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    Tema con Variazioni

    by Lewis Carroll
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    [Why is it that Poetry has never yet been subjected to that process
    of Dilution which has proved so advantageous to her sister-art
    Music? The Diluter gives us first a few notes of some well-known
    Air, then a dozen bars of his own, then a few more notes of the
    Air, and so on alternately: thus saving the listener, if not from
    all risk of recognising the melody at all, at least from the too-
    exciting transports which it might produce in a more concentrated
    form. The process is termed "setting" by Composers, and any one,
    that has ever experienced the emotion of being unexpectedly set
    down in a heap of mortar, will recognise the truthfulness of this
    happy phrase.

    For truly, just as the genuine Epicure lingers lovingly over a
    morsel of supreme Venison--whose every fibre seems to murmur
    "Excelsior!"--yet swallows, ere returning to the toothsome dainty,
    great mouthfuls of oatmeal-porridge and winkles: and just as the
    perfect Connoisseur in Claret permits himself but one delicate sip,
    and then tosses off a pint or more of boarding-school beer: so
    also -

    I never loved a dear Gazelle -
    NOR ANYTHING THAT COST ME MUCH:
    HIGH PRICES PROFIT THOSE WHO SELL,
    BUT WHY SHOULD I BE FOND OF SUCH?

    To glad me with his soft black eye
    MY SON COMES TROTTING HOME FROM SCHOOL;
    HE'S HAD A FIGHT BUT CAN'T TELL WHY -
    HE ALWAYS WAS A LITTLE FOOL!

    But, when he came to know me well,
    HE KICKED ME OUT, HER TESTY SIRE:
    AND WHEN I STAINED MY HAIR, THAT BELLE
    MIGHT NOTE THE CHANGE, AND THUS ADMIRE

    And love me, it was sure to dye
    A MUDDY GREEN OR STARING BLUE:
    WHILST ONE MIGHT TRACE, WITH HALF AN EYE,
    THE STILL TRIUMPHANT CARROT THROUGH.
    If you're writing a Tema con Variazioni essay and need some advice, post your Lewis Carroll essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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