Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jabberwocky, from through the looking glass read by

in case of video failure click here

 Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)

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.

Alright - everything past this point refers to a version that has been removed - the current one is apparently read by Benedict Cumberbatch - it's nice and smooth unlike some versions which seem overly gutteral to me.

What can I say?  This is a beloved poem, and I've been biding my time for a whole year because last year somebody else pipped me to the post - but not with the dulcet tones of (someone imitating) Charles himself reading the poem (wrong - part of me is pleased because a couple of words I'd have pronounced differently - but part is annoyed - and embarrassed - but then it's a good lesson to remember that even when it doesn't really seem to matter - and there are no commercial interests involved - you should always check your facts on the internet) .  Anyway -Now there can be plenty of arguments about pronunciation!

Not sure what makes this poem so beloved, but  was so absolutely besotted had to take said poem and turn it on its head. Elegy for Jabber

A..J. Ponder - author page


  1. I don't know where you got that time-travelling video camera and sound recording unit, but you're doing great work with it! I've always wanted to hear whether Chaucer sounded more comprehensible in the original - and a video of the Beowulf poet would be pretty nifty too!

  2. Great stuff! The poem is always a delight, but to actually hear it in Lewis Caroll's voice--it seems as though it must have been done with smoke and mirrors by some master magician--how marvellous! Thank you.

  3. Like Tim and Melissa, I am delighted by the recording! What a sullen ponderous reading! One of my favourites - I remember my mum reading it to me. Thanks so much for posting!

  4. Fantastic, Alicia--what is a mere posting of the text compared to that?! :)

  5. Cheers guys. And Tim, I'll have a word to a couple of my characters - they're always willing to have a peek into the past to see what they can find.

  6. Hey AJ - these digital tricks are fun and creepy at the same time. The reader, some upstart called Justin Brett, has a lovely readerish voice but mispronounces the fabulous word 'gyre' - it should be a soft 'g' - and 'frumious' - he adds an 'n'. I have to say, though, that until this moment I thought it was 'borogroves' like a grove of trees... how to change it in my head now!

  7. Damn Damn Damn.
    Will have to check the other ones too - I just assumed recordings of authors back then (not so terribly long ago) weren't that difficult -- still went back for a better one and didn't find it.

  8. Video's gone - some sort of copyright problem :-(