Lewis Carroll

(27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898 / Cheshire)

Atalanta In Camden -Town


AY, 'twas here, on this spot,
In that summer of yore,
Atalanta did not
Vote my presence a bore,
Nor reply to my tenderest talk "She had
heard all that nonsense before."

She'd the brooch I had bought
And the necklace and sash on,
And her heart, as I thought,
Was alive to my passion;
And she'd done up her hair in the style that
the Empress had brought into fashion.

I had been to the play
With my pearl of a Peri -
But, for all I could say,
She declared she was weary,
That "the place was so crowded and hot, and
she couldn't abide that Dundreary."

Then I thought "Lucky boy!
'Tis for YOU that she whimpers!"
And I noted with joy
Those sensational simpers:
And I said "This is scrumptious!" - a
phrase I had learned from the Devonshire shrimpers.

And I vowed "'Twill be said
I'm a fortunate fellow,
When the breakfast is spread,
When the topers are mellow,
When the foam of the bride-cake is white,
and the fierce orange-blossoms are yellow!"

O that languishing yawn!
O those eloquent eyes!
I was drunk with the dawn
Of a splendid surmise -
I was stung by a look, I was slain by a tear,
by a tempest of sighs.

Then I whispered "I see
The sweet secret thou keepest.
And the yearning for ME
That thou wistfully weepest!
And the question is 'License or Banns?',
though undoubtedly Banns are the cheapest."

"Be my Hero," said I,
"And let ME be Leander!"
But I lost her reply -
Something ending with "gander" -
For the omnibus rattled so loud that no
mortal could quite understand her.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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  • Ian Fraser (2/26/2009 8:41:00 AM)

    This is a very unusual Lewis Carroll poem in that the element of fantasy appears to be almost completely absent. It's very tempting to speculate in fact whether the 'I' in the poem could be Dodgson himself. If it is then it is extremely interesting to note that he appears to be as equally able to satirize himself as he was the rest of his contemporaries. (Report) Reply

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