January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll!

In honor of Lewis Carroll's birthday (a bit belatedly, as it is after midnight), here is the second half of his poem "The Walrus and The Carpenter." I love this poem for the poem itself, but also because of its presence in the Nickelodeon film version of Harriet the Spy. I watched that movie near daily for much of my childhood, and have it to thank for my meticulous journal-keeping (and, I suspect, talent for observation/ being nosy) since then. I always wanted my own Golly to recite this with. Which is a roundabout way of wishing Lewis Carroll a happy birthday as thanks for Alice and all the wonderful things he wrote. "The time has come, the walrus said..."

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.

"O 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.
-from "The Walrus and the Carpenter," 1872
(Artwork via)


  1. I always loved this poem. Happy Birthday Mr. Carroll!

  2. I love The Walrus and the Carpenter. Love, love, love. For the longest time, I thought it was ceiling wax, not sealing-wax, and I was very confused as to why a ceiling might need wax.Any time you want to randomly recite this together, I'm in.

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Carroll.