The Banker's Fate
489 They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
490 They pursued it with forks and hope;
491 They threatened its life with a railway-share;
492 They charmed it with smiles and soap.
493 And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
494 It was matter for general remark,
495 Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
496 In his zeal to discover the Snark
497 But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
498 A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
499 And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
500 For he knew it was useless to fly.
501 He offered large discount—he offered a cheque
502 (Drawn “to bearer”) for seven-pounds-ten:
503 But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
504 And grabbed at the Banker again.
505 Without rest or pause—while those frumious jaws
506 Went savagely snapping around-
507 He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
508 Till fainting he fell to the ground.
509 The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
510 Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
511 And the Bellman remarked “It is just as I feared!”
512 And solemnly tolled on his bell.
513 He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
514 The least likeness to what he had been:
515 While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white-
516 A wonderful thing to be seen!
517 To the horror of all who were present that day.
518 He uprose in full evening dress,
519 And with senseless grimaces endeavoured to say
520 What his tongue could no longer express.
521 Down he sank in a chair—ran his hands through his hair—
522 And chanted in mimsiest tones
523 Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
525 “Leave him here to his fate—it is getting so late!”
526 The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
527 “We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
528 And we sha’nt catch a Snark before night!”
Illustration by Henry Holiday (cut by Joseph Swain) to the chapter The Banker's Fate in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (1876).