Savoy Operas

cover image: More Bab Ballads / W. S. Gilbert

This etext is based on the undated Routledge (London) edition. For details, see Notes and Corrections and the overall That Infernal Nonsense page.


Much Sound and Little Sense

drawing: winking toddler







Mister William 1
The Bumboat Woman’s Story 8
The Two Ogres 15
Little Oliver 21
Pasha Bailey Ben 27
Lieutenant-Colonel Flare 33
Lost Mr. Blake 33
The Baby’s Vengeance 44
The Captain and the Mermaids 49
Annie Protheroe. A Legend of Stratford-le-Bow 55
An Unfortunate Likeness 62
Gregory Parable, LL.D. 68
The King of Canoodle-dum 74
First Love 80
Brave Alum Bey 87
Sir Barnaby Bampton Boo 93
The Modest Couple 98
The Martinet 104
The Sailor Boy to his Lass 110
The Reverend Simon Magus 116
Damon v. Pythias 122
My Dream 127
The Bishop of Rum-ti-foo, again 132
A Worm will turn 137
The Haughty Actor 142
The Two Majors 149
Emily, John, James, and I.   A Derby Legend 154
The Perils of Invisibility 159
Old Paul and Old Tim 164
The Mystic Salvagee 169
The Cunning Woman 175
Phrenology 180
The Fairy Curate 185
The Way of Wooing 193
Hongree and Mahry. A Transpontine Romance. 197


drawing: small figure with donkey ears talking to two well-dressed older men


OH, listen to the tale of Mister William, if you please,

Whom naughty, naughty judges sent away beyond the seas.

He forged a party’s will, which caused anxiety and strife,

Resulting in his getting penal servitude for life.


He was a kindly goodly man, and naturally prone,

Instead of taking others’ gold, to give away his own.

But he had heard of Vice, and longed for only once to strike—

To plan one little wickedness—to see what it was like.

He argued with himself, and said, “A spotless man am I;

I can’t be more respectable, however hard I try:

For six and thirty years I’ve always been as good as gold,

And now for half an hour I’ll plan infamy untold!

“A baby who is wicked at the early age of one,

And then reforms—and dies at thirty-six a spotless son,

Is never, never saddled with his babyhood’s defect,

But earns from worthy men consideration and respect.

“So one who never revelled in discreditable tricks

Until he reached the comfortable age of thirty-six,

May then for half an hour perpetrate a deed of shame,

Without incurring permanent disgrace, or even blame.

“That babies don’t commit such crimes as forgery is true,

But little sins develop, if you leave ’em to accrue;

And he who shuns all vices as successive seasons roll,

Should reap at length the benefit of so much self-control.


“The common sin of babyhood—objecting to be drest—

If you leave it to accumulate at compound interest,

For anything you know, may represent, if you’re alive,

A burglary or murder at the age of thirty-five.

“Still, I wouldn’t take advantage of this fact, but be content

With some pardonable folly—it’s a mere experiment.

The greater the temptation to go wrong, the less the sin;

So with something that’s particularly tempting I’ll begin.

“I would not steal a penny, for my income’s very fair—

I do not want a penny—I have pennies and to spare—

And if I stole a penny from a money-bag or till,

The sin would be enormous—the temptation being nil.

“But if I broke asunder all such pettifogging bounds,

And forged a party’s Will for (say) Five Hundred Thousand Pounds,

With such an irresistible temptation to a haul,

Of course the sin must be infinitesimally small.

“There’s Wilson who is dying—he has wealth from Stock and rent—

If I divert his riches from their natural descent,


I’m placed in a position to indulge each little whim.”

So he diverted them—and they, in turn, diverted him.

Unfortunately, though, by some unpardonable flaw,

Temptation isn’t recognized by Britain’s Common Law;

Men found him out by some peculiarity of touch,

And William got a “lifer,” which annoyed him very much.

For, ah! he never reconciled himself to life in gaol,

He fretted and he pined, and grew dispirited and pale;

He was numbered like a cabman, too, which told upon him so,

That his spirits, once so buoyant, grew uncomfortably low.

And sympathetic gaolers would remark, “It’s very true,

He ain’t been brought up common, like the likes of me and you.”

So, they took him into hospital, and gave him mutton chops,

And chocolate, and arrowroot, and buns, and malt and hops.

Kind Clergymen, besides, grew interested in his fate,

Affected by the details of his pitiable state.

They waited on the Secretary, somewhere in Whitehall,

Who said he would receive them any day they liked to call.


“Consider, sir, the hardship of this interesting case:

A prison life brings with it something very like disgrace;

It’s telling on young William, who’s reduced to skin and bone—

Remember he’s a gentleman, with money of his own.

“He had an ample income, and of course he stands in need

Of sherry with his dinner, and his customary weed;

No delicacies now can pass his gentlemanly lips—

He misses his sea-bathing and his continental trips.

drawing: man looking glum in undersized bed, while another looks on

“He says the other prisoners are commonplace and rude;

He says he cannot relish uncongenial prison food.

When quite a boy they taught him to distinguish Good from Bad,

And other educational advantages he’s had.


“A burglar or garotter, or, indeed, a common thief

Is very glad to batten on potatoes and on beef,

Or anything, in short, that prison kitchens can afford,—

A cut above the diet in a common workhouse ward.

“But beef and mutton-broth don’t seem to suit our William’s whim,

A boon to other prisoners—a punishment to him.

It never was intended that the discipline of gaol

Should dash a convict’s spirits, sir, or make him thin or pale.”


“Good Gracious Me!” that sympathetic Secretary cried,

“Suppose in prison fetters Mister William should have died!

Dear me, of course! Imprisonment for Life his sentence saith:

I’m very glad you mentioned it—it might have been For Death!


“Release him with a ticket—he’ll be better then, no doubt,

And tell him I apologize.” So Mister William’s out.

I hope he will be careful in his manuscripts, I’m sure,

And not begin experimentalizing any more.


drawing: old woman with a tray of cakes talking to a naval officer


I’M old, my dears, and shrivelled with age, and work, and grief,

My eyes are gone, and my teeth have been drawn by Time, the Thief!

For terrible sights I’ve seen, and dangers great I’ve run—

I’m nearly seventy now, and my work is almost done!

Ah! I’ve been young in my time, and I’ve played the deuce with men!

I’m speaking of ten years past—I was barely sixty then:


My cheeks were mellow and soft, and my eyes were large and sweet,

Poll Pineapple’s eyes were the standing toast of the Royal Fleet!

A bumboat woman was I, and I faithfully served the ships

With apples and cakes, and fowls and beer, and half-penny dips,

And beef for the generous mess, where the officers dine at nights,

And fine fresh peppermint drops for the rollicking midshipmites.

Of all the kind commanders who anchored in Portsmouth Bay,

By far the sweetest of all was kind Lieutenant Belaye.

Lieutenant Belaye commanded the gunboat, Hot Cross Bun,

She was seven and thirty feet in length, and she carried a gun.

With the laudable view of enhancing his country’s naval pride,

When people inquired her size, Lieutenant Belaye replied,

“Oh, my ship, my ship is the first of the Hundred and Seventy-ones!”

Which meant her tonnage, but people imagined it meant her guns.


Whenever I went on board he would beckon me down below,

“Come down, Little Buttercup, come” (for he loved to call me so),

And he’d tell of the fights at sea in which he’d taken a part,

And so Lieutenant Belaye won poor Poll Pineapple’s heart!

But at length his orders came, and he said one day, said he,

“I’m ordered to sail with the Hot Cross Bun to the German Sea.”

And the Portsmouth maidens wept when they learnt the evil day,

For every Portsmouth maid loved good Lieutenant Belaye.

And I went to a back back street, with plenty of cheap cheap shops,

And I bought an oilskin hat, and a second-hand suit of slops,

And I went to Lieutenant Belaye (and he never suspected me!)

And I entered myself as a chap as wanted to go to sea.

We sailed that afternoon at the mystic hour of one,—

Remarkably nice young men were the crew of the Hot Cross Bun.

I’m sorry to say that I’ve heard that sailors sometimes swear,

But I never yet heard a Bun say anything wrong, I declare.


When Jack Tars meet, they meet with a “Messmate, ho! What cheer?”

But here, on the Hot Cross Bun, it was “How do you do, my dear?”

When Jack Tars growl, I believe they growl with a big big D—

But the strongest oath of the Hot Cross Buns was a mild “Dear me!”

drawing: two elegant-looking sailors with long pigtails and high heels

Yet, though they were all well-bred, you could scarcely call them slick:

Whenever a sea was on, they were all extremely sick;

And whenever the weather was calm, and the wind was light and fair,

They spent more time than a sailor should on his back back hair.


