[writing] The vorpal copy editor

Dear Lew –

I’ve been going over this section of your mss, and I’ve spotted some problems. We’re having some issues with the manual of style here, but also a lot of your attributions.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

I’m assuming “brillig” is a typo for “brilliant”. Also, “slithy” for “slimy”. Having trouble running down “toves”. Can you provide a cite for prior use?

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

“Gyre” misused here, I think. And “gimbal” is misspelled. What did you mean by “wave”? This is a maritime reference, right?

All mimsy were the borogoves,

“Mimsy” for “flimsy”? And the closest I can come to “borogroves” is “Borogravian”.

And the mome raths outgrabe.

I’m correcting this to “mommy rats outgrew” if that’s alright.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

Ok with this line, assuming “Jabberwock” is a proper name.

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

All good here.

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun

“Jubjub” for “jojoba”? Desert plant belongs in a maritime poem?

The frumious Bandersnatch!”

“Furious bandsaw.”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:

“Vorpal” for “vortex”? Would fit with “gyre”.

Long time the manxome foe he sought —

“Manxome” – Isle of Man?

So rested he by the Tumtum tree,

You may have a trademark issue with “Tumtum”.

And stood awhile in thought.

All good here.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,

“Of fish he thought”?

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,


Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

Cannot find cites for “Tulgey”. “Bulging”? Though we may have a giggle factor with “bulging wood”

And burbled as it came!

All good here.

One, two! One, two! And through and through


The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

“Vortex” again. Also, a trademark issue with “snicker”, possibly, given its use with “snack.”

He left it dead, and with its head

All good.

He went galumphing back.

“Galloping” for “galumphing”?

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?


Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

“Beamish”? Cannot find reference. “Beaming” would make sense in context.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’

“Frabjous” for “fabulous”? Cannnot find cites for “Callooh! Callay!” either.

He chortled in his joy.

“Chortled” = “chuckled”?

As above for this last verse.

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

Please let me know if you have any further questions!


5 thoughts on “[writing] The vorpal copy editor

  1. Julianna says:

    This is marvelous! Thanks for posting. 🙂

  2. ‘I’m correcting this to “mommy rats outgrew” if that’s alright.’

    No, but it would be ALL RIGHT.

    grumble grumble grumble

  3. I love this poem. I highschool I read an “annotated” version of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass that went on at length about this poem and the various nonsense words and portmanteaus.

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