Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Court scene from The Hunting of the Snark

The Court scene from The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, an illustration by JVL, 
Artists' Choice Editions, 2006, page 41.

This is an episode in Fit the Sixth - 'The Barrister's Dream'. Here is part of it:

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
 Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
 Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
 On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
 That the sty was deserted when found:
 And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
 In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
 And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
 And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
 What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
 (Long before the indictment was read),
 And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
 One word that the others had said.

"You must know ---" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed "Fudge!"
 That statute is obsolete quite!
 Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
 On an ancient manorial right.

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