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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll


ALL in the golden afternoon
      Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
      By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
      Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour
      Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
      To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
      Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth
      Her edict "to begin it":
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
      "There will be nonsense in it!"
While Tertia interrupts the tale
      Not more than once a minute.

Anon, to sudden silence won,
      In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
      Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast—
      And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained
      The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
      To put the subject by,
"The rest next time—" "It is next time!"
      The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
      Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out—
      And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
      Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! A childish story take,
      And with a gentle hand,
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
      In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's wither'd wreath of flowers
      Plucked in a far off land.

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