Hiawatha's Photographing Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


From his shoulder HiawathaA
Took the camera of rosewoodB
Made of sliding folding rosewoodB
Neatly put it all togetherC
In its case it lay compactlyD
Folded into nearly nothingE
But he opened out the hingesF
Pushed and pulled the joints and hingesF
Till it looked all squares and oblongsF
Like a complicated figureC
In the Second Book of EuclidG
This he perched upon a tripodH
Crouched beneath its dusky coverC
Stretched his hand enforcing silenceF
Said Be motionless I beg youI
Mystic awful was the processF
All the family in orderC
Sat before him for their picturesF
Each in turn as he was takenJ
Volunteered his own suggestionsF
His ingenious suggestionsF
First the Governor the FatherC
He suggested velvet curtainsF
Looped about a massy pillarC
And the corner of a tableD
Of a rosewood dining tableD
He would hold a scroll of somethingE
Hold it firmly in his left handK
He would keep his right hand buriedL
Like Napoleon in his waistcoatL
He would contemplate the distanceF
With a look of pensive meaningE
As of ducks that die ill tempestsF
Grand heroic was the notionJ
Yet the picture failed entirelyD
Failed because he moved a littleD
Moved because he couldn't help itL
Next his better half took courageM
SHE would have her picture takenJ
She came dressed beyond descriptionJ
Dressed in jewels and in satinJ
Far too gorgeous for an empressF
Gracefully she sat down sidewaysF
With a simper scarcely humanJ
Holding in her hand a bouquetL
Rather larger than a cabbageM
All the while that she was sittingE
Still the lady chattered chatteredL
Like a monkey in the forestL
Am I sitting still she asked himN
Is my face enough in profileD
Shall I hold the bouquet higherC
Will it came into the pictureC
And the picture failed completelyD
Next the Son the Stunning CantabO
He suggested curves of beautyD
Curves pervading all his figureC
Which the eye might follow onwardL
Till they centered in the breast pinP
Centered in the golden breast pinP
He had learnt it all from RuskinP
Author of 'The Stones of Venice '-
'Seven Lamps of Architecture '-
'Modern Painters ' and some othersF
And perhaps he had not fullyD
Understood his author's meaningE
But whatever was the reasonJ
All was fruitless as the pictureC
Ended in an utter failureC
Next to him the eldest daughterC
She suggested very littleD
Only asked if he would take herC
With her look of 'passive beauty '-
Her idea of passive beautyD
Was a squinting of the left eyeQ
Was a drooping of the right eyeQ
Was a smile that went up sidewaysF
To the corner of the nostrilsF
Hiawatha when she asked himN
Took no notice of the questionJ
Looked as if he hadn't heard itL
But when pointedly appealed toL
Smiled in his peculiar mannerC
Coughed and said it 'didn't matter '-
Bit his lip and changed the subjectL
Nor in this was he mistakenJ
As the picture failed completelyD
So in turn the other sistersF
Last the youngest son was takenJ
Very rough and thick his hair wasF
Very round and red his face wasF
Very dusty was his jacketL
Very fidgety his mannerC
And his overbearing sistersF
Called him names he disapproved ofR
Called him Johnny 'Daddy's Darling '-
Called him Jacky 'Scrubby School boy '-
And so awful was the pictureC
In comparison the othersF
Seemed to one's bewildered fancyD
To have partially succeededL
Finally my HiawathaA
Tumbled all the tribe togetherC
'Grouped' is not the right expressionJ
And as happy chance would have itL
Did at last obtain a pictureC
Where the faces all succeededL
Each came out a perfect likenessF
Then they joined and all abused itL
Unrestrainedly abused itL
As the worst and ugliest pictureC
They could possibly have dreamed ofR
'Giving one such strange expressionsF
Sullen stupid pert expressionsF
Really any one would take usF
Any one that did not know usF
For the most unpleasant people '-
Hiawatha seemed to think soF
Seemed to think it not unlikelyD
All together rang their voicesF
Angry loud discordant voicesF
As of dogs that howl in concertL
As of cats that wail in chorusF
But my Hiawatha's patienceF
His politeness and his patienceF
Unaccountably had vanishedL
And he left that happy partyD
Neither did he leave them slowlyD
With the calm deliberationJ
The intense deliberationJ
Of a photographic artistL
But he left them in a hurryD
Left them in a mighty hurryD
Stating that he would not stand itL
Stating in emphatic languageM
What he'd be before he'd stand itL
Hurriedly he packed his boxesF
Hurriedly the porter trundledL
On a barrow all his boxesF
Hurriedly he took his ticketL
Hurriedly the train received himN
Thus departed HiawathaA

Lewis Carroll


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