They certainly shivered and shook when ordered aloft to run,

And they screamed when Lieutenant Belaye discharged his only gun.

And as he was proud of his gun—such pride is hardly wrong—

The Lieutenant was blazing away at intervals all day long.

They all agreed very well, though at times you heard it said

That Bill had a way of his own of making his lips look red—

That Joe looked quite his age—or somebody might declare

That Barnacle’s long pig-tail was never his own own hair.

Belaye would admit that his men were of no great use to him,

“But then,” he would say, “there is little to do on a gunboat trim.

I can hand, and reef, and steer, and fire my big gun too—,

And it is such a treat to sail with a gentle well-bred crew.”

I saw him every day! How the happy moments sped!

Reef topsails! Make all taut! There’s dirty weather ahead!


(I do not mean that tempests threatened the Hot Cross Bun:

In that case, I don’t know whatever we should have done!)

After a fortnight’s cruise, we put into port one day,

And off on leave for a week went kind Lieutenant Belaye,

And after a long long week had passed (and it seemed like a life),

Lieutenant Belaye returned to his ship with a fair young wife!

He up, and he says, says he, “O crew of the Hot Cross Bun,

Here is the wife of my heart, for the Church has made us one!”

And as he uttered the word, the crew went out of their wits,

And all fell down in so many separate fainting fits.

And then their hair came down, or off, as the case might be,

And lo! the rest of the crew were simple girls, like me,

Who all had fled from their homes in a sailor’s blue array,

To follow the shifting fate of kind Lieutenant Belaye.

drawing: naval officer surrounded by swooning female sailors

* * * *


It’s strange to think that I should ever have loved young men,

But I’m speaking of ten years past—I was barely sixty then,

And now my cheeks are furrowed with grief and age, I trow!

And poor Poll Pineapple’s eyes have lost their lustre now!


drawing: large man preparing to pounce on tiny man


GOOD children, list, if you’re inclined,

And wicked children too—

This pretty ballad is designed

Especially for you.

Two ogres dwelt in Wickham Wold,

One grown up—one a lad:

The younger was as good as gold,

The elder one was bad.

A wicked, disobedient son

Was James McAlpine, and

A contrast to the younger one,

Good Applebody Bland.


McAlpine—brutes like him are few—

In greediness delights,

A melancholy victim to

Unchastened appetites.

Good, well-bred children every day

He ravenously ate,—

All boys were fish who found their way

Into McAlpine’s net:

Boys whose good breeding is innate,

Whose sums are always right;

And boys who don’t expostulate

When sent to bed at night;

And kindly boys who never search

The nests of birds of song;

And serious boys for whom, in church,

No sermon is too long.

Contrast with James’s greedy haste

And comprehensive hand,

The nice discriminating taste

Of Applebody Bland.

Bland only eats bad boys, who swear—

Who can behave, but don’t

Disgraceful lads who say “don’t care,”

And “shan’t,” and “can’t,” and “won’t.”

Who wet their shoes and learn to box,

And say what isn’t true,

Who bite their nails and jam their frocks,

And make long noses too;


drawing: man with large curved knife listening behind a wall to nurse scolding child

Who kick a nurse’s aged shin,

And sit in sulky mopes;

And boys who twirl poor kittens in

Distracting zoëtropes.

But James, before he grew so big,

Had often been to school,

And though, of course, a reckless pig,

He wasn’t quite a fool.

At logic few with him could vie;

To his peculiar sect

He could propose a fallacy

With singular effect.

So, when his Mentors said, “You hound,

Why eat good children—why?”

Upon his Mentors he would round

With this absurd reply:


“I have been taught to love the good—

The pure—the unalloyed—

And wicked boys, I’ve understood,

I always should avoid.

“Why do I eat good children—why?

Because I love them so!”

(But this was empty sophistry,

As your Papa can show.)

Now, though the learning of his friends

Was truly not immense,

They had a way of fitting ends

By rule of common sense.

“Away, away!” his Mentors cried,

“Thou uncongenial pest!

A quirk’s a thing we can’t abide,

A quibble we detest!

“A fallacy in your reply

Our intellect descries,

Although we don’t pretend to spy

Exactly where it lies.

“In misery, unworthy son,

Must end a glutton’s joys;

And learn how ogres punish one

Who dares to eat good boys.

“Secured by fetter, cramp, and chain,

And gagged securely—so—

You shall be placed in Drury Lane,

Where only good lads go.


drawing: gagged man in a pit

“Surrounded there by virtuous boys.

You’ll suffer torture wus

Than that which constantly annoys

Disgraceful Tantalus.

(“If you would learn the woes that vex

Poor Tantalus, down there,

Pray borrow of Papa an ex-

Purgated Lemprière.)

“But as for Applebody Bland,

Who only eats the bad,

A fitting recompense we’ve planned

For that deserving lad.


“Where naughty boys in crowds are stowed

He shall unquestioned rule,

And have the run of Hackney Road

Reformatory School.”

drawing: man with curved knife holding tiny struggling man


drawing: man throwing coal scuttle at woman by a piano


EARL JOYCE he was a kind old party

Whom nothing ever could put out,

Though eighty-two, he still was hearty,

Excepting as regarded gout.

He had one unexampled daughter,

The Lady Minnie-haha Joyce,

Fair Minnie-haha, “Laughing Water,”

So called from her melodious voice.

By Nature planned for lover-capture,

Her beauty every heart assailed;

The good old nobleman with rapture

Observed how widely she prevailed.


Aloof from all the lordly flockings

Of titled swells who worshipped her,

There stood, in pumps and cotton stockings,

One humble lover—Oliver.

He was no peer by Fortune petted,

His name recalled no bygone age;

He was no lordling coronetted—

Alas! he was a simple page!

With vain appeals he never bored her,

But stood in silent sorrow by—

He knew how fondly he adored her,

And knew, alas! how hopelessly!

Well grounded by a village tutor

In languages alive and past,

He’d say unto himself, “Knee-suitor,

Oh, do not go beyond your last!”

But though his name could boast no handle,

He could not every hope resign;

As moths will hover round a candle,

So hovered he about her shrine.

The brilliant candle dazed the moth well:

One day she sang to her Papa

The air that Marie sings with Bothwell

In Neidermeyer’s opera.

(Therein a stable boy, it’s stated,

Devoutly loved a noble dame,

And that the dame reciprocated

His rather injudicious flame.)


drawing: boy listening gleefully at keyhole

And then, before the piano closing

(He listened coyly at the door)

She sang a song of her composing—

I give one verse from half a score:


Why, pretty page, art ever sighing?

Is sorrow in thy heartlet lying?

Come, set a-ringing

Thy laugh entrancing,

And ever singing

And ever dancing.

Ever singing, Tra! la! la!

Ever dancing, Tra! la! la!

Ever singing, ever dancing,

Ever singing, Tra! la! la!

He skipped for joy like little muttons,

He danced like Esmeralda’s kid

(She did not mean a boy in buttons,

Although he fancied that she did).


Poor lad! convinced he thus would win her,

He wore out many pairs of soles;

He danced when taking down the dinner—

He danced when bringing up the coals.

He danced and sang (however laden)

With his incessant “Tra! la! la!”

Which much surprised the noble maiden,

And puzzled even her Papa.

drawing: man standing behind jumping boy

He nourished now his flame and fanned it,

He even danced at work below.

At length the servants wouldn’t stand it,

And Bowles the butler told him so.

At length on impulse acting blindly,

His love he laid completely bare;

The gentle Earl received him kindly,

And told the lad to take a chair.


“Oh, sir,” the suitor uttered sadly,

“Don’t give your indignation vent;

I fear you think I’m acting madly,

Perhaps you think me insolent?”

The kindly Earl repelled the notion;

His noble bosom heaved a sigh,

His fingers trembled with emotion,

A tear stood in his mild blue eye.

For, oh! the scene recalled too plainly

The half-forgotten time when he,

A boy of nine, had worshipped vainly

A governess of forty-three!

“My boy,” he said, his hands still wringing,

“Give up this idle fancy—do—

The ballad that you heard her singing

Did not, indeed, refer to you.

“I feel for you, poor boy, acutely;

I would not wish to give you pain;

Your pangs I estimate minutely,—

I, too, have loved, and loved in vain.

“But still your humble rank and station

For Minnie surely are not meet”—

He said much more in conversation

Which it were needless to repeat.

drawing: fat man in armchair talking to weeping boy in a straight chair

Now I’m prepared to bet a guinea,

Were this a mere dramatic case,

The page would have eloped with Minnie,

But, no—he only left his place.


