The poem has 33 stanzas, a reference to the 33 cantos of Dante's Divine Comedy


Use of the word "curiouser" is a nod to the quote "Curiouser and curiouser!" from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)


Sherlock Holmes and John Watson "who never lived and so will never die" (Arthur Conan Doyle)


Christians martyred under the Roman emperors (Eusebius's The Church History)


D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach by the Allied Forces in WW2

"Dogfights" is a term used for fighter plane duels

General Greco-Roman mythology (Ovid's Metamorphoses)/Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) reference

Oblique nod to Mirkwood elves in The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)


Lincoln-green is the color worn by Robin Hood's outlaws

Robin Hood and Little John, Ivanhoe and Gilbert, or any other historical or literary duels

Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig von Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms were possibly the three most influential composers of Western Art Music

The Round Table knights, or any others; it is said that King Arthur will return one day to rule Britain


The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) was somewhat modeled on Western Civilization

Gondorian soldiers, especially Citadel Guards, wore silver armor

The White Tree was withered for a millennium-and-a-half before the Return of the King


The main character and door to Paradise from George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind

The titular wardrobe and door to Narnia from C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The heroine and hero from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice


The Weasley family from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series

Platform Nine and Three-Quarters from the same

Martin Luther nailing the 95 Thesis to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation

Events surrounding the presentation of the Augsburg Confession to the Holy Roman Emperor in 1530


The main character from Baroness Orczy's Scarlet Pimpernel and sequels

The school-marm from Ludwig Bemelmans's Madeline book series

The Ten Booms hid Jews from the Nazis in Holland (Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place)

In the concentration camp Ravensbruck, Corrie held Bible studies uninterrupted by the guards due to the flea-infestation of the dormitories


Eventually the Sahara; also, the world of The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) was somewhat modeled after Western Civilization, and there is a wide desert immediately south of Narnia

Raiding tribes from the Far East (The Travels of Marco Polo)

Any of history's many battles


Location and circumstance from Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace

Phenomenon surrounding the flight of the Israelites from Egypt in the biblical book of Exodus

Legendary ghost ship that forever strives to round the Cape of Good Hope

Polish legend of the Trumpeter of Krakow


The defeat and death of Count Dracula (Bram Stoker's Dracula)

Last battle of the Persian Wars (Herodotus's The Histories)


Circumstances immediately preceding the fall of Troy (Homer's Iliad, and others)

Any of many sea-battles, particularly the events of Master and Commander (Patrick O'Brian)

Various legends, including those recorded in Homer's Odyssey


Submarine of Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

The white whale and whale-boat captain arch-rivals of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick

Large numbers of foreigners immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island's customs office, particularly in the early 1900s

The Statue of Liberty in the mouth of the Hudson River holds a torch that symbolically lights the way to Ellis Island and freedom


Circumstances surrounding the First Thanksgiving, in common American consciousness

Outdoorsman and early adventurer and settler in the wilds of Kentucky

The African-Americans held in slavery in the southern United States were freed first by the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln and then by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution

The Battle of Gettysburg is often considered the turning-point of the American Civil War


Common historical occurrence; also a reference to Gordon Lightfoot's song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Wright brothers constructed the first functional airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Reference to Johnny Cash's song Ghost Riders in the Sky


The heroine and hero of Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables book series

Prospectors who rushed to California in 1849 to mine for gold

The main "characters" of Sheila Burnford's The Incredible Journey

The U.S. Navy refers to sunken submarines not as "lost at sea" but as "still on patrol"


Abandoned western towns, often due to a failed or moved railroad line or a mine stripped of ore

The Lone Ranger of American Western folklore


Reference to the titular "character" and instrument of E.B. White's Trumpet of the Swan

The Lewis and Clark exploratory expedition through the Louisiana Purchase (Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage)


Legendary American mountain man; "Maybe he's dead…Maybe he never will be."


Covered wagons were called "prairie schooners" because their white tops looked like ships' sails

After the Panama Canal was dug, "rounding the Horn" (Cape Horn) became less a trade-route necessity and more an opportunity for a sea-captain to show his and his crew's prowess


Malaria and yellow fever were effectively contained during the building of the Panama Canal by such measures

Captain of the unsuccessful 1914-1917 South Pole expedition; "Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton"


Titular wrecked-on-deserted-island characters from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Johann David Wyss's Swiss Family Robinson

The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was far less crippling to the American Pacific fleet than the Japanese intended due to the absence from port, and thus escape from destruction, of all three aircraft carriers


After Japan's surrender, the Army Air Corps air-lifted a surplus of supplies on the starving prison-camps

Dragons are symbolic in Chinese culture


The Great Wall of China was built as a defense against the Mongols (the same hordes as in Stanza 10)

Caravans crossed the many deserts to bring silk and spices to the lucrative European markets


Mythological bird that dies in flame and is reborn

The main character from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book

The titular location and crime, and beloved main character, from Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express


The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom describes the escape of a group of six from the Siberian labor-camps that involved crossing the Gobi Desert

Edmund Hillary was the first mountaineer to summit Mt. Everest

Amy Carmichael was a Christian missionary to children, especially abandoned girls, in India

Noah's Ark, from the biblical book of Genesis, came to rest on the Mountains of Ararat


The Fertile Crescent stretched from Mesopotamia north to Damascus and South again through the Jordan Valley to Egypt

Damascus in particular served as the cross-roads of the ancient world

The Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but no one really knows what they looked like

From the biblical book of 1 Kings, when God speaks to Elijah at Sinai not in a thunderstorm, a fire, or an earthquake, but in a "still, small voice"


From the biblical book of 1 Samuel, shepherd boy and future king David defeats giant Goliath with a sling and kills him with his own sword

From the biblical book of 1 Kings, Elijah poses a "contest" to the prophets of Baal as to which god can bring down fire from heaven; unsurprisingly, the true God wins

From the biblical book of Joshua, the Israelites collapse the walls of Jericho at God's command by shouting and blowing trumpets

From the biblical book of Genesis, Jacob has a dream that depicts a stairway stretching up to God's throne in heaven, with angels ascending and descending


From the Gospels, the angels at Jesus' birth sang, "glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…"

From the Gospels, Jesus' earthly ministry included many such miracles

From the Gospels, the institution of the Lord's Supper


Due to the topography of the region, travelers have to ascend to get to Jerusalem, the City of David

From the Gospels, Holy Week was punctuated with such occurrences

From the Gospels, the centurion at the foot of the cross confessed Jesus' divinity after his death

The pivotal event of the Gospels and all of Scripture


From the Gospels, the events of the Crucifixion and Resurrection included earthquakes and darkened sky

From the Gospels, Jesus was buried in a tomb between Friday evening and Sunday morning

The seal of death refers to: the fact that Jesus was dead, the Roman seal Pilate placed on the tomb, and the otherwise-unbreakable hold of death on the world as a whole

Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Life who died as a ransom for sinners and rose to bring them to life again