December 30, 2010

Birth of Charles E. Carryl

Charles Edward Carryl was born in New York on December 30, 1841. Though he earned his living as a businessman and working on Wall Street, he also delved into children's literature, publishing short stories in children's magazines like St. Nicholas. His 1884 book Davy and the Goblin; or, What Followed Reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" earned him enough popular esteem that he was called the American Lewis Carroll (the fact that their names were pronounced the same way was only coincidence). His poem, "The Walloping Window Blind," may or not reach the same achievement as "Jabberwocky" (you be the judge):

A capital ship for an ocean trip
Was the Walloping Window Blind.
No gale that blew dismayed her crew
Or troubled the captain's mind.

The man at the wheel was taught to feel
Contempt for the wildest blow.
And it often appeared when the weather had cleared
That he'd been in his bunk below.

The boatswain's mate was very sedate,
Yet fond of amusement too;
And he played hopscotch with the starboard watch
While the captain tickled the crew.

And the gunner we had was apparently mad
For he stood on the cannon's tail,
And fired salutes in the captain's boots
In the teeth of a booming gale.

The captain sat in a commodore's hat
And dined in a royal way
On toasted pigs and pickles and figs
And gummery bread each day.

But the rest of us ate from an odious plate
For the food that was given the crew
Was a number of tons of hot cross buns
Chopped up with sugar and glue.

We all felt ill as mariners will
On a diet that's cheap and rude,
And the poop deck shook when we dipped the cook
In a tub of his gluesome food.

Then nautical pride we laid aside,
And we cast the vessel ashore
On the Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles
And the Anagzanders roar.

Composed of sand was that favored land
And trimmed in cinnamon straws;
And pink and blue was the pleasing hue
Of the Tickletoeteasers claws.

We climbed to the edge of a sandy ledge
And soared with the whistling bee,
And we only stopped at four o'clock
For a pot of cinnamon tea.

From dawn to dark, on rubagub bark
We fed, till we all had grown
Uncommonly thin. Then a boat blew in
On a wind from the torriby zone.

She was stubby and square, but we didn't much care,
And we cheerily put to sea.
We plotted a course for the Land of Blue Horse,
Due west 'cross the Peppermint Sea.

Perhaps appropriate for a man who wrote for children, Carryl's own son grew up to be a writer as well. Guy Wetmore Carryl did not delve in fantasy the way his father did, though he did write humor tales and poetry.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great info! It really helped for my L.A. report on Charles E Carryl!


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