Speak Roughly to Your Little Boy

Original Text: 
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1866): 84-85. [First American edition.] Brabant Carroll Collection C37 A44 1866 Fisher Rare Book Library.
And with that she began nursing her child again, singing a sort of lullaby to it as she did so, and giving it a vio­ lent shake at the end of every line: -- --
2And beat him when he sneezes;
3He only does it to annoy,
4Because he knows it teases."
          (in which the cook and the baby joined): -- --
          "Wow! wow! wow!"
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down, and the poor little thing howled so, that Alice could hardly hear the words: -- --
5"I speak severely to my boy,
6I beat him when he sneezes;
7For he can thoroughly enjoy
8The pepper when he pleases!"
          "Wow! wow! wow!"


1] This poem parodies David Bates' "Speak Gently." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.