Lewis Carroll

(27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898 / Cheshire)

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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 a while 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!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Submitted: Sunday, May 13, 2001
Edited: Sunday, May 13, 2001

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  • Veteran Poet - 4,443 Points * Sunprincess * (6/17/2014 10:07:00 PM)

    .............still wondering how this poem is in the top 500 poems list....and how could a great writer pen this nonsense.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 697 Points Herbert Guitang (4/26/2014 4:29:00 AM)

    This is shocking and intense poem. It needs more understanding to get the message of the poet. Still Great (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Michelle Claus (4/17/2014 3:24:00 PM)

    Lewis Carroll's work still sways our thoughts and emotions, judging by the variety and quantity of comments. I've read this poem several times, and I still like it. I don't fully comprehend Jabberwocky, but neither do I think it is the Nonsense Poem that it is often referred to as. Carroll was a master riddler. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Adolf Hitler (4/18/2013 7:51:00 AM)

    why you be hatin on the reigh we did nothing to you... Already Reported Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Buddha Buddie (4/17/2013 2:05:00 PM)

    This poem is stupid, not funny, not creative, not anything! I hate it and I wish I had a giant dumpling so that I could throw it at this poem! I'm so mad at this poem I could suck down an Easter egg faster than a wombat eating slimy fat ugly worm! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Adolf Hitler (4/17/2013 7:47:00 AM)

    I used to tell this one to my jews: D the good old days... Already Reported Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Adolf Hitler (4/17/2013 7:44:00 AM)

    Used to tell this one to my jews: D Already Reported Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Jinny Kim (1/21/2013 4:07:00 PM)

    When I first read this poem... I was just so shocked at the intensity of it... Even though you might have a hard time understanding it, it's still so intense! And I had to do an analysis on this poem, and I understood everything so much better and it just hit me like a wave... And I was just so shocked at how awesome it is! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Chloe Clooless (6/24/2012 8:53:00 PM)

    i love this poem. when i was a child, my favorite teacher used to read this poem to me. this poem actually is what inspired me to write poetry (and my english teachers) . so, Bravo, Carroll! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Allison Helman (4/17/2012 9:22:00 AM)

    I had French teacher in high school who wrote this poem on the board and had us together translate it into standard English line by line. His point was that even though French might appear just as incomprehensible, there are always clues i.e. where is the noun in this sentence? Does brillig have a root you might recognize in English? etc.
    While not my favorite Carroll work, it can be inferred to be about vanquishing some monster and by writing it for children in a sort of jibberish suggesting our fears are unfounded; it is not much of a monster at all much like some big people can seem. Alice herself was called a monster in Wonderland and many children get called this at some point as well but, Alice was smart enough to know she is not and later in Through The Looking- Glass she is shaking then waking. Just a soft, sweet kitten. I guess it all depends upon your personal psychological milieu. Callooh! Callay! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Paul Brookes (4/17/2012 3:20:00 AM)

    Ahhhh back to childhood. Brilliant I still love it as much as the first time it was read to me. Just a funny poem then, now however far more reaching. I thank Mr Straw for his insights and he has given me food for thought. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Kevin Straw (4/17/2011 11:56:00 AM)

    I did not say 'brillig' meant brilliant, I said that it was like brilliant - Carroll takes his meaning from verbal similarities in order to create a synthetic word that has no precise meaning. The fun of this poem is that tantalisingly it almost makes sense. If someone from Chaucer's time spoke to us (given that we did not know middle English) we would have the same feeling of understanding and not understanding. If people would concentrate on the poem and not try to score points off others, this site would be both more civilised and more edifying. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 381 Points Rune (5/9/2010 2:47:00 PM)

    Brillig doesn't mean brilliant, I don't know where some of you are getting your ideas.
    If you've read the novel the poem comes from, you'd have read this line:
    ''Brillig' means four o'clock in the afternoon - the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.'
    If anything, this poem is a wonderful example of using the sound and feel of words to set a tone or an atmosphere.
    Carroll was exceptionally good at inventing words that seem to have an innate meaning, a good number of his words have actually made their ways into dictionaries and everyday language ('chortle' is a good example) . (Report) Reply

Read all 41 comments »

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