Context: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an Oxford University lecturer in mathematics, is remembered chiefly for his appealing fantasies and imaginative poems for children, written under the pen name, Lewis Carroll. In this poem, a ship which has been rigged for the purpose of hunting a snark, a creature of Dodgson's imagination, has as a crew an assorted group with a Bellman as captain, and including a Boots, a maker of bonnets and hoods, a Barrister, a Banker, a Billiard-maker, a Beaver, a Butcher (he knows how to kill only beavers, but he forms a close friendship with the Beaver on board), and a Baker (a very forgetful individual who has forgotten his name, but who is indispensable because of his dedication to finding a Snark). They land at a likely place for the Snark, and the Bellman briefs them on what to expect, explaining that it may be a Boojum Snark. Hearing the word "Boojum," the Baker faints, and after he is revived, he tells the crew that if he captures a Boojum Snark he will vanish. After considerable search, the Baker with great elation calls to the crew that he has found a Snark, but:
In the midst of the word he was trying to say,In the midst of his laughter and glee,He had softly and suddenly vanished away–For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.