Thursday, March 24, 2005

Epilogue to Looking Glass

Epilogue to Looking Glass

    A BOAT, beneath a sunny sky
    Lingering onward dreamily
    In an evening of July --

    Children three that nestle near,
    Eager eye and willing ear
    Pleased a simple tale to hear --

    Long has paled that sunny sky:
    Echoes fade and memories die:
    Autumn frosts have slain July.

    Still she haunts me, phantomwise
    Alice moving under skies
    Never seen by waking eyes.

    Children yet, the tale to hear,
    Eager eye and willing ear,
    Lovingly shall nestle near.

    In a Wonderland they lie,
    Dreaming as the days go by,
    Dreaming as the summers die:

    Ever drifting down the stream --
    Lingering in the golden gleam --
    Life what is it but a dream?
    Lewis Carroll (1832- 1898)


Written by of the English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, the good Reverend Dodgson had a friend, a young girl name Alice Liddell, for whom he wrote the stories.

Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852-1934) was the middle of three daughters of Dean Liddell, Dean of Christ Church in Oxford and was a distant relative of Queen Elizabeth II. The easy and light rhyme has an added twist, it is an acrostic where the initial letters of each line spell the twenty-one letters of Alice Pleasance Liddell in the twenty-one lines of the epilogue

You may be familiar with Carroll's well-known and entertaining caricatures of poems that were very popular during the Victorian era. "How doth the little crocodile..." as a clever parody of Isaac Watts' old childrens' rhyme "How doth the busy little bee...". This poem serves as the epilogue to Through the Looking Glass, in which the author speaks in the first person. "Life," he concludes, "what is it but a dream?". It is a looking back to the summer day, long, long gone of the boat ride years before when Dodgson first told the Alice in Wonderland story to the Liddell sisters.

As for Alice, she eventually married Reginald Hargreaves and sometimes toured to speak in celebration Lewis Carroll. Charles Dodsen died on January 14th, 1898 of a severe bronchial infection, thought to be worsened by the new asbestos fires he had had installed in his rooms to replace the hazardous coal fires.

Sources:

Alice Liddell - the original Alice
Accessed August 22, 2003.

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Untitled
Accessed August 22, 2003.

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