To Do

To Do

523. Memorize “Jabberwocky”

My Story

Updated May 4, 2009

In ninth grade, I had the weirdest English teacher ever. She really liked Jabberwocky. She read it out loud to us multiple times, then made us all stand up and ‘dance’ to it while she read it again. This is the stuff of horror movies when you’re 15.

Teenage trauma aside, I like Jabberwocky too, along with all of Alice’s other adventures down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass. I suppose that since half of it is composed of non-existent words, it’s not a terribly useful poem to memorize, but you never know when it will win you the next pie piece in Trivial Pursuit or the Daily Double on Jeopardy!.

JABBERWOCKY
by
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

`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 awhile 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, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O 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.

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