Saturday 7 December 2013

'Candle-ends and Toasted Cheese'

'Candle-ends and Toasted Cheese', an illustration by JVL, in Lewis Carroll's 
The Hunting of the Snark, Artists' Choice Editions, 2006.

The Text:

 There was one who was famed for the number of things
 He forgot when he entered the ship:
 His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
 And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
 With his name painted clearly on each:
 But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
 They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
 He had seven coats on when he came,
 With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was,
 He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
 Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
 To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
 But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
 He had different names from these:
 His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
 And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

 "His form in ungainly--his intellect small--"
 (So the Bellman would often remark)
 "But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
 Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare
 With an impudent wag of the head:
 And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
 "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
 And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
 He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
 No materials were to be had.


  1. He had four hot names and lost his 42 boxes. Could Carroll/Dodgson have alluded to Thomas Cranmer and his 42 articles?

    1. Hello 'goetzkluge'

      Yes indeed, oh wise one. Dodgson may well have been alluding to Cranmer. 42 articles.
      Thanks for writing.