Mrs Leo Hunter’s “Ode to an Expiring Frog” was one of the highlights of Pickwick.  Another reader pointed out to me that Harold Bloom includes the Ode in the Dickens section of his book Genius.  I think I agree:

Can I view thee panting, lying

On thy stomach, without sighing;

Can I unmoved see thee dying

On a log
Expiring frog!

Say, have fiends in shapes of boys,

With wild halloo, and brutal noise,

Hunted thee from marshy joys,

With a dog,

Expiring frog!

But there were also many other bizarre (and hilarious) expressions in Pickwick.  Here are a couple of my favorites (I need to find ways to include these in my general conversation):

“And then there was another roaring, like that of a whole menagerie when the elephant has rung the bell for the cold meat.” (the strangest elephant simile I’ve ever heard)

“Old nut-cracker face” (I can’t wait to call someone an old nut-cracker face)

And I still laugh every time I say this one out loud.  When answering whether or not a horse will be manageable to Mr Pickwick, the servant says,

“Shy, sir?-he wouldn’t shy if he was to meet a vagin-load of monkeys with their tails burned off.”

The perfect image to convey a horse’s (or a person’s for that matter) susceptibility to panic in the face of calamity.