The simple Truth is my detective,

With me Sensation can’t abide;

The Likely beats the mere Effective,

And Nature is my only guide.


drawing: man in a cape holding a tambourine


A PROUD Pasha was Bailey Ben,

His wives were three, his tails were ten,

His form was dignified, but stout,

Men called him “Little Roundabout.”

His Importance.

Pale Pilgrims came from o’er the sea

To wait on Pasha Bailey B.,

All bearing presents in a crowd,

For B. was poor as well as proud.


His Presents.

They brought him onions strung on ropes,

And cold boiled beef, and telescopes,

And balls of string, and shrimps, and guns,

And chops, and tacks, and hats, and buns.

More of them.

They brought him white kid gloves, and pails,

And candlesticks, and potted quails,

And capstan-bars, and scales and weights,

And ornaments for empty grates.

Why I mention these.

My tale is not of these—oh, no!

I only mention them to show

The divers gifts that divers men

Brought o’er the sea to Bailey Ben.

His Confidant.

A confidant had Bailey B.,

A gay Mongolian dog was he;

I am not good at Turkish names,

And so I call him Simple James.

His Confidant’s Countenance.

A dreadful legend you might trace

In Simple James’s honest face,

For there you read, in Nature’s print,

“A Scoundrel of the Deepest Tint.”


His Character.

A deed of blood, or fire, or flames,

Was meat and drink to Simple James!

To hide his guilt he did not plan,

But owned himself a bad young man.

drawing: man in spiked helmet holding a curved knife


The Author to his Reader.

And why on earth good Bailey Ben

(The wisest, noblest, best of men)

Made Simple James his right-hand man

Is quite beyond my mental span.

The same, continued.

But there—enough of gruesome deeds!

My heart, in thinking of them, bleeds

And so let Simple James take wing,—

’Tis not of him I’m going to sing.

The Pasha’s Clerk.

Good Pasha Bailey kept a clerk

(For Bailey only made his mark),

His name was Matthew Wycombe Coo,

A man of nearly forty-two.

His Accomplishments.

No person that I ever knew

Could “yödel” half as well as Coo;

And Highlanders exclaimed, “Ah, weel!”

When Coo began to dance a reel.

His Kindness to the Pasha’s Wives.

He used to dance and sing and play

In such an unaffected way,

He cheered the unexciting lives

Of Pasha Bailey’s lovely wives.


drawing: pasha in turban looking happily at dancing man and three modest women

The Author to his Reader.

But why should I encumber you

With histories of Matthew Coo?

Let Matthew Coo at once take wing,—

’Tis not of Coo I’m going to sing.

The Author’s Muse.

Let me recall my wandering Muse;

She shall be steady if I choose—

She roves, instead of helping me

To tell the deeds of Bailey B.

One morning knocked, at half-past eight,

A tall Red Indian at his gate.

In Turkey, as you’re p’raps aware,

Red Indians are extremely rare.


Mocassins decked his graceful legs,

His eyes were black, and round as eggs,

And on his neck, instead of beads,

Hung several Catawampous seeds.

“Ho, ho!” he said, “thou pale-faced one,

Poor offspring of an Eastern sun,

You’ve never seen the Red Man skip

Upon the banks of Mississip!”

To say that Bailey oped his eyes

Would feebly paint his great surprise—

To say it almost made him die

Would be to paint it much too high.

But why should I ransack my head

To tell you all that Indian said

We’ll let the Indian man take wing,—

’Tis not of him I’m going to sing.

The Reader to the Author.

Come, come, I say, that’s quite enough

Of this absurd disjointed stuff;

Now let’s get on to that affair

About Lieutenant-Colonel Flare.


drawing: man playing cat’s-cradle


THE earth has armies plenty,

And semi-warlike bands,

I dare say there are twenty

In European lands;

But, oh! in no direction

You’d find one to compare

In brotherly affection

With that of Colonel Flare.

His soldiers might be rated

As military Pearls:

As unsophisticated

As pretty little girls!


They never smoked or ratted,

Or talked of Sues or Polls;

The Sergeant-Major tatted,

The others nursed their dolls.

He spent the days in teaching

These truly solemn facts:

There’s little use in preaching,

Or circulating tracts.

(The vainest plan invented

For laying other creeds,

Unless it’s supplemented

With charitable deeds.)

He taught his soldiers kindly

To give at Hunger’s call:

“Oh, better far give blindly

Than never give at all!

Though sympathy be kindled

By Imposition’s game,

Oh, better far be swindled

Than smother up its flame!”

His means were far from ample

For pleasure or for dress,

Yet note this bright example

Of single-heartedness:

Though ranking as a Colonel,

His pay was but a groat,

While their reward diurnal

Was—each a five-pound note.


Moreover,—this evinces

His kindness, you’ll allow,—

He fed them all like princes,

And lived himself on cow.

He set them all regaling

On curious wines, and dear,

While he would sit pale-ale-ing

Or quaffing ginger-beer.

Then at his instigation

(A pretty fancy this)

Their daily pay and ration

They’d always change for his;

They brought it to him weekly,

And he without a groan

Would take it from them meekly,

And give them all his own!

Though not exactly knighted

As knights, of course, should be,

Yet no one so delighted

In harmless chivalry.

If peasant girl or ladye

Beneath misfortunes sank,

Whatever distinctions made he,

They were not those of rank.

No maiden young and comely

Who wanted good advice

(However poor or homely)

Need ask him for it twice.


He’d wipe away the blindness

That comes of teary dew;

His sympathetic kindness

No sort of limit knew.

drawing: man and woman facing each other with downcast eyes

He always hated dealing

With men who schemed or planned

A person harsh—unfeeling—

The Colonel could not stand.

He hated cold, suspecting,

Official men in blue,

Who pass their lives detecting

The crimes that others do.

For men who’d shoot a sparrow,

Or immolate a worm

Beneath a farmers harrow,

He could not find a term.


Humanely, ay, and knightly

He dealt with such an one;

He took and tied him tightly,

And blew him from a gun.

drawing: man preparing to fire a cannon at man tied to a stake

The earth has armies plenty,

And semi-warlike bands,

I’m certain there are twenty

In European lands;

But, oh! in no direction

You’d find one to compare

In brotherly affection

With that of Colonel Flare.


drawing: man resting his head in a woman’s lap


MR. BLAKE was a regular out-and-out hardened sinner,

Who was quite out of the pale of Christianity, so to speak.

He was in the habit of smoking a long pipe and drinking a glass of grog on Sunday after dinner,

And seldom thought of going to church more than twice or—if Good Friday or Christmas Day happened to come in it—three times a week.

He was quite indifferent as to the special kinds of dresses

That the clergyman wore at the church where he used to go to pray,

And whatever he did in the way of relieving a chap’s distresses,

He always did in a sneaking, underhanded, hole-and-corner sort of way.


I have known him indulge in profane, ungentlemanly emphatics,

When the Protestant Church has been divided on the subject of the width of a chasuble’s hem;

I have even known him to sneer at albs—and as for dalmatics,

Words can’t convey an idea of the contempt he expressed for them.

He didn’t believe in persons who, not being well off themselves, are obliged to confine their charitable exertions to collecting money from wealthier people,

And looked upon individuals of the former class as ecclesiastical hawks;

He used to say that he would no more think of interfering with his priest’s robes than with his church or his steeple,

And that he did not consider his soul imperilled because somebody over whom he had no influence whatever, chose to dress himself up like an exaggerated Guy Fawkes.

This shocking old vagabond was so unutterably shameless

That he actually went a-courting a very respectable and pious middle-aged sister, by the name of Biggs.

She was a rather attractive widow, whose life as such had always been particularly blameless;

Her first husband had left her a secure but moderate competence owing to some fortunate speculations in the matter of figs.


She was an excellent person in every way—and won the respect even of Mrs. Grundy,

She was a good housewife, too, and wouldn’t have wasted a penny if she had owned the Koh-i-noor.

She was just as strict as he was lax in her observance of Sunday,

And being a good economist, and charitable besides, she took all the bones and cold potatoes and broken pie-crusts and candle-ends (when she had quite done with them), and made them into an excellent soup for the deserving poor.

I am sorry to say that she rather took to Blake—that outcast of society,

And when respectable brothers who were fond of her began to look dubious and to cough,

She would say, “Oh, my friends, it’s because I hope to bring this poor benighted soul back to virtue and propriety,”

And besides, the poor benighted soul, with all his faults, was uncommonly well off.

