Liddell and Scott

On the Completion of their Lexicon

(Written after the death of Liddell in 1898. Scott had died some ten years earlier.)

" Well, though it seems
Beyond our dreams,"
Said Liddell to Scott,
" We've really got
To the very end,
All inked and penned
Blotless and fair
Without turning a hair,
This sultry summer day, A.D.
Eighteen hundred and forty-three.

" I've often, I own,
Belched many a moan
At undertaking it,
And dreamt forsaking it.
— Yes, on to Pi,
When the end loomed nigh,
And friends said: " You've as good as done, "
I almost wished we'd not begun.
Even now, if people only knew
My sinkings, as we slowly drew
Along through Kappa, Lambda, Mu,
They'd be concerned at my misgiving,
And how I mused on a College living
Right down to Sigma,
But feared a stigma
If I succumbed, and left old Donnegan
For weary freshmen's eyes to con again:
And how I often, often wondered
What could have led me to have blundered
So far away from sound theology
To dialects and etymology;
Words, accents not to be breathed by men
Of any country ever again!"

" My heart most failed,
Indeed, quite quailed,"
Said Scott to Liddell,
" Long ere the middle! . . .
'Twas one wet dawn
When, slippers on,
And a cold in the head anew,
Gazing at Delta
I turned and felt a
Wish for bed anew
And to let supersedings
Of Passow's readings
In dialects go.
" That German has read
More than we! " I said;
Yea, several times did I feel so! . . .

" O that first morning, smiling bland,
With sheets of foolscap, quills in hand,
To write ╬▒╬▒atoj and ╬▒ag╬Àj ,
Followed by fifteen hundred pages,
What nerve was ours
So to back our powers,
Assured that we should reach ¤ë¤ëdhj
While there was breath left in our bodies!"

Liddell replied: " Well, that's past now;
The job's done, thank God, anyhow."

" And yet it's not,"
Considered Scott,
" For we've to get
Subscribers yet
We must remember;
Yes; by September."

" O Lord; dismiss that. We'll succeed.
Dinner is my immediate need.
I feel as hollow as a fiddle,
Working so many hours," said Liddell.
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