It was a merry company,
And they were just afloat,
When lo! a man, of dwarfish span,
Came up and hailed the boat.
“Good morrow to ye, gentle folks,
And will you let me in?
A slender space will serve my case,
For I am small and thin.”
They saw he was a dwarfish man,
And very small and thin;
Not seven such would matter much,
And so they took him in.
They laughed to see his little hat,
With such a narrow brim;
They laughed to note his dapper coat,
With skirts so scant and trim.
But barely had they gone a mile,
When, gravely, one and all
At once began to think the man
Was not so very small:
His coat had got a broader skirt,
His hat a broader brim;
His leg grew stout, and soon plumped out
A very proper limb.
Still on they went, and as they went,
More rough the billows grew —
And rose and fell, a greater swell,
And he was swelling too!
And lo! where room had been for seven,
For six there scarce was space!
For five! — for four! — for three! — not more
Than two could find a place!
There was not even room for one!
They crowded by degrees —
Ay — closer yet, till elbows met,
And knees were jogging knees.
“Good sir, you must not sit a-stern,
The wave will else come in!”
Without a word he gravely stirred,
Another seat to win.
“Good sir, the boat has lost her trim,
You must not sit a-lee!”
With smiling face and courteous grace,
The middle seat took he.
But still, by constant quiet growth,
His back became so wide,
Each neighbor wight, to left and right,
Was thrust against the side.
Lord! how they chided with themselves,
That they had let him in;
To see him grow so monstrous now,
That came so small and thin.
On every brow a dewdrop stood,
They grew so scared and hot —
“I’ the name of all that’s great and tall,
Who are ye, sir, and what?”
Loud laughed the Gogmagog, a laugh
As loud as giant’s roar —
“When first I came, my proper name
Was Little — now I’m Moore!“†
† Thomas Moore is a forgotten poet, and it cannot therefore be impertinent to remind the reader that in his early days he published certain rather “vain and amatorious” poems under the pseudonym of “Thomas Little.”
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09