And when Mr. Blake’s dissipated friends called his attention to the frown or the pout of her,

Whenever he did anything which appeared to her to savour of an unmentionable place,

He would say she would be a very decent old girl when all that nonsense was knocked out of her,

And his method of knocking it out of her is one that covered him with disgrace.


She was fond of going to church services four times every Sunday, and four or five times in the week, and never seemed to pall of them,

So he hunted out all the churches within a convenient distance that had services at different hours, so to speak;

And when he had married her he positively insisted upon their going to all of them,

So they contrived to do about twelve churches every Sunday, and, if they had luck, from twenty-two to twenty-three in the course of the week.

She was fond of dropping his sovereigns ostentatiously into the plate, and she liked to see them stand out rather conspicuously against the commonplace half-crowns and shillings,

So he took her to all the charity sermons, and if by any extraordinary chance there wasn’t a charity sermon anywhere, he would drop a couple of sovereigns (one for him and one for her) into the poor-box at the door;

And as he always deducted the sums thus given in charity from the housekeeping money, and the money he allowed her for her bonnets and frillings,

She soon began to find that even charity, if you allow it to interfere with your personal luxuries, becomes an intolerable bore.

drawing: man and woman sitting side by side on a pew

On Sundays she was always melancholy and anything but good society,

For that day in her household was a day of sighings and sobbings and wringing of hands and shaking of heads:


She wouldn’t hear of a button being sewn on a glove, because it was a work neither of necessity nor of piety,

And strictly prohibited her servants from amusing themselves, or indeed doing anything at all except dusting the drawing-rooms, cleaning the boots and shoes, cooking the dinner, waiting generally on the family, and making the beds.

But Blake even went further than that, and said that people should do their own works of necessity, and not delegate them to persons in a menial situation,

So he wouldn’t allow his servants to do so much as even answer a bell.

Here he is making his wife carry up the water for her bath to the second floor, much against her inclination,—

And why in the world the gentleman who illustrates these ballads has put him in a cocked hat is more than I can tell.


drawing: man startling his wife beside a bucket

After about three months of this sort of thing, taking the smooth with the rough of it

(Blacking her own boots and peeling her own potatoes was not her notion of connubial bliss),

Mrs. Blake began to find that she had pretty nearly had enough of it,

And came, in course of time, to think that Blake’s own original line of conduct wasn’t so much amiss.

And now that wicked person—that detestable sinner (“Belial Blake” his friends and well-wishers call him for his atrocities),

And his poor deluded victim whom all her Christian brothers dislike and pity so,

Go to the parish church only on Sunday morning and afternoon and occasionally on a week-day, and spend their evenings in connubial fondlings and affectionate reciprocities,

And I should like to know where in the world (or rather, out of it) they expect to go!


drawing: one baby between two cradles


WEARY at heart and extremely ill

Was Paley Vollaire of Bromptonville.

In a dirty lodging, with fever down,

Close to the Polygon, Somers Town.

Paley Vollaire was an only son

(For why? His mother had had but one),

And Paley herited gold and grounds

Worth several hundred thousand pounds.

But he, like many a rich young man,

Through this magnificent fortune ran,

And nothing was left for his daily needs

But duplicate copies of mortgage-deeds.

Shabby and sorry and sorely sick,

He slept, and dreamt that the clock’s “tick, tick,”

Was one of the Fates, with a long sharp knife,

Snicking off bits of his shortened life.


He woke and counted the pips on the walls,

The outdoor passengers’ loud footfalls,

And reckoned all over, and reckoned again,

The little white tufts on his counterpane.

A medical man to his bed-side came

(I can’t remember that doctor’s name),

And said, “You’ll die in a very short while

If you don’t set sail for Madeira’s isle.”

“Go to Madeira? goodness me!

I haven’t the money to pay your fee!”

“Then, Paley Vollaire,” said the leech, “good bye;

I’ll come no more, for you’re sure to die.”

He sighed and he groaned and smote his breast;

“Oh, send,” said he, “for Frederick West,

Ere senses fade or my eyes grow dim:

I’ve a terrible tale to whisper him!”

Poor was Frederick’s lot in life,—

A dustman he with a fair young wife,

A worthy man with a hard-earned store,

A hundred and seventy pounds—or more.

Frederick came, and he said, “Maybe

You’ll say what you happen to want with me?”

“Wronged boy,” said Paley Vollaire, “I will,

But don’t you fidget yourself—sit still.


drawing: old ill man in an armchair listening to another man’s story

“’T is now some thirty-seven years ago

Since first began the plot that I’m revealing,

A fine young woman, whom you ought to know,

Lived with her husband down in Drum Lane, Ealing.

Herself by means of mangling reimbursing,

And now and then (at intervals) wet-nursing.

“Two little babes dwelt in her humble cot:

One was her own—the other only lent to her:

Her own she slighted. Tempted by a lot

Of gold and silver regularly sent to her,

She ministered unto the little other

In the capacity of foster-mother.

I was her own. Oh! how I lay and sobbed

In my poor cradle—deeply, deeply cursing

The rich man’s pampered bantling, who had robbed

My only birthright—an attentive nursing!

Sometimes, in hatred of my foster-brother,

I gnashed my gums—which terrified my mother.


drawing: woman between two cradles, with one baby in her arms and another sulking in its cradle

“One day—it was quite early in the week—

I in my cradle having placed the bantling—

Crept into his! He had not learnt to speak,

But I could see his face with anger mantling.

It was imprudent—well, disgraceful maybe,

For, oh! I was a bad, black-hearted baby!

“So great a luxury was food, I think

No wickedness but I was game to try for it.

Now if I wanted anything to drink

At any time, I only had to cry for it!

Once, if I dared to weep, the bottle lacking,

My blubbering involved a serious smacking!

“We grew up in the usual way—my friend,

My foster-brother, daily growing thinner,

While gradually I began to mend,

And thrived amazingly on double dinner.

And every one, besides my foster-mother,

Believed that either of us was the other.

“I came into his wealth—I bore his name,

I bear it still—his property I squandered—

I mortgaged everything—and now (oh, shame!)

Into a Somers Town shake-down I’ve wandered!


I am no Paley—no Vollaire—it’s true, my boy

The only rightful Paley V. is you, my boy!

“And all I have is yours—and yours is mine.

I still may place you in your true position:

Give me the pounds you’ve saved, and I’ll resign

My noble name, my rank, and my condition.

So far my wickedness in falsely owning

Your vasty wealth, I am at last atoning!”

* * * * *

Frederick he was a simple soul,

He pulled from his pocket a bulky roll,

And gave to Paley his hard-earned store,

A hundred and seventy pounds or more!

Paley Vollaire, with many a groan,

Gave Frederick all that he’d called his own,—

Two shirts and a sock, and a vest of jean,

A Wellington boot and a bamboo cane.

And Fred (entitled to all things there)

He took the fever from Mr. Vollaire,

Which killed poor Frederick West. Meanwhile

Vollaire sailed off to Madeira’s isle.


drawing: man sitting in a window overlooking two mermaids


I SING a legend of the sea,

So hard-a-port upon your lee!

A ship on starboard tack!

She’s bound upon a private cruise—

(This is the kind of spice I use

To give a salt-sea smack).


Behold, on every afternoon

(Save in a gale or strong Monsoon)

Great Captain Capel Cleggs

(Great morally, though rather short)

Sat at an open weather-port

And aired his shapely legs.

And Mermaids hung around in flocks,

On cable chains and distant rocks,

To gaze upon those limbs;

For legs like those, of flesh and bone,

Are things “not generally known”

To any Merman Timbs.

But Mermen didn’t seem to care

Much time (as far as I’m aware)

With Cleggs’s legs to spend;

Though Mermaids swam around all day

And gazed, exclaiming, “That’s the way

A gentleman should end!

“A pair of legs with well-cut knees

And calves and ankles such as these

Which we in rapture hail,

Are far more eloquent, it’s clear,

When clothed in silk and kerseymere,

Than any nasty tail.”

And Cleggs—a worthy kind old boy—

Rejoiced to add to others’ joy,

And (though he scarce knew why)

Because it pleased the lookers-on,

He sat there every day—though con-

Stitutionally shy.


At first the Mermen laughed a few,

But finally they jealous grew,

And sounded loud recalls;

But vainly. So these fishy males

Declared they too would clothe their tails

In silken hose and smalls.

They set to work, these water-men,

And made their nether robes—but when

They drew with dainty touch

The kerseymere upon their tails,

They found it scraped against their scales,

And hurt them very much.

