ALL in the golden afternoon Full leisurely we glide; For both our oars, with little skill, By little arms are plied, While little hands make vain pretence Our wanderings to guide. Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour Beneath such dreamy weather, To beg a tale of breath too weak To stir the tiniest feather! Yet what can one poor voice avail Against three tongues together? Imperious Prima flashes forth Her edict to begin it In gentler tone Secunda hopes "There will be nonsense in it!" While Tertia interrupts the tale Not more than once a minute. Anon, to sudden silence won, In fancy they pursue The dream-child moving through a land Of wonders wild and new, In friendly chat with bird or beast -- And half believe it true. And ever, as the story drained The wells of fancy dry, And faintly strove that weary one To put the subject by, `The rest next time' -- `It is next time!' The happy voices cry. Thus grew the tale of Wonderland: Thus slowly, one by one, Its quaint events were hammered out And now the tale is done, And home we steer, a merry crew, Beneath the setting sun. Alice! a childish story take, And with a gentle hand Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined In Memory's mystic band, Like pilgrim's wither'd wreath of flowers Pluck'd in a far-off land.