The Bellman's Speach

"Come, listen, people, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wherever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavour of Will-o′-the-wisp.

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a true Snark on who, we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o′clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
And it always looks grave at a pun.

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a true Snark on who, we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
Which it constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes—
A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, though common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums—" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a true Snark on who, we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

Published:

15 December, 2021