Tuesday, June 23, 2009
by Lewis Carroll
WITH saddest music all day longShe soothed her secret sorrow:At night she sighed "I fear 'twas wrongSuch cheerful words to borrow.Dearest, a sweeter, sadder songI'll sing to thee to-morrow."
I thanked her, but I could not sayThat I was glad to hear it:I left the house at break of day,And did not venture near itTill time, I hoped, had worn awayHer grief, for nought could cheer it!
My dismal sister! Couldst thou knowThe wretched home thou keepest!Thy brother, drowned in daily woe,Is thankful when thou sleepest;For if I laugh, however low,When thou'rt awake, thou weepest!
I took my sister t'other day(Excuse the slang expression)To Sadler's Wells to see the playIn hopes the new impressionMight in her thoughts, from grave to gayEffect some slight digression.
I asked three gay young dogs from townTo join us in our folly,Whose mirth, I thought, might serve to drownMy sister's melancholy:The lively Jones, the sportive Brown,And Robinson the jolly.
The maid announced the meal in tonesThat I myself had taught her,Meant to allay my sister's moansLike oil on troubled water:I rushed to Jones, the lively Jones,And begged him to escort her.
Vainly he strove, with ready wit,To joke about the weather -To ventilate the last 'ON DIT' -To quote the price of leather -She groaned "Here I and Sorrow sit:Let us lament together!"
I urged "You're wasting time, you know:Delay will spoil the venison.""My heart is wasted with my woe!There is no rest - in Venice, onThe Bridge of Sighs!" she quoted lowFrom Byron and from Tennyson.
I need not tell of soup and fishIn solemn silence swallowed,The sobs that ushered in each dish,And its departure followed,Nor yet my suicidal wishTo BE the cheese I hollowed.
Some desperate attempts were madeTo start a conversation;"Madam," the sportive Brown essayed,"Which kind of recreation,Hunting or fishing, have you madeYour special occupation?"
Her lips curved downwards instantly,As if of india-rubber."Hounds IN FULL CRY I like," said she:(Oh how I longed to snub her!)"Of fish, a whale's the one for me,IT IS SO FULL OF BLUBBER!"
The night's performance was "King John.""It's dull," she wept, "and so-so!"Awhile I let her tears flow on,She said they soothed her woe so!At length the curtain rose upon'Bombastes Furioso.'
In vain we roared; in vain we triedTo rouse her into laughter:Her pensive glances wandered wideFrom orchestra to rafter -"TIER UPON TIER!" she said, and sighed;And silence followed after.