Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Fit the Fourth, Page 26, Panel 4 … boojum of solace
"For England expects — I forbear to proceed:
‘Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you’d best be unpacking the things that you need
To rig yourselves out for the fight. "
Huzzah! England expects the Bellman to insert his bell into his right eye. The Bellman promptly complies! Certain idle loafers might insinuate that he does so to ignore a signal ordering his withdrawal during the Battle of Copenhagen but the Bellman doesn’t give a fig for such talk. In fact, having lost the use of his right eye in Corsica, the addition of a large bell into the useless socket gives him a certain rakish, clochetic look which has proved quite popular with the ladies, in particular, the lovely Lady Emma Hamilton! Imagine her surprise when she discovered afterwards that the Bellman had bequeathed her to the British nation in a codicil of his will!
But her dismay was nothing compared to that of Lewis Carroll, the author of this very Snark Hunt! Imagine his surprise when he discovered that his amanuensis (and rather louche business manager) Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a maternal great-great-nephew of Admiral Skeffington Ludwidge, upon whose ship HMS Carcass a young midshipman named Horatio Nelson began his storied career … a career which included Nelson’s loss of an eye in Corsica … the disregarding of signals during the Battle of Copenhagen … and even the transferral of a Lady Hamilton to a grateful though perplexed nation.
Simple coincidence? I think not! I think what we have here is a Snark Hunt of staggeringly devious complexity, an insidious cabal hatched forth in the shadowed lair of an occluded Illuminati who will stop at nothing (cue evil laughter) … And so I say to you, gentle reader : steady on there, old chap, stiff upper lip and all that! Remember that whenever he (or she) is confronted by hopeless odds, the True Snark Hunter expects every man to do his duty!
Hip hip hooray! Rum and coke for all ratings on deck!
NB. Cocktails, a collection of D.A. Powell's poetry, has just been published by Luxbooks (scroll down to the next-to-last title). This new translation into German, including the entire English text en verso, is accompanied by cover & interior illustrations by yours truly.
D.A. Powell has a rare gift for pushing language towards its farthest limits without lapsing into academic gimmickry or sentimentality and I genuinely recommend his work … so much so that I must forcefully urge you to spend what little cash you have left in purchasing as many copies as possible of this rather unusual volume. Both Luxbooks and Amazon-Deutschland are offering the book — you could easily spend with twice the abandon! Throw caution to the winds this holiday season, like those Wall Street tycoons upon whose largesse we all depend! Io, Saturnalia!