Size and Tears

Author: Lewis Carroll  | Date: 1863


WHEN on the sandy shore I sit,

Beside the salt sea-wave,

And falling into a weeping fit

Because I dare not shave-

A little whisper at my ear

Enquires the reason of my fear.

I answer "If that ruffian Jones

Should recognise me here,

He’d bellow out my name in tones

Offensive to the ear:

He chaffs me so on being stout

(A thing that always puts me out)."

Ah me! I see him on the cliff!

Farewell, farewell to hope,

If he should look this way, and if

He’s got his telescope!

To whatsoever place I flee,

My odious rival follows me!

For every night, and everywhere,

I meet him out at dinner;

And when I’ve found some charming fair,

And vowed to die or win her,

The wretch (he’s thin and I am stout)

Is sure to come and cut me out!

The girls (just like them!) all agree

To praise J. Jones, Esquire:

I ask them what on earth they see

About him to admire?

They cry "He is so sleek and slim,

It’s quite a treat to look at him!"

They vanish in tobacco smoke,

Those visionary maids-

I feel a sharp and sudden poke

Between the shoulder-blades-

"Why, Brown, my boy! You’re growing stout!"

(I told you he would find me out!)

"My growth is not your business, Sir!"

"No more it is, my boy!

But if it’s yours, as I infer,

Why, Brown, I give you joy!

A man, whose business prospers so,

Is just the sort of man to know!

"It’s hardly safe, though, talking here-

I’d best get out of reach:

For such a weight as yours, I fear,

Must shortly sink the beach!"-

Insult me thus because I’m stout!

I vow I’ll go and call him out!

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Chicago: Lewis Carroll, Size and Tears Original Sources, accessed May 22, 2024,

MLA: Carroll, Lewis. Size and Tears, Original Sources. 22 May. 2024.

Harvard: Carroll, L, Size and Tears. Original Sources, retrieved 22 May 2024, from