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Phantasmagoria from Lewis Carroll

Canto VII — Sad Souvenaunce

What's this?" I pondered. "Have I slept?
Or can I have been drinking?"
But soon a gentler feeling crept
Upon me, and I sat and wept
An hour or so, like winking.

"No need for Bones to hurry so!"
I sobbed. "In fact, I doubt
If it was worth his while to go —
And who is Tibbs, I'd like to know,
To make such work about?

"If Tibbs is anything like me,
It's possible," I said,
"He won't be over-pleased to be
Dropped in upon at half-past three,
After he's snug in bed.

"And if Bones plagues him anyhow —
Squeaking and all the rest of it,

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Canto II — Hys Fyve Rules

"My First — but don't suppose," he said,
"I'm setting you a riddle —
Is — if your Victim be in bed,
Don't touch the curtains at his head,
But take them in the middle,

"And wave them slowly in and out,
While drawing them asunder;
And in a minute's time, no doubt,
He'll raise his head and look about
With eyes of wrath and wonder.

"And here you must on no pretence
Make the first observation.
Wait for the Victim to commence:
No Ghost of any common sense
Begins a conversation.

"If he should say 'How came you here?'
(The way that you began, Sir,)

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Canto III — Scarmoges

"And did you really walk," said I,
"On such a wretched night?
I always fancied Ghosts could fly —
If not exactly in the sky,
Yet at a fairish height."

"It's very well," said he, "for Kings
To soar above the earth:
But Phantoms often find that wings —
Like many other pleasant things —
Cost more than they are worth.

"Spectres of course are rich, and so
Can buy them from the Elves:
But we prefer to keep below —
They're stupid company, you know,
For any but themselves:

"For, though they claim to be exempt
From pride, they treat a Phantom

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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 wine,
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 carpet-broom
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.
Less noise there, if you please!"

"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."

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Canto VI — Dyscomfyture

As one who strives a hill to climb,
Who never climbed before:
Who finds it, in a little time,
Grow every moment less sublime,
And votes the thing a bore:

Yet, having once begun to try,
Dares not desert his quest,
But, climbing, ever keeps his eye
On one small hut against the sky
Wherein he hopes to rest:

Who climbs till nerve and force are spent,
With many a puff and pant:
Who still, as rises the ascent,
In language grows more violent,
Although in breath more scant:

Who, climbing, gains at length the place
That crowns the upward track.

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Canto IV — Hys Nouryture

"Oh, when I was a little Ghost,
A merry time had we!
Each seated on his favourite post,
We chumped and chawed the buttered toast
They gave us for our tea."

"That story is in print!" I cried.
"Don't say it's not, because
It's known as well as Bradshaw's Guide!"
(The Ghost uneasily replied
He hardly thought it was).

"It's not in Nursery Rhymes? And yet
I almost think it is —
'Three little Ghosteses' were set
'On posteses,' you know, and ate
Their 'buttered toasteses.'

"I have the book; so if you doubt it — "
I turned to search the shelf.

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Canto V — Byckerment

"Don't they consult the 'Victims,' though?"
I said. "They should, by rights,
Give them a chance — because, you know,
The tastes of people differ so,
Especially in Sprites."

The Phantom shook his head and smiled.
"Consult them? Not a bit!
'Twould be a job to drive one wild,
To satisfy one single child —
There'd be no end to it!"

"Of course you can't leave children free,"
Said I, "to pick and choose:
But, in the case of men like me,
I think 'Mine Host' might fairly be
Allowed to state his views."

He said "It really wouldn't pay —
Folk are so full of fancies.

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