The silk, besides, with which they chose

To deck their tails, by way of hose

(They never thought of shoon),

For such a use was much too thin,—

It tore against the caudal fin

And “went in ladders” soon.

So they designed another plan:

They sent their most seductive man

This note to him to show—

“Our Monarch sends to Captain Cleggs

His humble compliments, and begs

He’ll join him down below;

“We’ve pleasant homes below the sea—

Besides, if Captain Cleggs should be

(As our advices say)

A judge of Mermaids, he will find

Our lady-fish of every kind

Inspection will repay.”


Good Capel sent a kind reply,

For Capel thought he could descry

An admirable plan

To study all their ways and laws—

(But not their lady-fish, because

He was a married man).

drawing: diving mermaid with tail aloft

The Merman sank—the Captain too

Jumped overboard, and dropped from view

Like stone from catapult;

And when he reached the Merman’s lair

He certainly was welcomed there,

But, ah! with what result?

They didn’t let him learn their law,

Or make a note of what he saw,

Or interesting mem.:


The lady-fish he couldn’t find,

But that, of course, he didn’t mind—

He didn’t come for them.

For though, when Captain Capel sank,

The Mermen drawn in double rank

Gave him a hearty hail;

Yet when secure of Captain Cleggs,

They cut off both his lovely legs,

And gave him such a tail!

drawing: man sitting in a chair pointing out his fishtail to an officer

When Captain Cleggs returned aboard,

His blithesome crew convulsive roar’d,

To see him altered so.

The Admiralty did insist

That he upon the Half-pay List

Immediately should go.


In vain declared the poor old salt,

“It’s my misfortune—not my fault,”

With tear and trembling lip—

In vain poor Capel begged and begged.

“A man must be completely legged

Who rules a British ship.”

So spake the stern First Lord aloud—

He was a wag, though very proud,

And much rejoiced to say,

“You’re only half a captain now—

And so, my worthy friend, I vow

You’ll only get half-pay!”


drawing: man walking with his arm around a woman

A Legend of Stratford-le-Bow.

OH! listen to the tale of little Annie Protheroe.

She kept a small post-office in the neighbourhood of Bow;

She loved a skilled mechanic, who was famous in his day—

A gentle executioner whose name was Gilbert Clay.

I think I hear you say, “A dreadful subject for your rhymes!”

O reader, do not shrink—he didn’t live in modern times!


He lived so long ago (the sketch will show it at a glance)

That all his actions glitter with the lime-light of Romance.

In busy times he laboured at his gentle craft all day—

“No doubt you mean his Cal-craft” you amusingly will say—

But, no—he didn’t operate with common bits of string,

He was a Public Headsman, which is quite another thing.

And when his work was over, they would ramble o’er the lea,

And sit beneath the frondage of an elderberry tree.

And Annie’s simple prattle entertained him on his walk,

For public executions formed the subject of her talk.

And sometimes he’d explain to her, which charmed her very much,

How famous operators vary very much in touch,

And then, perhaps, he’d show how he himself performed the trick,

And illustrate his meaning with a poppy and a stick.

Or, if it rained, the little maid would stop at home, and look

At his favourable notices, all pasted in a book,

And then her cheek would flush—her swimming eyes would dance with joy

In a glow of admiration at the prowess of her boy.


One summer eve, at supper-time, the gentle Gilbert said

(As he helped his pretty Annie to a slice of collared head),

“This reminds me I must settle on the next ensuing day

The hash of that unmitigated villain Peter Gray.”

He saw his Annie tremble and he saw his Annie start,

Her changing colour trumpeted the flutter at her heart;

Young Gilbert’s manly bosom rose and sank with jealous fear,

And he said, “O gentle Annie, what’s the meaning of this here?”

drawing: man recoiling from table as young woman scolds him

And Annie answered, blushing in an interesting way,

“You think, no doubt, I’m sighing for that felon Peter Gray:

That I was his young woman is unquestionably true,

But not since I began a-keeping company with you.”


Then Gilbert, who was irritable, rose and loudly swore

He’d know the reason why if she refused to tell him more;

And she answered (all the woman in her flashing from her eyes),

“You mustn’t ask no questions, and you won’t be told no lies!

“Few lovers have the privilege enjoyed, my dear, by you,

Of chopping off a rival’s head and quartering him too!

Of vengeance, dear, to-morrow you will surely take your fill!”

And Gilbert ground his molars as he answered her, “I will!”

Young Gilbert rose from table with a stern determined look,

And, frowning, took an inexpensive hatchet from its hook;

And Annie watched his movements with an interested air—

For the morrow—for the morrow he was going to prepare!

He chipped it with a hammer and he chopped it with a bill,

He poured sulphuric acid on the edge of it, until

This terrible Avenger of the Majesty of Law

Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.


And Annie said, “O Gilbert, dear, I do not understand

Why ever you are injuring that hatchet in your hand?”

He said, “It is intended for to lacerate and flay

The neck of that unmitigated villain Peter Gray!”

drawing: long axe with jagged edge

“Now Gilbert,” Annie answered, “wicked headsman, just beware—

I won’t have Peter tortured with that horrible affair;

If you appear with that, you may depend you’ll rue the day.”

But Gilbert said, “Oh, shall I?” which was just his nasty way.

He saw a look of anger from her eyes distinctly dart,

For Annie was a woman, and had pity in her heart!

She wished him a good evening—he answered with a glare;

She only said, “Remember, for your Annie will be there!”

* * * * * *

The morrow Gilbert boldly on the scaffold took his stand,

With a vizor on his face and with a hatchet in his hand,


And all the people noticed that the Engine of the Law

Was far less like a hatchet than a dissipated saw.

The felon very coolly loosed his collar and his stock,

And placed his wicked head upon the handy little block.

The hatchet was uplifted for to settle Peter Gray,

When Gilbert plainly heard a woman’s voice exclaiming, “Stay!”

drawing: woman showing a stay of execution as headsman is about to chop off a man’s head

’Twas Annie, gentle Annie, as you’ll easily believe.

“O Gilbert, you must spare him, for I bring him a reprieve,

It came from our Home Secretary many weeks ago,

And passed through that post-office which I used to keep at Bow.

“I loved you, loved you madly, and you know it, Gilbert Clay,

And as I’d quite surrendered all idea of Peter Gray,


I quietly suppressed it, as you’ll clearly understand,

For I thought it might be awkward if he came and claimed my hand.

“In anger at my secret (which I could not tell before)

To lacerate poor Peter Gray vindictively you swore;

I told you if you used that blunted axe you’d rue the day,

And so you will, old fellow, for I’ll marry Peter Gray!”

And so she did.


drawing: man in modern dress looking just like William Shakespeare


I’VE painted Shakespeare all my life—

“An infant” (even then at play!)

“A boy,” with stage-ambition rife,

Then “Married to Ann Hathaway.”

“The bard’s first ticket night” (or “ben.”),

His “First appearance on the stage,”

His “Call before the curtain”—then

“Rejoicings when he came of age.”


The bard play-writing in his room,

The bard a humble lawyer’s clerk,

The bard a lawyer1—parson2—groom3

The bard deer-stealing, after dark.

The bard a tradesman4—and a Jew5

The bard a botanist6—a beak7

The bard a skilled musician8 too—

A sheriff9 and a surgeon10 eke!

1 “Go with me to a Notary—seal me there

Your single bond.”

Merchant of Venice, Act I, sc. 3.

2 “And there shall she, at Friar Lawrence’ cell.

Be shrived and married.”

Romeo and Juliet, Act II., sc. 4.

3 “And give their fasting horses provender.”

Henry the Fifth, Act IV., sc. 2.

4 “Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares.”

Troilus and Cressida, Act I., sc. 3.

5 “Then must the Jew be merciful.”

Merchant of Venice, Act IV., sc. 1.

6 “The spring, the summer,

The childing autumn, angry winter, change

Their wonted liveries.”

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act IV., sc. 1.

7 “In the county of Glo’ster, justice of the peace and coram.”

Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I., sc. 1.

8 “What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us?”

King John, Act V., sc. 2.

9 “And I’ll provide his executioner.”

Henry the Sixth (Second Part), Act III., sc. 1.

10 “The lioness had torn some flesh away,

Which all this while had bled.”

As You Like It, Act IV., sc. 3

Yet critics say (a friendly stock)

That, though it’s evident I try,

Yet even I can barely mock

The glimmer of his wondrous eye!

One morning as a work I framed,

There passed a person, walking hard:

“My gracious goodness,” I exclaimed,

“How very like my dear old bard!


“Oh, what a model he would make!”

