William Schwenck Gilbert
William Schwenck Gilbert, born in London in 1836, was the son of a retired naval surgeon. Except for a kidnapping by Italian brigands in Italy at age two, and a ransomed release, he appears to have had a very normal upbringing. Beyond ordinary schooling, he took training as an artillery officer and was tutored in military science with hopes of participating in the Crimean War. Unfortunately for him, but not for us, he did not graduate until after the War was over. Gilbert subsequently joined the militia and was a member for 20 years.
After finishing his military training Gilbert worked in a government bureau job which he hated. Upon receiving a nice inheritance from an aunt, ... more »
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William Schwenck Gilbert Poems
The Yarn of the Nancy Bell
'Twas on the shores that round our coast From Deal to Ramsgate span, That I found alone on a piece of stone An elderly naval man.
Damon vs. Pythias
Two better friends you wouldn't pass Throughout a summer's day, Than DAMON and his PYTHIAS, - Two merchant princes they.
A Manager's Perplexities
Were I a king in very truth, And had a son - a guileless youth - In probable succession; To teach him patience, teach him tact,
When a Merry Maiden Marries
When a merry maiden marries, Sorrow goes and pleasure tarries; Every sound becomes a song, All is right and nothing's wrong!
Society has quite forsaken all her wicked courses, Which empties our police courts, and abolishes divorces. (Divorce is nearly obsolete in England.) No tolerance we show to undeserving rank and splendour;
The Love-Sick Boy
When first my old, old love I knew, My bosom welled with joy; My riches at her feet I threw; I was a love-sick boy!
My boy, you may take it from me, That of all the afflictions accurst With which a man's saddled And hampered and addled,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro
In enterprise of martial kind, When there was any fighting, He led his regiment from behind (He found it less exciting).
Of all the ships upon the blue, No ship contained a better crew Than that of worthy CAPTAIN REECE, Commanding of THE MANTELPIECE.
The Magnet and the Churn
A MAGNET hung in a hardware shop, And all around was a loving crop Of scissors and needles, nails and knives, Offering love for all their lives;
Gentle Alice Brown
It was a robber's daughter, and her name was ALICE BROWN, Her father was the terror of a small Italian town; Her mother was a foolish, weak, but amiable old thing; But it isn't of her parents that I'm going for to sing.
Trial by Jury
DRAMATIS PERSONAE THE LEARNED JUDGE THE PLAINTIFF
BOB POLTER was a navvy, and His hands were coarse, and dirty too, His homely face was rough and tanned, His time of life was thirty-two.
A Worm Will Turn
I love a man who'll smile and joke When with misfortune crowned; Who'll pun beneath a pauper's yoke, And as he breaks his daily toke,
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The Yarn of the Nancy Bell
'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.
His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:
"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the NANCY brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."
And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid,
For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,