Upon the Lonely Moor

Upon the Lonely Moor - by Lewis Carroll.

I met an aged, aged man
Upon the lonely moor:
I knew I was a gentleman,
And he was but a boor.

So I stopped and roughly questioned him,
"Come tell me how you live!"
But his words impressed my ear no more
Than if it was a sieve.


He said: "I look for soap-bubbles,
That lie among the wheat,
And bake them into mutton pies,
And sell them in the street.

"I sell them unto men", he said,
"Who sail on stormy seas;
And that's the way I get my bread -
A trifle, if you please."

But I was thinking of a way
To multiply by ten,
And always, in the answer, get
The question back again.

I did not hear a word he said,
But kicked that old man calm,
And said: "Come, tell me how you live!"
And pinched him in the arm.

His accents mild took up the tale:
He said: I go my ways,
And when I find a mountain-rill,
I set it in a blaze.

And thence they make a stuff they call
Rowland's Macassar oil;
But fourpence-halfpenny is all
They give me for my toil."

But I was thinking of a plan
To paint one's garters green,
So much the colour of the grass
That they could ne'er be seen.

I gave his ear a sudden box,
And questioned him again,
And tweaked his grey and reverend locks,
And put him into pain

He said: "I hunt for haddocks's eyes
Among the heather bright,
And work them into waistcoat-buttons
In the silent night."

"And these I do not sell for gold,
Or coin of silver-mine,
But for a copper-halfpenny,
And that will purchase nine."

"I sometimes dig for buttered rolls,
Or set limed twigs for crabs;
I sometimes search the flowery knolls
For wheels of hansom cabs."

"And that's the way" (he gave a wink)
"I get my living here,
And very gladly will I drink
Your honour's health in beer."

I heard him then, for I had just
Completed my design
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.

I duly thanked him, ere I went,
For all his stories queer,
But chiefly for his kind intent
To drink my health in beer.

And now if e'er by chance I put
My fingers into glue,
Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot
Into a left hand shoe;

Or if a statement I aver
Of which I am not sure,
I think of that strange wanderer
Upon the lonely moor.