Lewis Carroll: The Hunting of the Snark

3. Fit the Third: THE BAKER'S TALE

They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
     They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
     They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
     His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
     And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
     Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe
     In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
     "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
     We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
     "And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
     To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
     Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
     As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
     " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
     And it's handy for striking a light.

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
     You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
     You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
     In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
     That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

" 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
     If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
     And never be met with again!'

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