I rushed outside—impulsive me!—

“Forgive the liberty I take,

But you’re so very”—“Stop!” said he.

“You needn’t waste your breath or time,—

I know what you are going to say,—

That you’re an artist, and that I’m

Remarkably like Shakespeare. Eh?

“You wish that I would sit to you?”

I clasped him madly round the waist,

And breathlessly replied, “I do!”

“All right,” said he, “but please make haste.”

I led him by his hallowed sleeve,

And worked away at him apace,

I painted him till dewy eve,—

There never was a nobler face!

“Oh, sir,” I said, “a fortune grand

Is yours, by dint of merest chance,—

To sport his brow at second-hand,

To wear his cast-off countenance!

“To rub his eyes whene’er they ache—

To wear his baldness ere you’re old—

To clean his teeth when you awake—

To blow his nose when you’ve a cold!”

His eyeballs glistened in his eyes—

I sat and watched and smoked my pipe;

“Bravo!” I said, “I recognize

The phrensy of your prototype!”


His scanty hair he wildly tore:

“That’s right,” said I, “it shows your breed.”

He danced—he stamped—he wildly swore—

“Bless me, that’s very fine indeed!”

“Sir,” said the grand Shakesperian boy

(Continuing to blaze away),

“You think my face a source of joy;

That shows you know not what you say.

“Forgive these yells and cellar-flaps,

I’m always thrown in some such state

When on his face well-meaning chaps

This wretched man congratulate.

drawing: two men whispering on a bench about third man who looks just like William Shakespeare

“For, oh! this face—this pointed chin—

This nose—this brow—these eyeballs too,

Have always been the origin

Of all the woes I ever knew!


“If to the play my way I find,

To see a grand Shakesperian piece,

I have no rest, no ease of mind

Until the author’s puppets cease!

“Men nudge each other—thus—and say,

‘This certainly is Shakespeare’s son,’

And merry wags (of course in play)

Cry ‘Author!’ when the piece is done.

“In church the people stare at me,

Their soul the sermon never binds;

I catch them looking round to see,

And thoughts of Shakespeare fill their minds.

“And sculptors, fraught with cunning wile,

Who find it difficult to crown

A bust with Brown’s insipid smile,

Or Tomkins’s unmannered frown,

“Yet boldly make my face their own,

When (oh, presumption!) they require

To animate a paving-stone

With Shakespeare’s intellectual fire.

“At parties where young ladies gaze,

And I attempt to speak my joy,

‘Hush, pray,’ some lovely creature says,

‘The fond illusion don’t destroy!’

drawing: man who looks just like William Shakespeare sitting with two young women

“Whene’er I speak my soul is wrung

With these or some such whisperings;

‘’Tis pity that a Shakespeare’s tongue

Should say such un-Shakesperian things!’


“I should not thus be criticised

Had I a face of common wont:

Don’t envy me—now, be advised!”

And, now I think of it, I don’t!


drawing: man looking at a dancing woman


A LEAFY cot, where no dry rot

Had ever been by tenant seen,

Where ivy clung and wopses stung,

Where beeses hummed and drummed and strummed,

Where treeses grew and breezes blew—

A thatchy roof, quite waterproof,

Where countless herds of dickybirds

Built twiggy beds to lay their heads

(My mother begs I’ll make it “eggs,”

But though it’s true that dickies do

Construct a nest with chirpy noise,

With view to rest their eggy joys,

’Neath eavy sheds, yet eggs and beds,

As I explain to her in vain

Five hundred times, are faulty rhymes).


’Neath such a cot, built on a plot

Of freehold land, dwelt Mary and

Her worthy father, named by me

Gregory Parable, LL.D.

He knew no guile, this simple man,

No wordly wile, or plot, or plan,

Except that plot of freehold land

That held the cot, and Mary, and

Her worthy father, named by me

Gregory Parable, LL.D.

A grave and learned scholar he,

Yet simple as a child could be.

He’d shirk his meal to sit and cram

A goodish deal of Eton Gram.

No man alive could him nonplus

With vocative of filius.

No man alive more fully knew

The passive of a verb or two.

None better knew the worth than he

Of words that end in b, d, t.

Upon his green in early spring

He might be seen endeavouring

To understand the hooks and crooks

Of Henry and his Latin books,

Or calling for his “Cæsar on

The Gallic War,” like any don.

Or, p’raps, expounding unto all

How mythic Balbus built a wall.

So lived the sage who’s named by me

Gregory Parable, LL.D.


To him one autumn day there came

A lovely youth of mystic name,

He took a lodging in the house,

And fell a-dodging snipe and grouse,

For, oh! that mild scholastic one

Let shooting for a single gun.

By three or four, when sport was o’er,

The Mystic One laid by his gun,

And made sheep’s eyes of giant size,

Till after tea, at Mary P.

And Mary P. (so kind was she),

She, too, made eyes of giant size,

Whose every dart right through the heart

Appeared to run that Mystic One.

The Doctor’s whim engrossing him,

He did not know they flirted so.

For, save at tea, “musa musæ,”

As I’m advised, monopolized

And rendered blind his giant mind.

But looking up above his cup

One afternoon, he saw them spoon.

“Aha!” quoth he, “you naughty lass!

As quaint old Ovid says, ‘Amas!’”

The Mystic Youth avowed the truth,

And, claiming ruth, he said, “In sooth

I love your daughter, aged man:

Refuse to join us if you can.

Treat not my offer, sir, with scorn,

I’m wealthy though I’m lowly born.”

“Young sir,” the aged scholar said,

“I never thought you meant to wed:


Engrossed completely with my books,

I little noticed lovers’ looks.

I’ve lived so long away from man,

I do not know of any plan

By which to test a lover’s worth,

Except, perhaps, the test of birth.

I’ve half forgotten in this wild

A father’s duty to his child.

It is his place, I think it’s said,

To see his daughters richly wed

To dignitaries of the earth,

If possible, of noble birth.

drawing: elderly man offering his daughter to a nobleman

If noble birth is not at hand,

A father may, I understand

(And this affords a chance for you),

Be satisfied to wed her to

A Boucicault or Baring—which

Means any one who’s jolly rich.


Now, there’s an Earl who lives hard by,—

Come, Mary, we will go and try

If he would like to marry thee,

If not, thy bride the maid shall be.”

They sought the Earl that very day;

The sage began to say his say.

The Earl (a very wicked man,

Whose face bore Vice’s blackest ban)

Cut short the scholar’s simple tale,

And said in voice to make them quail,

“Pooh! go along! you’re drunk, no doubt—

Here, Peters, turn these people out!”

The Sage, rebuffed in mode uncouth,

Returning, met the Mystic Youth.

“My darling boy,” the Scholar said,

“Take Mary—blessings on your head!”

drawing: man displaying long pedigree for young woman to read


The Mystic Boy undid his vest,

And took a parchment from his breast,

And said, “Now, by that noble brow,

I ne’er knew father such as thou!

The sterling rule of common sense

Now reaps its proper recompense.

Rejoice, my soul’s unequalled Queen,

For I am Duke of Gretna Green!”


drawing: English sailor bowing to African couple


THE story of Frederick Gowler,

A mariner of the sea,

Who quitted his ship, the Howler,

A-sailing in Caribbee.

For many a day he wandered,

Till he met in a state of rum

Calamity Pop Von Peppermint Drop,

The King of Canoodle-Dum.

That monarch addressed him gaily,

“Hum! Golly de do to-day?

Hum! Lily-white Buckra Sailee”—

(You notice his playful way?)—


“What dickens you doin’ here, sar?

Why debbil you want to come?

Hum! Picaninnee, dere isn’t no sea

In City Canoodle-Dum!”

And Gowler he answered sadly,

“Oh, mine is a doleful tale!

They’ve treated me wery badly

In Lunnon, from where I hail.

I’m one of the Family Royal—

No common Jack Tar you see;

I’m William the Fourth, far up in the North,

A King in my own countree!”

Bang-bang! How the tom-toms thundered!

Bang-bang! How they thumped the gongs!

Bang-bang! How the people wondered!

Bang-bang! At it, hammer and tongs!

Alliance with Kings of Europe

Is an honour Canoodlers seek,

Her monarchs don’t stop with Peppermint Drop

Every day in the week!

Fred told them that he was undone,

For his people all went insane,

And fired the Tower of London,

And Grinnidge’s Naval Fane.

And some of them racked St. James’s,

And vented their rage upon

The Church of St. Paul, the Fishmongers’ Hall,

And the Angel at Islington.


