While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks
More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
Would have taught it in seventy years.
They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
(For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said “This amply repays all the wearisome days
We have spent on the billowy ocean!”
we conjecture that in this melodramatic passage of verse (redolent of
Tennyson’s more sentimental confections) the poet Lewis Carroll is
performing some sort of prosodic sleight-of-hand meant to encapsulate
into a very nutshell, as it were, the entire gamut of stormy passions
and turgid pleasures which we lesser folk call Married Life?
fool-suckling and small-beer-chronicling of married life was unknown to
Carroll personally. However his friend C.L. Dodgson seems to have known
something about the Vast Mystery of Connubial and Familial Bliss in a
second-hand sort of manner and probably let Carroll in on the joke, so
The true-life confessions of the Beaver are spicy stuff
indeed, by Victorian standards! Her bitter observation that looks are
always more eloquent even than tears is a clear reference to the Eternal
Dilemma of the weeping, middle-aged woman confronting the illicitly
toothsome paramour of her caddishly retro-adolescent-spouse.
The Bellman’s fleeting emasculation is a proto-Freudian dig (or even a snigger, I’m not quite sure) at thing-um-a-jig and perhaps even what-you-may-call-um,
pretty strong stuff indeed for a commoner’s garden variety Snark Hunt
and better left to the plain-brown-wrapper crowd who frequent the
less-reputable purlieus of English verse!
There’s also some
versical bits and pieces hinting at the Disconsolation of Books, the
Inevitable Patching It Up for the Sake of the Kids and even a bit of
emotional doubletalk on the Bellman’s part, solely for the purposes of
smoothing things over for his pal the Butcher, who remains conveniently
silent throughout this whole cringe-inducing, Mills & Boon
All in all, it’s a pretty sordid low point in this Snark
and perhaps even in this artist’s ongoing commentary upon the same.
Sure, I’ve dressed it all up with a nice picture and some fancy
music-hall-type crosstalk of a pseudo-intellectual bent but deep
underneath it all, it’s all really quite shallow. Wearisome days,