Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Some Lewis Carroll and Mouse Tales

Emblematic poetry, also known as shape poetry and pattern poetry, was a popular Victorian literary device whereby poems were set out in shapes. One of the best known is Lewis Carroll’s The Mouse’s Tale, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Alice met the mouse when she was floating in a pool of her own tears, having been shrunken in size. 

Although the mouse does not talk to her at first, eventually he agrees to tell her his story . . . 

`You promised to tell me your history, you know,' said Alice, `and why it is you hate--C and D,' she added in a whisper, half afraid that it would be offended again.  
`Mine is a long and a sad tale!' said the Mouse, turning to Alice, and sighing.  
`It IS a long tail, certainly,' said Alice, looking down with wonder at the Mouse's tail' `but why do you call it sad?' And she kept on puzzling about it while the Mouse was speaking, so that her idea of the tale was something like this:--

For those who may 
have difficulty 
reading the 
version of the same
words and sentences . . .

“Fury said to a mouse, that he met in the house, ‘Let us both go to law: I will prosecute you. -
Come, I’ll take no denial: We must have the trial; For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.’
Said the mouse to the cur, ‘Such a trial, dear sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath.’
‘I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,’ said cunning old Fury: ‘I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.’

The mouse storms off after he realises that Alice has been distracted and not listening. Alice feels down and says to the other animals gathered, mostly birds, that she wishes that Dinah was with her. They ask who Dinah is. 

Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet: `Dinah's our cat. And she's such a capital one for catching mice you can't think! And oh, I wish you could see her after the birds! Why, she'll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!' 

Those animals then left as well.

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