poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Renowned Victorian author Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832, in Daresbury, Cheshire, England. The son of a clergyman, Carroll was the third child born to a family of eleven children. From a very early age he entertained himself and his family by performing magic tricks and marionette shows, and by writing poetry for his homemade newspapers. In 1846 he entered Rugby School, and in 1854 he graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford. He was successful in his study of mathematics and writing, and remained at the college after graduation to teach. His mathematical writings include An Elementary Treatise on Determinants (1867), Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879), and Curiosa Mathematica (1888). While teaching, Carroll was ordained as a deacon; however, he never preached. He also began to pursue photography, often choosing children as the subject of his portraits. One of his favorite models was a young girl named Alice Liddell, the daughter of the Dean at Christ's Church, who later became the basis for Carroll's fictional character, Alice. He abandoned both photography and public speaking between 1880 and 1881, and focused on his writing.

Many of Carroll's philosophies were based on games. His interest in logic came purely from the playful nature of its principle rather than its uses as a tool. He primarily wrote comic fantasies and humorous verse that was often very childlike. Carroll published his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, followed by Through the Looking Glass in 1872. Alice's story began as a piece of extemporaneous whimsy meant to entertain three little girls on a boating trip in 1862. Both of these works were considered children's novels that were satirical in nature and in exemplification of Carroll's wit. Also famous is Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky," in which he created nonsensical words from word combinations. Carroll died in Guildford, Surrey, on January 14, 1898.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Further Nonsense Verse and Prose (1926)
Phantasmagoria and Other Poems (1869)
The Collected Verse of Lewis Carroll (1932)
The Complete Illustrated Works of Lewis Carroll (1982)
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll (1939)
The Humorous Verse of Lewis Carroll (1960)
The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits (1876)
Useful and Instructive Poetry (1954)

Prose

A Guide to the Mathematical Student (1864)
A Method of Taking Votes on More than Two Issues (1876)
A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to His Child-friends (1933)
A Syllabus of Plane Algebraical Geometry (1860)
A Tangled Tale (1885)
Alice's Adventures Under Ground (1886)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
An Elementary Treatise on Determinants (1867)
Curiosa Mathematica, Part I: A New Theory of Parallels (1888)
Curiosa Mathematica, Part II: Pillow-Problems (1893)
Diaries of Lewis Carroll (1953)
Diversions and Digressions (1961)
Doublets: A Word-Puzzle (1879)
Eight or Nine Wise Words about Letter-Writing (1890)
Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879)
Feeding the Mind (1907)
For the Train (1932)
Lewis Carroll, Photographer (1949)
Mathematical Recreations of Carroll (1958)
Rhyme? And Reason? (1883)
Suggestions as to the Best Method of Taking Votes (1874)
Supplement to "Euclid and His Modern Rivals" (1885)
Sylvie and Bruno (1889)
Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893)
Symbolic Logic, Part I: Elementary (1896)
Symbolic Logic, Parts I and II (1977)
Syzygies and Lanrick: A Word-Puzzle and a Game (1893)
The Annotated Alice: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass (1960)
The Blank Cheque: A Fable (1874)
The Dynamics of a Particle (1865)
The Fifth Book of Euclid Treated Algebraically (1868)
The Formulae of Plane Trigonometry (1861)
The Game of Logic (1886)
The Letters of Lewis Carroll, ed. Morton Cohen with the assistance of Roger Lancelyn Green (1979)
The Lewis Carroll Picture-Book (1899)
The New Belfry of Christ Church, Oxford (1872)
The New Method of Evaluation (1865)
The Nursery Alice (1889)
The Rectory Umbrella and Mischmasch (1932)
The Vision of the Three T's (1873)
Three Years in a Curatorship, by One Who Has Tried (1886)
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1872)

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Lewis Carroll, 1832 - 1898
The sun was shining on the sea, 
   Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make 
   The billows smooth and bright-- 
And this was odd, because it was
   The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily, 
   Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there 
   After the day was done-- 
"It's very rude of him," she said,
   "To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be, 
   The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud because 
   No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead-- 
   There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter 
   Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see 
   Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away," 
   They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops 
   Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said, 
   "That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
   And shed a bitter tear.

"0 Oysters, come and walk with us!" 
   The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, 
   Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four, 
   To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him, 
   But never a word he said;
The eldest Oyster winked his eye, 
   And shook his heavy head-- 
Meaning to say he did not choose 
   To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up, 
   All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, 
   Their shoes were clean and neat-- 
And this was odd, because, you know, 
   They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them, 
   And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last, 
   And more and more and more-- 
All hopping through the frothy waves, 
   And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
   Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
   Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood 
   And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said, 
   "To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
   Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot-- 
   And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried, 
   "Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath, 
   And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter. 
   They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said, 
   "Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
   Are very good indeed--
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear, 
   We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried, 
   Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be 
   A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said, 
   "Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come! 
   And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but 
   "Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf-- 
   I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said, 
   "To play them such a trick.
After we've brought them out so far, 
   And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but 
   "The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
   "I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out 
   Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief 
   Before his streaming eyes.

"0 Oysters," said the Carpenter, 
   "You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?" 
   But answer came there none-- 
And this was scarcely odd, because
   They'd eaten every one.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

Renowned Victorian author Lewis Carroll is known for his comic fantasies and humorous, childlike verse. 

by this poet

poem
How doth the little crocodile 
     Improve his shining tail, 
And pour the waters of the Nile 
     On every golden scale! 
  
How cheerfully he seems to grin, 
     How neatly spreads his claws, 
And welcomes little fishes in, 
     With gently smiling jaws!
poem
'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
poem

Little maidens, when you look
On this little story-book,
Reading with attentive eye
Its enticing history,
Never think that hours of play
Are your only HOLIDAY,
And that in a HOUSE of joy
Lessons serve but to annoy:
If in any HOUSE you find
Children of a gentle mind,