Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark

4. Fit the fourth: THE HUNTING

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
     "If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
     With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
     If you never were met with again--
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
     You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now--
     As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
     "I informed you the day we embarked.

"You may charge me with murder--or want of sense--
     (We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretense
     Was never among my crimes!

"I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--
     I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
     That English is what you speak!"

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
     Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
     More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
     "You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
     'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
     To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
     To charm it with smiles and soap!

"For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
     Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
     Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

"For England expects--I forbear to proceed:
     'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need
     To rig yourselves out for the fight."

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