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Father William

  • “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
  •     “And your hair has become very white;
  •   And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
  •     Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
  •   “In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
  •     “I feared it would injure the brain;
  •   But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
  •     Why, I do it again and again.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
  •     And have grown most uncommonly fat;
  •   Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
  •     Pray, what is the reason of that?”
  •   “In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
  •     “I kept all my limbs very supple
  •   By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —
  •     Allow me to sell you a couple.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
  •     For anything tougher than suet;
  •   Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —
  •     Pray, how did you manage to do it?”
  •   “In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
  •     And argued each case with my wife;
  •   And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
  •     Has lasted the rest of my life.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth; one would hardly suppose
  •     That your eye was as steady as ever;
  •   Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
  •     What made you so awfully clever?”
  •   “I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
  •     Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
  •   Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
  •     Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”

This hilarious bit of verse by Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland, is a parody of a pious Victorian poem by Robert Southey, titled “The Old Man’s Comforts, and How He Gained Them.” The Southey poem is available online and reading it will undoubtedly enhance one’s pleasure at Lewis Carroll’s slapstick parody of it.

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Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles L. Dodgson (1832–1898). Dodgson was a lecturer in mathematics and an avid photographer. He made up the beginning of the story that became Alice in Wonderland to amuse the three young daughters of a friend of his, Henry George Liddell, when he took the girls out boating one day. One of the girls, Alice Liddell, asked him afterward if he would write it down, and so Dodgson began to compose what has become one of the world’s great children’s stories. His other famous children’s masterpiece is Through the Looking-Glass. The illustration is by John Tenniel and is one of the illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

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  • “You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
  •     “And your hair has become very white;
  •   And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
  •     Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
  •   “In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
  •     “I feared it would injure the brain;
  •   But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
  •     Why, I do it again and again.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
  •     And have grown most uncommonly fat;
  •   Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
  •     Pray, what is the reason of that?”
  •   “In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
  •     “I kept all my limbs very supple
  •   By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —
  •     Allow me to sell you a couple.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
  •     For anything tougher than suet;
  •   Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —
  •     Pray, how did you manage to do it?”
  •   “In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
  •     And argued each case with my wife;
  •   And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
  •     Has lasted the rest of my life.”
  •   “You are old,” said the youth; one would hardly suppose
  •     That your eye was as steady as ever;
  •   Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
  •     What made you so awfully clever?”
  •   “I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
  •     Said his father; “don’t give yourself airs!
  •   Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
  •     Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs!”

This hilarious bit of verse by Lewis Carroll, from Alice in Wonderland, is a parody of a pious Victorian poem by Robert Southey, titled “The Old Man’s Comforts, and How He Gained Them.” The Southey poem is available online and reading it will undoubtedly enhance one’s pleasure at Lewis Carroll’s slapstick parody of it.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles L. Dodgson (1832–1898). Dodgson was a lecturer in mathematics and an avid photographer. He made up the beginning of the story that became Alice in Wonderland to amuse the three young daughters of a friend of his, Henry George Liddell, when he took the girls out boating one day. One of the girls, Alice Liddell, asked him afterward if he would write it down, and so Dodgson began to compose what has become one of the world’s great children’s stories. His other famous children’s masterpiece is Through the Looking-Glass. The illustration is by John Tenniel and is one of the illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

Sponsored
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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