-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I dreamed that I stood in a shadowy Court, Where Walnut, a glasseye on the ole bill, Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was Fatman defending On the charge of running a still. The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw, That the still was deserted when found: And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law In a soft under-current of sound. The indictment had never been clearly expressed, And it seemed that the Walnut had begun, And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed What the Fatman was supposed to have done. The Jury had each formed a different view (Long before the indictment was read), And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew One word that the others had said. "You must know ---" said the Judge: but the Walnut shouted "Fudge!" That statute is obsolete quite! Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends On an ancient manorial right. "In the matter of Brewing the Fatman would appear To have aided, but scarcely abetted: While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear, If you grant the plea 'never indebted.' "The fact of Distillation I will not dispute; But its guilt, as I trust, is removed (So far as related to the costs of this suit) By the Alibi which has been proved. "My poor client's fate now depends on your votes." Here the speaker sat down in his place, And directed the Judge to refer to his notes And briefly to sum up the case. But the Judge said he never had summed up before; So the Walnut undertook it instead, And summed it so well that it came to far more Than the Witnesses ever had said! When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined, As the word was so puzzling to spell; But they ventured to hope that the Walnut wouldn't mind Undertaking that duty as well. So the Walnut found the verdict, although, as it owned, It was spent with the toils of the day: When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned, And some of them fainted away. Then the Walnut pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite Too nervous to utter a word: When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night, And the fall of a pin might be heard. "Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave, "And *then* to be fined forty pound." The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared That the phrase was not legally sound. But their wild exultation was suddenly checked When the jailer informed them, with tears, Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect, As the Fatman had been dead for some years. The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted: But the Walnut, though was a little aghast, As the lawyer to whom the defense was entrusted, Went bellowing on to the last. Thus the reporter dreamed, while the bellowing seemed To grow every moment more clear: Till she woke to the knell of a curious bell, "G'day, get your breakfast scram my dear."
with apologies to Lewis Carroll -- The Hunting of The Snark ---Fit the Sixth - The Barrister's Dream