The Hunting Of The Snark

Illustrated children's book by Lewis Carroll - online version

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If------and the thing is wildly possible------the charge of
writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in p. 18)
" Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes." In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural
Histoiy------1 will take the more prosaic course of
simply explaining how it happened.
The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use
to appeal to the Bellman about it------he would only
refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever