Jabberwocky

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Jabberwocky is a nonsense poem which appears in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, and what Alice Found there (often referred to as Alice through the Looking-Glass).

In the novel, Alice finds the poem in a book but can only read it by holding the page up to a mirror. The character Humpty Dumpty explains the meaning of some words in the first stanza while Lewis Carroll enlarged the list of definitions in his later writings. While many of the words are either made up or are portmanteaux (two words combined together to make a new word[1]) the structure of the poem is consistent with classical English poetry and has become popular throughout the English-speaking world. It has also been translated into many other languages, including Chinese, Klingon, American sign language and Esperanto.

Jabberwocky
'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 hast 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.


Notes & References

  1. e.g. Chortle - Defined by Humpty Dumpty as a combination of "chuckle" and "snort"
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