Calamity Pop implored him

To stop with him—yes, remain

Till those people of his restored him

To power and rank again.

Calamity Pop he made him

A Prince of Canoodle-Dum,

With a couple of caves, some beautiful slaves,

And the run of the royal rum.

Pop gave him his only daughter,

Hum Pickety Wimple Tip:

Fred vowed that if over the water

He went, in an English ship,

He’d make her his Queen,—though truly

It is an unusual thing

For a Caribbee brat who’s as black as your hat

To be wife of an English King.

And all the Canoodle-Dummers

They copied his rolling walk,

His method of draining rummers,

His emblematical talk.

For his dress and his graceful breeding,

His delicate taste in rum,

And his nautical way, were the talk of the day

In the Court of Canoodle-Dum.

Calamity Pop most wisely

Determined in everything

To model his Court precisely

On that of the English King;


And ordered that every lady

And every lady’s lord

Should masticate jacky (a kind of tobaccy)

And scatter its juice abroad.

They signified wonder roundly

At any astounding yarn,

By darning their dear eyes roundly

(’T was all that they had to darn).

They “hoisted their slacks,” adjusting

Garments of plantain-leaves

With nautical twitches (as if they wore—stitches.

Instead of a dress like Eve’s!)

drawing: African man in loincloth with two scantily clad African women

They shivered their timbers proudly,

At a phantom fore-lock dragged,

And called for a hornpipe loudly

Whenever amusement flagged.


“Hum! Golly! him Pop resemble,

Him Britisher sovereign, hum!

Calamity Pop Von Peppermint Drop,

De King of Canoodle-Dum!”

The mariner’s lively “Hollo!”

Enlivened Canoodle’s plain

(For blessings unnumbered follow

In Civilization’s train).

But Fortune (a walking bathos)

A terrible ending planned,

For Admiral D. Chickabiddy, C.B.,

Placed foot on Canoodle land!

drawing: officer ordering armed man to drive off a sailor

That rebel, he seized King Gowler,

He threatened his royal brains,

And put him aboard the Howler,

And fastened him down with chains.


The Howler she weighed her anchor,

With Frederick nicely nailed,

And off to the north with William the Fourth

These horrible pirates sailed.

Calamity said (with folly)

“Hum! nebber want him again—

Him civilize all of us, golly!

Calamity suck him brain!”

The people, however, were pained when

They saw him aboard his ship,

But none of them wept for their Freddy, except

Hum Pickity Wimple Tip.


drawing: woman turning modestly away from man


A CLERGYMAN in Berkshire dwelt,

The Reverend Bernard Powles,

And in his church there weekly knelt

At least a thousand souls.

There little Ellen you might see,

The modest rustic belle;

In maidenly simplicity,

She loved her Bernard well.


Though Ellen wore a plain silk gown

Untrimmed with lace or fur,

Yet not a husband in the town

But wished his wife like her.

Though sterner memories might fade,

You never could forget

The child-form of that baby-maid,

The Village Violet!

A simple frightened loveliness,

Whose sacred spirit-part

Shrank timidly from wordly stress,

And nestled in your heart.

Powles woo’d with every well-worn plan

And all the usual wiles

With which a well-schooled gentleman

A simple heart beguiles.

The hackneyed compliments that bore

World-folks like you and me,

Appeared to her as if they wore

The crown of Poesy.

His winking eyelid sang a song

Her heart could understand,

Eternity seemed scarce too long

When Bernard squeezed her hand.


He ordered down the martial crew

Of Godfrey’s Grenadiers,

And Coote conspired with Tinney to

Ecstaticize her ears.

Beneath her window, veiled from eye,

They nightly took their stand,

On birthdays supplemented by

The Covent Garden band.

drawing: man in wreath and toga sitting by a candle before a window

And little Ellen, all alone,

Enraptured sat above,

And thought how blest she was to own

The wealth of Powles’s love.


I often, often wonder what

Poor Ellen saw in him;

For calculated he was not

To please a woman’s whim.

He wasn’t good, despite the air

An M.B. waistcoat gives;

Indeed, his dearest friends declare

No greater humbug lives.

No kind of virtue decked this priest,

He’d nothing to allure;

He wasn’t handsome in the least,—

He wasn’t even poor.

No—he was cursed with acres fat

(A Christian’s direst ban).

And gold—yet, notwithstanding that,

Poor Ellen loved the man.

As unlike Bernard as could be

Was poor old Aaron Wood

(Disgraceful Bernard’s curate he):

He was extremely good.

A Bayard in his moral pluck,

Without reproach or fear,

A quiet venerable duck

With fifty pounds a year.


No fault had he—no fad, except

A tendency to strum,

In mode at which you would have wept,

A dull harmonium.

drawing: clergyman with raised hands

He had no gold with which to hire

The minstrels who could best

Convey a notion of the fire

That raged within his breast.

And so, when Coote and Tinney’s Own

Had tootled all they knew,

And when the Guards, completely blown,

Exhaustedly withdrew,


And Nell began to sleepy feel,

Poor Aaron then would come,

And underneath her window wheel

His plain harmonium.

drawing: man playing a harmonium outside a woman’s window

He woke her every morn at two,

And having gained her ear,

In vivid colours Aaron drew

The sluggard’s grim career.

He warbled Apiarian praise,

And taught her in his chant

To shun the dog’s disgraceful ways,

And imitate the ant.


Still Nell seemed not, how much he played,

To love him out and out,

Although the admirable maid

Respected him, no doubt.

She told him of her early vow,

And said as Bernard’s wife

It might be hers to show him how

To rectify his life.

“You are so pure, so kind, so true,

Your goodness shines so bright,

What use would Ellen be to you?

Believe me, you’re all right.”

She wished him happiness and health,

And flew on lightning wings

To Bernard with his dangerous wealth

And all the woes it brings.


drawing: man in a turban on a storm-tossed boat


OH, big was the bosom of brave Alum Bey,

And also the region that under it lay,

In safety and peril remarkably cool,

And he dwelt on the banks of the River Stamboul.


Each morning he went to his garden, to cull

A bunch of zenana or sprig of bul-bul,

And offered the bouquet, in exquisite bloom,

To Backsheesh, the daughter of Rahat Lakoum.

No maiden like Backsheesh could tastily cook

A kettle of kismet or joint of tchibouk,

As Alum, brave fellow! sat pensively by,

With a bright sympathetic ka-bob in his eye.

Stern duty compelled him to leave her one day—

(A ship’s supercargo was brave Alum Bey)—

To pretty young Backsheesh he made a salaam,

And sailed to the isle of Seringapatam.

“O Alum,” said she, “think again, ere you go—

Hareems may arise and Moguls they may blow;

You may strike on a fez, or be drowned, which is wuss!”

But Alum embraced her and spoke to her thus:

“Cease weeping, fair Backsheesh! I willingly swear

Cork jackets and trousers I always will wear,

And I also throw in a large number of oaths

That I never—no, never—will take off my clothes!”

* * * * * *

They left Madagascar away on their right,

And made Clapham Common the following night,

Then lay on their oars for a fortnight or two,

Becalmed in the ocean of Honololu.


One day Alum saw, with alarm in his breast,

A cloud on the nor-sow-sow-nor-sow-nor-west;

The wind it arose, and the crew gave a scream,

For they knew it—they knew it!—the dreaded Hareem!!

The mast it went over, and so did the sails,

Brave Alum threw over his casks and his bales;

The billows arose as the weather grew thick

And all except Alum were terribly sick.

The crew were but three, but they holloa’d for nine,

They howled and they blubbered with wail and with whine:

The skipper he fainted away in the fore,

For he hadn’t the heart for to skip any more.

“Ho, coward!” said Alum, “with heart of a child!

Thou son of a party whose grave is defiled!

Is Alum in terror? is Alum afeard?

Ho! ho! If you had one I’d laugh at your beard.”

His eyeball it gleamed like a furnace of coke;

He boldly inflated his clothes as he spoke;

He daringly felt for the corks on his chest,

And he recklessly tightened the belt at his breast.

For he knew, the brave Alum, that, happen what might,

With belts and cork-jacketing, he was all right;

Though others might sink, he was certain to swim,—

No Hareem whatever had terrors for him!


They begged him to spare from his personal store

A single cork garment—they asked for no more;

But he couldn’t, because of the number of oaths

That he never—no, never!—would take off his clothes.

drawing: man in a turban floating in a barrel, surrounded by reaching hands

The billows dash o’er them and topple around,

They see they are pretty near sure to be drowned.

A terrible wave o’er the quarter-deck breaks,

And the vessel it sinks in a couple of shakes!

