Littérature de jeunesse en anglais : Lewis Carroll, Vous êtes vieux, Père Guillaume/Présentation du livre
Lewis Carroll a usé et abusé des ressources de l'absurde, le nonsense, dans « Alice au Pays des Merveilles », pour aider le lecteur à le suivre dans les mondes inversés de son héroïne.
La récitation sur le Père Guillaume qu'Alice doit redire à la chenille est en fait une parodie d'une comptine moralisatrice du poète Robert Southey sur les joies bien méritées de la vieillesse : The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them.
- Le texte en anglais en quatrains et les illustrations de John Tenniel sont disponibles sur wikisource, domaine public, 1865.
- Marcher sur la tête : 80 mots
- Faire le saut périlleux : 87 mots
- Festoyer : 80 mots
- Tenir en équilibre : 92 mots
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"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But now that Im perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old" said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door—
Pray, what is the reason of that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box—
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak—
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth!" said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."
"You are old," said the youth; "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What wade you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"