Through the Looking-Glass

Lewis Carroll

A Preface

Child of the pure unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet, and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy-tale.

I have not seen thy sunny face,
Nor heard thy silver laughter:
No thought of me shall find a place
In thy young life's hereafter—
Enough that now thou wilt not fail
To listen to my fairy-tale.

A tale begun in other days,
When summer suns were glowing—
A simple chime, that served to time
The rhythm of our rowing—
Whose echoes live in memory yet,
Though envious years would say 'forget.'

Come, harken then, ere voice of dread,
With bitter tidings laden,
Shall summon to unwelcome bed
A melancholy maiden!
We are but older children, dear,
Who fret to find our bedtime near.

Without, the frost, the blinding snow,
The storm-wind's moody madness—
Within, the firelight's ruddy glow,
And the childhood's nest of gladness.
The magic words shll hold thee fast:
Thou shalt not heed the raving blast.

And, though the shadow of a sigh
May tremble through the story,
For 'happy summer days' gone by,
And vanish'd summer glory—
It shall not touch, with breath of bale,
The pleasance of our fairy-tale.

In the last verse of this poem, the mention of 'happy summer days' is a reference to the last words of Alice in Wonderland. And, in the last line, the word 'pleasance' is the middle name of Alice Liddell who was the 'Alice' in (and the inspiration for) that story.

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