On May 20, 1871, Lewis Carroll sent the following poem to Mabel and Emily Kerr of Canada. The poem was titled “Double Acrostic”. Can you figure out where the acrostics are?
Thanks, thanks, fair Cousins, for your gift
So swiftly borne to Albion’s isle —
Though angry waves their crests uplift
Between our shores, for many a league!
(“So far, so good,” you say: “but how
Your Cousins?” Let me tell you, Madam.
We’re both descended, you’ll allow,
From one great-great-great-grandsire, Noah.)
Your picture shall adorn the book
That’s bound, so neatly and moroccoly,
With that bright green which every cook
Delights to see in beds of cauliflower.
The carte is very good, but pray
Send me the larger one as well!
“A cool request!” I hear you say.
“Give him an inch, he takes an acre!
“But we’ll be generous because
We well remember, in the story,
How good and gentle Alice was,
The day she argued with the Parrot!”
The acrostics are not apparent and even after a careful examination of the poem would prove to be futile. So, where are they?
Carroll used a little smokescreen to hide the acrostics. The last word of every stanza of the poem is an artifice. If you replace each of them with a similar word which rhymes with the last word of the second line of its respective stanza, then it would make more sense:
Leauge is substituted with Mile.
Noah is substituted with Adam.
Cauliflower is substituted with Brocolli.
Acre is substituted with Ell.
Parrot is substituted with Lorry.
Now, arrange this five words vertically:
M il E
A da M
B rocoll I
E l L
L or Y
Morton Cohen, et al. (Eds.), The Letters of Lewis Carroll: ca. 1837-1885, 1979