Phantasmagoria and Other Poems

Lewis Carroll
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Title: Phantasmagoria and Other Poems
Author: Lewis Carroll
Release Date: September, 1996 [EBook #651]
[This file was first
posted on September 17, 1996]
[Most recently updated: September 2,
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Transcribed from the 1911 Macmillan and Co. edition by David Price,
email [email protected]

CANTO I--The Trystyng
One winter night, at half-past nine,
Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,

I had come home, too late to dine,
And supper, with cigars and
Was waiting in the study.
There was a strangeness in the room,
And Something white and wavy

Was standing near me in the gloom -
_I_ took it for the
Left by that careless slavey.
But presently the Thing began
To shiver and to sneeze:
On which I
said "Come, come, my man!
That's a most inconsiderate plan.
noise there, if you please!"
"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."

I turned to look in some surprise,
And there, before my very eyes,

A little Ghost was standing!
He trembled when he caught my eye,
And got behind a chair.
came you here," I said, "and why?
I never saw a thing so shy.
out! Don't shiver there!"
He said "I'd gladly tell you how,
And also tell you why;
But" (here
he gave a little bow)
"You're in so bad a temper now,
You'd think it
all a lie.
"And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have

just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear
the dark."
"No plea," said I, "can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse

To grant the interview."
He said "A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you
meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain
my visit.
"Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as
With Coals and other lumber).
"This is a 'one-ghost' house, and you
When you arrived last summer,

May have remarked a Spectre who
Was doing all that Ghosts can
To welcome the new-comer.
"In Villas this is always done -
However cheaply rented:
though of course there's less of fun
When there is only room for one,

Ghosts have to be contented.
"That Spectre left you on the Third -
Since then you've not been
For, as he never sent us word,
'Twas quite by accident we
That any one was wanted.
"A Spectre has first choice, by right,
In filling up a vacancy;
Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite -
If all these fail them, they invite

The nicest Ghoul that they can see.
"The Spectres said the place was low,
And that you kept bad wine:

So, as a Phantom had to go,
And I was first, of course, you know,
couldn't well decline."

"No doubt," said I, "they settled who
Was fittest to be sent
Yet still
to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
Was no
great compliment!"
"I'm not so young, Sir," he replied,
"As you might think. The fact is,

In caverns by the water-side,
And other places that I've tried,
had a lot of practice:
"But I have never taken yet
A strict domestic part,
And in my flurry
I forget
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette
We have to know by
My sympathies were warming fast
Towards the little fellow:
was so utterly aghast
At having found a Man at last,
And looked so
scared and yellow.
"At least," I said, "I'm glad to find
A Ghost is not a DUMB thing!

But pray sit down: you'll feel inclined
(If, like myself, you have not
To take a snack of something:
"Though, certainly, you don't appear
A thing to offer FOOD to!

And then I shall be glad to hear -
If you will say them loud and clear -

The Rules that you allude to."
"Thanks! You shall hear them by and by.
This IS a piece of luck!"

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