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Poetic Mystery
Posted by: Miching mallecho (
Date: October 30, 2001 10:22PM

I have found the following poem a vex to my understanding for some time.
I have some ideas towards its truth,
but I would appreciate your insights about this "uncommon nonsense."

As I was sitting on the hearth
(And O, but a hog is fat!)
A man came hurrying up the path,
(And what care I for that?)

When he came the house unto,
His breath both quick and short he drew.

When he came before the door,
His face grew paler than before.

When he turned the handle round,
The man fell fainting to the ground.

When he crossed the lofty hall,
once and again I heard him fall.

When he came up to the turret stair,
He shrieked and tore his raven hair.

When he came my chamber in,
(And O, but a hog is fat!)
I ran him through with a golden pin,
(And what I care for that?)

Re: Poetic Mystery
Posted by: Miching mallecho (
Date: October 30, 2001 10:24PM

Lewis Carroll is the author.
"As it fell upon a day" the title.

Re: Poetic Mystery
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: October 31, 2001 12:20PM

This other verse by Dodgson should help to enlighten you:

In winter, when the fields are white,
I sing this song for your delight.

In spring, when woods are getting green,
I'll try and tell you what I mean:

In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you'll understand the song:

Autumn, when the leaves are brown,
Take pen and ink, and write it down.

I sent a message to the fish:
told them "This is what I wish.

Little fishes of the sea,
They sent an answer back to me.

Little fishes' answer was
"We cannot do it, Sir, because-"

I sent to them again to say
It will be better to obey.

Fishes answered, with a grin,
Why, what a temper you are in!

Told them once, I told them twice:
would not listen to advice.

Took a kettle large and new,
Fit for the deed I had to do.

Heart went hop, my heart went thump:
Filled the kettle at the pump.

Some one came to me and said
The little fishes are in bed.

Said to him, I said it plain,
Then you must wake them up again.

Said it very loud and clear:
went and shouted in his ear.

But he was very stiff and proud:
Aaid, "You needn't shout so loud!

íhe was very proud and stiff:
Said "I'd go and wake them, if-

Took a corkscrew from the shelf:
Went to wake them up myself.

When I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.

When I found the door was shut,
I tried to turn the handle, but-

Humpty Dumpty said,
Posted by: Miching mallecho (
Date: November 01, 2001 01:13AM

"The piece I'm going to repeat was written entirely for your amusement."

It seems so in this case also.

Re: Humpty Dumpty said,
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: November 01, 2001 11:23AM

Well, I may have spoken too soon. I thought I had remembered
this piece being yet another parody by Carroll, but after I
had pushed the 'post' button on the Humpty rhyme (Longfellow's
Excelsior), I went looking for it, but then could not
find it!

It still reads like a parody to me, so I will chase around some
more. "And O, but a hog is fat" certainly smacks of an anagram,
but I saw no quick solution to that either.

Re: Humpty Dumpty said,
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: November 01, 2001 04:33PM

Ok, here are some parody candidates.

1. An Ode by Richard Barnfield - right here on eMule
[] />

2. Shakespeare
[] />

3. Lays of Sorrow - also Lewis Carroll (likely a duplicate
or a take off on those words from Tennyson's In Memoriam?)
[] />

Re: Humpty Dumpty said,
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: November 01, 2001 06:04PM

Oh, and before Pam jumps in here - yes, that does prove
Barnfield was Shakespeare.

Re: Humpty Dumpty said,
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: November 01, 2001 11:21PM

"Ruthless bears, they will not cheer thee;"

What a great line!


Re: Poetic Mystery
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: April 15, 2005 12:59PM

In case Miching mallecho should ever return to this phorum, let me also include the following as a possible source for Lewis Carroll's ditty:

[] />
That is, 'As It Fell Upon A Day' could be from Thomas Campion's 'It Fell On A Summer's Day', here easier to read:

It fell on a summer's day
While sweet Bessie sleeping lay,
In her bower, on her bed,
With curtains shadowed,
Jamie came, she him spies
Opening half her heavy eyes.

Jamie stole in through the door,
She lay slumbering as before,
Softly to her he drew near,
She heard him, yet would not hear,
Bessie vow'd not to speak
He resolv'd that dumpe* to break.

First a soft kiss he doth take,
She lay still and would not wake,
Then his hands learn'd to woo,
She dreamt not what he would do,
But still slept, while he smil'd
To see love by sleep beguiled.

Jamie then began to play,
Bessie as one dead did lay,
Gladly still through this sleight,
Deceiv'd in her own deceit,
And since this trance begun,
She sleeps every afternoon.

No, I can't find the (And O, but a hog is fat!) thingie anagrammed in there, but even so ...

Re: Poetic Mystery
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 18, 2005 01:22PM

"And O, but a hog is fat" sounds like a RIDDLE to me.

WHAT IS IT that hurries up the path drawing quick-short breaths, comes into the house, faints to the ground, tears its raven hair, etc. ... and it run through with a golden pin?

I suspect that the golden pin is an important clue.

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