtle-absorbing flamingo!
You inflammably gorgeous flamingo!"
Then the proud bird blushed redder than ever before,
And that was quite un-nec-es-sa-ry,
And she stood on one leg and looked out of one eye,
The position of things for to vary, —
This aquatical, musing flamingo!
This dreamy, uncertain flamingo!
This embarrassing, harassing flamingo!
Then she cried to the quadruped, greatly amazed:
"Why your passion toward me do you hurtle?
I'm an ornithological wonder of grace,
And you're an illogical turtle, -
A waddling, impossible turtle!
A low-minded, grass-eating turtle!
A highly improbable turtle!”
Then the turtle sneaked off with his nose to the ground
And never more looked at the lasses;
And falling asleep, while indulging his grief,
Was gobbled up whole by Agassiz,-
The peripatetic Agassiz!
The turtle-dissecting Agassiz!
The illustrious, industrious Agassiz!
Go with me to Cambridge some cool, pleasant day,
And the skeleton lover I'll show you:
He's in a hard case, but he'll look in your face,
Pretending (the rogue!) he don't know you!
Oh, the deeply deceptive young turtle!
The double-faced, glassy-cased turtle!
The
green, but
a very mock-turtle!

James Thomas Fields (1816-1881]

JABBERWOCKY
'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.

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Did gyre

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll (1832–1898)

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THE GARDENER'S SONG

From "Sylvie and Bruno "

He thought he saw an Elephant,

That practised on a fife:
He looked again, and found it was

A letter from his wife.
“At length I realize," he said,

“The bitterness of life!"

The Gardener's Song

1993

He thought he saw a Buffalo

Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was

His Sister's Husband's Niece.
"Unless you leave this house," he said,

"I'll send for the Police!”

He thought he saw a Rattlesnake

That questioned him in Greek: He looked again, and found it was

The Middle of Next Week. "The one thing I regret,” he said,

“Is that it cannot speak!”

He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk

Descending from the 'bus:
He looked again, and found it was

A Hippopotamus.
"If this should stay to dine,” he said,

“There won't be much for us!"

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He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four

That stood beside his bed:
He looked again, and found it was

A Bear without a Head.
"Poor thing,” he said, “poor silly thing!

It's waiting to be fed!”

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He thought he saw an Albatross

That fluttered round the lamp: He looked again, and found it was

A Penny-Postage-Stamp. "You'd best be getting home,” he said:

“The nights are very damp!”

He thought he saw a Garden Door

That opened with a key:
He looked again, and found it was

A Double-Rule-of-Three:
“And all its mystery," he said,
“Is clear as day to me!”

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

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