Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: III. Fun for Little Folk
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832–1898)
 
From “Alice in Wonderland”

THE SUN was shining on the sea,
  Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
  The billows smooth and bright—
And this was odd, because it was        5
  The middle of the night.
 
The moon was shining sulkily,
  Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
  After the day was done—        10
“It ’s very rude of him,” she said,
  “To come and spoil the fun!”
 
The sea was wet as wet could be,
  The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because        15
  No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead—
  There were no birds to fly.
 
The Walrus and the Carpenter
  Were walking close at hand;        20
They wept like anything to see
  Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
  They said, “it would be grand!”
 
“If seven maids with seven mops        25
  Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
  “That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
  And shed a bitter tear.        30
 
“O Oysters come and walk with us!”
  The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
  Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,        35
  To give a hand to each.”
 
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
  But not a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
  And shook his heavy head—        40
Meaning to say he did not choose
  To leave the oyster-bed.
 
But four young Oysters hurried up,
  All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,        45
  Their shoes were clean and neat—
And this was odd, because, you know,
  They hadn’t any feet.
 
Four other Oysters followed them,
  And yet another four;        50
And thick and fast they came at last,
  And more, and more, and more—
All hopping through the frothy waves,
  And scrambling to the shore.
 
The Walrus and the Carpenter        55
  Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
  Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
  And waited in a row.        60
 
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
  “To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax
  Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—        65
  And whether pigs have wings.”
 
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
  “Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
  And all of us are fat!”        70
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
  They thanked him much for that.
 
“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
  “Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides        75
  Are very good indeed—
Now if you ’re ready, Oysters dear,
  We can begin to feed.”
 
“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
  Turning a little blue.        80
“After such kindness that would be
  A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said,
  “Do you admire the view?
 
“It was so kind of you to come!        85
  And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
  “Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf—
  I ’ve had to ask you twice!”        90
 
“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
  “To play them such a trick,
After we ’ve brought them out so far,
  And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but        95
  “The butter ’s spread too thick!”
 
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said;
  “I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
  Those of the largest size,        100
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
  Before his streaming eyes.
 
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
  “You ’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?”        105
  But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because
  They ’d eaten every one.
 
 
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