It is by far the most famous and most respected poem written by Lewis Carroll. It doesn’t really seems to make sense, or does it? Jabberwocky, written by this English writer, is older than the publication date of the book that included this poem (Through the Looking-Glass, 1871).

About Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky was the creation of Lewis Carroll (full name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). This writer is well-known for his books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking-Glass.

The poem Jabberwocky was published in this book. The first stanza, however, is older. It was penned down by Carroll around 1855 and was included in his periodical “Mischmasch.” Het wrote this periodical for his family.

One notices, that Carroll was very good at playing with words. He defied logic and made readers able to step into a fantasy world. His work was written for children, but as time went by also adults learned to appreciate his work.

The poem is considered as Literary Nonsense. It isn’t all nonsense. When reading this poem, you cannot help to think about another milestone in English literature: the poem of Beowulf. The reason for this to assume is very simple: there is a monster and it needs to be conquered.

This poem is not your average poem. No, this is outstanding poetry! Nowadays, many poets try to do the same: juggle with words. If you haven’t read this poem before and you are such a word juggler: reading this can be very inspiring!




‘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.

— Lewis Carroll



Image source: John Tenniel’s illustration of Jabberwocky.



This article appeared first on the website The Ministry of Poetic Affairs.