Care and Hope

Fit the fourth (from The Hunting of the Snark)

THE HUNTING

 

229    The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.

230        "If only you'd spoken before!

231    It's excessively awkward to mention it now,

232        With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

 

233    "We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,

234        If you never were met with again--

235    But surely, my man, when the voyage began,

236        You might have suggested it then?

 

237    "It's excessively awkward to mention it now--

238        As I think I've already remarked."

239    And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,

240        "I informed you the day we embarked.

 

241    "You may charge me with murder--or want of sense--

242        (We are all of us weak at times):

243    But the slightest approach to a false pretence

244        Was never among my crimes!

 

245    "I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--

246        I said it in German and Greek:

247    But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)

248        That English is what you speak!"

 

249    "'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face

250        Had grown longer at every word:

251    "But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,

252        More debate would be simply absurd.

 

253    "The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)

254        "You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.

255    But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!

256        'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

 

257    "To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;

258        To pursue it with forks and hope;

259    To threaten its life with a railway-share;

260        To charm it with smiles and soap!

 

261    "For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't

262        Be caught in a commonplace way.

263    Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:

264        Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

 

265    "For England expects--I forbear to proceed:

266        'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:

267    And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need

268        To rig yourselves out for the fight."

 

269    Then the Banker endorsed a blank cheque (which he crossed),

270        And changed his loose silver for notes.

271    The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair,

272        And shook the dust out of his coats.

 

273    The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade--

274        Each working the grindstone in turn:

275    But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed

276        No interest in the concern:

 

277    Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,

278        And vainly proceeded to cite

279    A number of cases, in which making laces

280        Had been proved an infringement of right.

 

281    The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned

282        A novel arrangement of bows:

283    While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand

284        Was chalking the tip of his nose.

 

285    But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,

286        With yellow kid gloves and a ruff--

287    Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,

288        Which the Bellman declared was all "stuff."

 

289    "Introduce me, now there's a good fellow," he said,

290        "If we happen to meet it together!"

291    And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head,

292        Said "That must depend on the weather."

 

293    The Beaver went simply galumphing about,

294        At seeing the Butcher so shy:

295    And even the Baker, though stupid and stout,

296        Made an effort to wink with one eye.

 

297    "Be a man!" said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard

298        The Butcher beginning to sob.

299    "Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,

300        We shall need all our strength for the job!"

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Taken on January 23, 2011