This blog was set up just as a collection of tweets. It was hibernating for a while since September 2021.

That said, let’s turn to the Snark and its appearance as Boojum. Most Snarks just are Snarks:

    “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!”)

    “Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
        The five unmistakable marks [Audio]
    By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
        The warranted genuine Snarks.

    Let us take them in order.

  1.     “The first is the taste,
            Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
        Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
            With a flavour of Will-o’-the-wisp.
  2.     “Its habit of getting up late you’ll agree
            That it carries too far, when I say
        That it frequently breakfasts at five-o’clock tea,
            And dines on the following day.
  3.     “The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
            Should you happen to venture on one,
        It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
            And it always looks grave at a pun.
  4.     “The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
            Which it constantly carries about,
        And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes –
            A sentiment open to doubt.
  5.     “The fifth is ambition.

          It next will be right
              To describe each particular batch:
      those that have feathers, and bite,
      And those that have whiskers, and scratch.

          “For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
              Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
          Some are Boojums –” The Bellman broke of in alarm,
              For the Baker had fainted away.

      Today, political debates too often aren’t common Snark anymore, but Boojum.

          They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
              Not a button, or feather, or mark,
          By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
              Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

          In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
              In the midst of his laughter and glee,
          He had softly and suddenly vanished away—
              For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

      2019-02-26, updated: 2022-10-18

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner