Rhyme-scheme of the Snark
- This is another thing that bugs me slightly. In most stanzas one of two rhyme-schemes is employed; either the first and third lines rhyme with each other, or there are internal rhymes in both the first and third lines. (The second and fourth lines always rhyme of course.) But there are a few exceptions, where there's an internal rhyme in either the first or third line, and no corresponding rhyme in the other:
Fit the 1st - He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Fit the 3rd - "If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark"
Fit the 3rd - "I skip forty years", said the Baker, in tears,
Fit the 4th - And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
Fit the 5th - And explained all the while in a popular style
Fit the 6th - Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
Fit the 6th - The jury all cheered, though the judge said he feared
There's a case for also including "The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair" in Fit the 4th, although in Carroll's time I suspect the word "crossed" would have been pronounced to rhyme with "endorsed", giving an internal rhyme in the first line.
Anyway, just for fun, I've rewritten all the above stanzas to conform with the regular rhyme-scheme, trying to change the sense as little as possible. Note that in all but the last two I've simply rewritten the offending line. In the penultimate one I've kept it but rewritten the first line instead (the previous stanza makes it clear that the Barrister is dreaming). In the final one I've made a small change to the final line as well. See what you think.
He would answer to "Hi!" or to cries much the same,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"
"My father and mother were honest, though poor "
"Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"Of a Snark after dark one can never be sure -
We have hardly a minute to waste!"
Said the Baker, in tears, "Forty years I shall skip,
"And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
To help you in hunting the Snark.
"It's excessively awkward to mention it now
As I think I've already remarked."
And the Baker replied, with a sigh, "I avow
I informed you the day we embarked.
So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not,
As he wrote with a pen in each hand,
And explained in a style he employed quite a lot,
Which the Beaver could well understand.
He stood, so he thought, in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.
"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
"And then to be fined forty pound."
The jury all cheered, though the judge, looking grave,
Said he thought it not legally sound.
- --- In email@example.com, "Keith" <keith@...> wrote:
>Yes, I admit I had to cheat there (I prefer stretching the diphthong out to two syllables, rather than adding an extra one). Of course, you're welcome to suggest an improvement...
> As a fellow comic verser, I liked the Limerick style snark precis. I only stumbled with the rhythm once...
> And a threatening railway-share.
> I can only make this scan by expanding railway to three sylables (rail-a-way) but that's very picky and not much of a detraction.