A recent illustration for "The Lobster Quadrille" by Vladislav Erko.

"The Lobster Quadrille" (also known as "The Mock Turtle's Song" or "Will You, Won't You Join the Dance?") is a nonsense poem by the British author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who wrote under the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll. It was first published in 1865 as part of Carroll's children's novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It appears in the tenth chapter of the novel, which is also called "The Lobster Quadrille". The poem is a parody of "The Spider and the Fly" (which opens with the lines "'Will you walk into my parlor?' said a Spider to a Fly'"), an 1829 poem by the British writer Mary Howitt.

In the tenth chapter of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon tell Alice that "The Lobster Quadrille" is the name of a dance which they used to perform when they were younger and went to school under the sea. Each of the participants in the dance take lobsters as partners and later throw the lobsters out to sea as far as they can. Although they have no lobsters with which to perform the dance, the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle attempt to demonstrate it to Alice, while the Mock Turtle sings the poem.


1907 illustration for "The Lobster Quadrille" by Charles Robinson.

The poem describes a conversation between a whiting and a sea snail. The whiting first asks the snail, who is in front of him, to move faster because a porpoise, who is behind him, is treading on his tail. He then invites the snail to join the Lobster Quadrille dance, which will involve getting thrown far out to sea like the lobsters. The snail refuses to take part, saying that he does not want to go so far away. The whiting tries to persuade the snail that there is nothing to fear because there is another shore on the other side of the sea. That is to say, if the snail is thrown far from England, he will be nearer to France. It is not revealed whether the snail ultimately chooses to take part in the dance or not.


A musical rendition of "The Lobster Quadrille", with music composed by Max Harris, is featured in the 1985 British movie Dreamchild. The film is about an elderly Alice Hargreaves (née Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to create the character of Alice) traveling to the United States to receive an honorary degree from Columbia University. "The Lobster Quadrille" is sung by an all male choir during the degree ceremony.

The poem was set to music and performed by the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand for the concept album Almost Alice, released to accompany the 2010 live-action Disney film Alice in Wonderland.

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