Lewis Carroll

Here you will find the Long Poem White Knight's Song, The of poet Lewis Carroll

White Knight's Song, The

"Haddock's Eyes" or "The Aged Aged Man" or
 "Ways and Means" or "A-Sitting On A Gate"

 I'll tell thee everything I can;
 There's little to relate.
 I saw an aged, aged man,
 A-sitting on a gate.
 "Who are you, aged man?" I said.
 "And how is it you live?"
 And his answer trickled through my head
 Like water through a sieve.

 He said "I look for butterflies
 That sleep among the wheat;
 I make them into mutton-pies,
 And sell them in the street.
 I sell them unto men," he said,
 "Who sail on stormy seas;
 And that's the way I get my bread--
 A trifle, if you please."

 But I was thinking of a plan
 To dye one's whiskers green,
 And always use so large a fan
 That it could not be seen.
 So, having no reply to give
 To what the old man said,
 I cried, "Come, tell me how you live!"
 And thumped him on the head.

 His accents mild took up the tale;
 He said, "I go my ways,
 And when I find a mountain-rill,
 I set it in a blaze.
 And thence they make a stuff they call
 Rowland's Macassar Oil--
 Yet twopence-halfpenny is all
 They give me for my toil."

 But I was thinking of a way
 To feed oneself on batter,
 And so go on from day to day
 Getting a little fatter.
 I shook him well from side to side,
 Until his face was blue;
 "Come, tell me how you live," I cried
 "And what it is you do!"

 He said, "I hunt for haddocks'eyes
 Among the heather bright,
 And work them into waistcoat-buttons
 In the silent night.
 And these I do not sell for gold
 Or coin of silvery shine,
 But for a copper halfpenny,
 And that will purchase nine.

 "I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
 Or set limed twigs for crabs;
 I sometimes search the grassy knolls
 For wheels of hansom-cabs.
 And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
 "By which I get my wealth--
 And very gladly will I drink
 Your Honor's noble health."

 I heard him then, for I had just
 Completed my design
 To keep the Menai bridge from rust
 By boiling it in wine.
 I thanked him much for telling me
 The way he got his wealth,
 But chiefly for his wish that he
 Might drink my noble health.

 And now, if e'er by chance I put
 My fingers into glue,
 Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
 Into a left-hand shoe,
 Or if I drop upon my toe
 A very heavy weight,
 I weep, for it reminds me so
 Of that old man I used to know--
 Whose look was mild, whose speech was slow,
 Whose hair was whiter than the snow,
 Whose face was very like a crow
 With eyes, like cinders, all aglow,
 Who seemed distracted with his woe,
 Who rocked his body to and fro,
 And muttered mumblingly and low,
 As if his mouth were full of dough,
 Who snorted like a buffalo--
 That summer evening long ago
 A-sitting on a gate.