Maggie’s Visit to Oxford: (June 9th to 13th, 1889)

Author: Lewis Carroll  | Date: 1889


(Written for Maggie Bowman.)

WHEN Maggie once to Oxford came,

On tour as "Bootles’ Baby",

She said, "I’ll see this place of fame,

However dull the day be."

So with her friend she visited

The sights that it was rich in:

And first of all she popped her head

Inside the Christ Church kitchen.

The Cooks around that little child

Stood waiting in a ring:

And every time that Maggie smiled

Those Cooks began to sing-

Shouting the Battle-cry of Freedom!

"Roast, boil and bake,

For Maggie’s sake:

Bring cutlets fine

For her to dine,

Meringues so sweet

For her to eat-

For Maggie may be

Bootles’ Baby!"

Then hand in hand in pleasant talk

They wandered and admired

The Hall, Cathedral and Broad Walk,

Till Maggie’s feet were tired:

To Worcester Garden next they strolled,

Admired its quiet lake:

Then to St. John, a college old,

Their devious way they take.

In idle mood they sauntered round

Its lawn so green and flat,

And in that garden Maggie found

A lovely Pussy-Cat!

A quarter of an hour they spent

In wandering to and fro:

And everywhere that Maggie went,

The Cat was sure to go-

Shouting the Battle-cry of Freedom!

"Maiow! Maiow!

Come, make your bow,

Take off your hats,

Ye Pussy-Cats!

And purr and purr,

To welcome her,

For Maggie may be

Bootles’ Baby!"

So back to Christ Church, not too late

For them to go and see

A Christ Church undergraduate,

Who gave them cakes and tea.

Next day she entered with her guide

The garden called "Botanic",

And there a fierce Wild Boar she spied,

Enough to cause a panic:

But Maggie didn’t mind, not she,

She would have faced, alone,

That fierce wild boar, because, you see,

The thing was made of stone.

On Magdalen walls they saw a face

That filled her with delight,

A giant face, that made grimace

And grinned with all its might.

A little friend, industrious,

Pulled upwards all the while

The corner of its mouth, and thus

He helped that face to smile!

"How nice", thought Maggie, "it would be

If I could have a friend

To do that very thing for me

And make my mouth turn up with glee,

By pulling at one end."

In Magdalen Park the deer are wild

With joy, that Maggie brings

Some bread a friend had given the child,

To feed the pretty things.

They flock round Maggie without fear:

They breakfast and they lunch,

They dine, they sup, those happy deer-

Still, as they munch and munch,

Shouting the Battle-cry of Freedom!

"Yes, Deer are we,

And dear is she!

We love this child

So sweet and mild:

We all rejoice

At Maggie’s voice:

We all are fed

With Maggie’s bread...

For Maggie may be

Bootles’ Baby!"

They met a Bishop on their way...

A Bishop large as life,

With loving smile that seemed to say

"Will Maggie be my wife?"

Maggie thought not, because, you see,

She was so very young,

And he was old as old could be...

So Maggie held her tongue.

"My Lord, she’s Bootles’ Baby, we

Are going up and down",

Her friend explained, "that she may see

The sights of Oxford Town."

"Now say what kind of place it is,"

The Bishop gaily cried.

"The best place in the Provinces!"

That little maid replied.

Away, next morning, Maggie went

From Oxford town: but yet

The happy hours she there had spent

She could not soon forget.

The train is gone, it rumbles on:

The engine-whistle screams;

But Maggie deep in rosy sleep...

And softly in her dreams,

Whispers the Battle-cry of Freedom.

"Oxford, good-bye!"

She seems to sigh.

"You dear old City,

With gardens pretty,

And lanes and flowers,

And college-towers,

And Tom’s great Bell...

Farewell- farewell:

For Maggie may be

Bootles’ Baby!"

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Lewis Carroll

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Chicago: Lewis Carroll, Maggie’s Visit to Oxford: (June 9th to 13th, 1889) Original Sources, accessed May 25, 2024,

MLA: Carroll, Lewis. Maggie’s Visit to Oxford: (June 9th to 13th, 1889), Original Sources. 25 May. 2024.

Harvard: Carroll, L, Maggie’s Visit to Oxford: (June 9th to 13th, 1889). Original Sources, retrieved 25 May 2024, from