Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Jabberwocky Meets Kaiserwocky | WWI Parody

Above John Tenniel's illustration of the Jabberwock.


Aha! Now here's a great find. It's a terribly funny take-off on Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem titled "Jabberwocky," which he published in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872). For those who have never heard of Alice In Wonderland or Lewis Carroll, I haven't any comment. But, to appreciate the parody, you have to have read the original poem.  It goes as follows—

JABBERWOCKY  |  Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

And now on to the parody (author uncredited), called "Kaiserwocky," which was apparently published in the New York Evening Post, then reprinted in The Minneapolis Morning Star Tribune, May 16, 1918, p. 14, as follows—


'Twas Marnen, and the tommy ats
Did wyem secate in their trench;
All belgiumed with the tinny-hats,
And blank-blank potsdam french.

“Beware the Camouflage, my son!
The Cootie’s bite, the Barbwire’s scratch,
The Ausespiel’s place in the sun;
Verbote the redcrost patch!”

He took his kruppy in his hands:
Long time a blighty foe he sought,
Some scrappy papered Soixaute-quinze,
All poilued in its thought.

And as he kultured his moustache,
The Camouflage rheims through the wood.
And fraicaised o’er with rongetnoir,
Alsaced him where he stood.

Einzwei! Einzwei! And high and dry
He kieled that camouflage gun;
Then prussly monocled his eye
And taubel to Pop when done.

“And host thou kieled the Camouflage!
Come to my lefty arm, my boy!
Dertag is won—’tis au verdun!”
He vonklucked in his joy.

’Twas persching, and the tammy ats
Were numans landing from their tench;
All sammied were the tinney-hats,
The Kamrads deutschly blench.