THE MANLET Poetry/Poem by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
IN stature the Manlet was dwarfish–
No burly, big Blunderbore he;
And he wearily gazed on the crawfish
His Wifelet had dressed for his tea.
“Now reach me, sweet Atom, my gunlet,
And hurl the old shoelet for luck;
Let me hie to the bank of the runlet,
And shoot thee a Duck!”
She has reached him his minikin gunlet;
She has hurled the old shoelet for luck;
She is busily baking a bunlet,
To welcome him home with his Duck.
On he speeds, never wasting a wordlet,
Though thoughtlets cling, closely as wax,
To the spot where the beautiful birdlet
So quietly quacks.
Where the Lobsterlet lurks, and the Crablet
So slowly and sleepily crawls;
Where the Dolphin’s at home, and the Dablet
Pays long, ceremonious calls;
Where the Grublet is sought by the Froglet;
Where the Frog is pursued by the Duck;
Where the Ducklet is chased by the Doglet–
So runs the world’s luck!
He has loaded with bullet and powder;
His footfall is noiseless as air;
But the Voices grow louder and louder,
And bellow and bluster and blare.
They bristle before him and after,
They flutter above and below,
Shrill shriekings of lubberly laughter,
Weird wailings of woe!
They echo without him, within him;
They thrill through his whiskers and beard;
Like a teetotum seeming to spin him,
With sneers never hitherto sneered.
“Avengement,” they cry, “on our Foelet!
Let the Manikin weep for our wrongs!
Let us drench him, from toplet to toelet,
With Nursery Songs!
“He shall muse upon ‘Hey! Diddle! Diddle!’
On the Cow that surmounted the Moon;
He shall rave of the Cat and the Fiddle,
And the Dish that eloped with the Spoon;
And his soul shall be sad for the Spider,
When Miss Muffet was sipping her whey,
That so tenderly sat down beside her,
And scared her away!
“The music of Midsummer madness
Shall sting him with many a bite,
Till, in rapture of rollicking sadness,
He shall groan with a gloomy delight;
He shall swathe him, like mists of the morning,
In platitudes luscious and limp,
Such as deck, with a deathless adorning,
The Song of the Shrimp!
“When the Ducklet’s dark doom is decided,
We will trundle him home in a trice;
And the banquet, so plainly provided,
Shall round into rose-buds and rice;
In a blaze of pragmatic invention
He shall wrestle with Fate, and shall reign;
But he has not a friend fit to mention,
So hit him again!”
He has shot it, the delicate darling!
And the Voices have ceased from their strife;
Not a whisper of sneering or snarling,
As he carries it home to his wife;
Then, cheerily champing the bunlet
His spouse was so skilful to bake,
He hies him once more to the runlet
To fetch her the Drake!