How Doth the Little Crocodile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a poem by Lewis Carroll which appears in his 1865 novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is recited by Alice in Chapter 2 as she attempts to recall "Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts. It describes a crafty crocodile that lures fish into its mouth with a welcoming smile.

This poem is performed by Richard Haydn, the voice of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland (1951) and by Fiona Fullerton in the film Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972).

Text[edit]

How doth the little crocodile
  Improve his shining tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
  On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin
  How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
  With gently smiling jaws![1]


"Against Idleness and Mischief"[edit]

"How Doth the Little Crocodile" is a parody of the moralistic poem "Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts,[2] which is what Alice was originally trying to recite. Watts' poem begins "How doth the little busy bee ..." and uses the bee as a model of hard work. In Carroll's parody, the crocodile's corresponding "virtues" are deception and predation, themes that recur throughout Alice's adventures in both books, and especially in the poems.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Carroll, Lewis (1867). Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan. p. 20.
  2. ^ Martin Gardner The Annotated Alice.