Carroll’s “’Tis the Voice of the Lobster”

Carroll wrote the second stanza of the nonsense poem in 1886 for the first theatrical adaptation of Alice

’Tis the voice of the Lobster, I heard him declare
“You have baked me too brown: I must sugar my hair.”
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt & his buttons, & turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
But, when the tide rises and Sharks are around,
His voice has a timid & tremulous sound.

I passed by his garden, & marked with one eye
How the Owl & the Panther were sharing a pie:
The Panther took pie-crust, & gravy, & meat,
While the Owl got the dish as his share of the treat.
When the plate pie was divided all finished, the Owl , as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
While the Panther received knife & fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet by eating the Owl.

Lewis Carroll.
Oct. 31. 1886

Lewis Carroll (1832—1898)
“‘Tis the Voice of the Lobster”
Manuscript poem, signed and dated 31 October 1886
Alfred C. Berol Collection, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2015.