The dreadful Hareem, though a beggar to blow,

Expends all its strength in a minute or so;

When the vessel had foundered, as I have detailed,

The tempest subsided, and quiet prevailed.

One collared a cork with a yelling “Ha! ha!”

(Its bottle had prisoned a pint of Pacha)—

Another a toothpick—another a tray—

“Alas! it is useless!” said brave Alum Bey.


“To holloa and kick is a very bad plan:

You’d best get it over as soon as you can;

You’d better get hold of a good lump of lead,

And collar it tightly until you are dead.

“Just raise your hands over your pretty heads—so—

Right down to the bottom you’re certain to go.

Ta! ta! I’m afraid we shall not meet again”—

For the truly courageous are truly humane.

Brave Alum was picked up the very next day—

A man-o’-war sighted him smoking away;

With hunger and cold he was ready to drop,

So they sent him below and they gave him a chop.

O reader, or readress, whichever you be,

You weep for the crew who have sunk in the sea!

O reader, or readress, read further, and dry

The bright sympathetic ka-bob in your eye.

That ship had a grapple with three iron spikes,—

It’s lowered, and, ha! on a summat it strikes!

They haul it aboard with a British “heave-ho!”

And what it has fished the drawing will show.

drawing: three men caught on a triple hook

There was Wilson, and Parker, and Tomlinson too—

(The first was the captain, the others the crew)—

As lively and spry as a Malabar ape,

Quite pleased and surprised at their happy escape.


And Alum, brave fellow, who stood in the fore,

And never expected to look on them more,

Was really delighted to see them again,

For the truly courageous are truly humane.


drawing: man mincing along with his hat at his side


THIS is Sir Barnaby Bampton Boo,

Last of a noble race,

Barnaby Bampton, coming to woo,

All at a deuce of a pace.

Barnaby Bampton Boo,

Here is a health to you:

Here is wishing you luck, you elderly buck

Barnaby Bampton Boo!


The excellent women of Tuptonvee

Knew Sir Barnaby Boo;

One of them surely his bride would be;

But dickens a soul knew who.

Women of Tuptonvee,

Here is a health to ye:

For a Baronet, dears, you would cut off your ears,

Women of Tuptonvee!

drawing: old couple in nightcaps, sitting on stools

Here are old Mr. and Mrs. de Plow

(Peter his Christian name),

They kept seven oxen, a pig, and a cow—

Farming it was their game.

Worthy old Peter de Plow,

Here is a health to thou:

Your race isn’t run, though you’re seventy-one,

Worthy old Peter de Plow!


To excellent Mr. and Mrs. de Plow

Came Sir Barnaby Boo,

He asked for their daughter, and told ’em how

He was as rich as a Jew!

Barnaby Bampton’s wealth,

Here is your jolly good health:

I’d never repine if you came to be mine,

Barnaby Bampton’s wealth!

“O great Sir Barnaby Bampton Boo

(Said Plow to that titled swell),

“My missus has given me daughters two—

Amelia and Carrotty Nell!”

Amelia and Carrotty Nell,

I hope you’re uncommonly well:

You two pretty pearls—you extremely nice girls—

Amelia and Carrotty Nell!

“There are Amelia and Carrotty Nell

Milly is good but plain,

The other is pretty, as I’ve heard tell,

But terribly pert and vain.”

Carrotty Ellen de Plow,

I drink to you willingly now;

But, oh, dear! you should copy Milly the Good,

Carrotty Ellen de Plow!

Amelia is passable only, in face,

But, oh! she’s a worthy girl;

Superior morals like hers would grace

The home of a belted Earl.”


Morality, heavenly link!

To you I’ll eternally drink:

I’m awfully fond of that heavenly bond,

Morality, heavenly link!

drawing: two young women, one homely and one pretty

“Now Nelly’s the prettier, p’raps, of my gals,

But, oh! she’s a wayward chit;

She dresses herself in her showy fal-lals,

And doesn’t read Tupper a bit!”

O Tupper, philosopher true,

How do you happen to do?

A publisher looks with respect on your books,

For they do sell, philosopher true!


The Bart. (I’ll be hanged if I drink him again,

Or care if he’s ill or well),

He sneered at the goodness of Milly the Plain,

And cottoned to Carrotty Nell!

O Carrotty Nelly de P.!

Be hanged if I’ll empty to thee:

I like worthy maids, not mere frivolous jades,

Carrotty Nelly de P.!

drawing: man in dunce cap between two women

They bolted, the Bart. and his frivolous dear,

And Milly was left to pout;

For years they’ve got on very well, as I hear,

But soon he will rue it, do doubt.

O excellent Milly de Plow,

I really can’t drink to you now;

My head isn’t strong, and the song has been long,

Excellent Milly de Plow!


drawing: three carriages, each with one passenger


WHEN man and maiden meet, I like to see a drooping eye,

I always droop my own—I am the shyest of the shy.

I’m also fond of bashfulness, and sitting down on thorns,

And modesty’s a quality that womankind adorns.

Whenever I am introduced to any pretty maid,

My knees they knock together, just as if I were afraid;

I flutter, and I stammer, and I turn a pleasing red,

For to laugh, and flirt, and ogle I consider most ill-bred.

Some persons when they’re introduced to maidens young and fair,

Begin at once by begging for a little lock of hair;


Or when they meet a strange young girl, they’ll take her round the waist;

Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but it argues want of taste.

But still in all these matters, as in other things below,

There is a proper medium, as I’m about to show.

I do not recommend a newly-married pair to try

To carry on as Peter carried on with Sarah Bligh.

Betrothed they were when very young—before they’d learnt to speak

(For Sarah was but six days old, and Peter was a week);

Though little more than babies at those early ages, yet

They bashfully would faint when they occasionally met.

They blushed, and flushed, and fainted, till they reached the age of nine,

When Peter’s good Papa (he was a Baron of the Rhine)

Determined to endeavour some sound argument to find

To bring these shy young people to a proper frame of mind.

He told them that as Sarah was to be his Peter’s bride,

They might at least consent to sit at table side by side:


He begged that they would now and then shake hands, till he was hoarse,

Which Sarah thought indelicate, and Peter very coarse.

drawing: old king between young man and woman each looking away

And Peter in a tremble to the blushing maid would say,

“You must excuse Papa, Miss Bligh,—it is his mountain way.”

Says Sarah, “His behaviour I’ll endeavour to forget,

But your Pa’s the very coarsest person that I ever met.


“He plighted us without our leave, when we were very young,

Before we had begun articulating with the tongue.

His underbred suggestions fill your Sarah with alarm;

Why, gracious me! he’ll ask us next to walk out arm in arm!”

At length when Sarah reached the legal age of twenty-one,

The Baron he determined to unite her to his son;

And Sarah in a fainting-fit for weeks unconscious lay,

And Peter blushed so hard you might have heard him miles away.

And when the time arrived for taking Sarah to his heart,

They were married in two churches half a dozen miles apart

(Intending to escape all public ridicule and chaff),

And the service was conducted by electric telegraph.

And when it was concluded, and the priest had said his say,

Until the time arrived when they were both to drive away

They never spoke or offered for to fondle or to fawn,

For he waited in the attic, and she waited on the lawn.


At length, when four o’clock arrived, and it was time to go,

The carriage was announced, but decent Sarah answered “No!

Upon my word, I’d rather sleep my everlasting nap,

Than go and ride alone with Mr. Peter in a trap.”

And Peter’s over-sensitive and highly-polished mind

Wouldn’t suffer him to sanction a proceeding of the kind;

And further, he declared he suffered overwhelming shocks

At the bare idea of having any coachman on the box.

So Peter in one chariot incontinently rushed,

While Sarah in a second trap sat modestly and blushed;

And Mr. Newman’s coachman, on authority I’ve heard,

Deposited himself upon the coach-box of a third.

Now, though this modest couple in the matter of the car

Were very likely carrying a principle too far,

I hold their shy behaviour was more laudable in them

Than that of Peter’s brother with Miss Sarah’s sister Em.

drawing: young man and woman greeting each other


Alphonso, who in cool assurance all creation licks,

He up and said to Emmie (who had impudence for six),

Miss Emily, I love you—will you marry? Say the word!”

And Emily said, “Certainly, Alphonso, like a bird!”

I do not recommend a newly-married pair to try

To carry on as Peter carried on with Sarah Bligh,

But still their shy behaviour was more laudable in them

Than that of Peter’s brother with Miss Sarah’s sister Em.


drawing: sailor pointing a gun at an officer


SOME time ago, in simple verse

I sang the story true

Of Captain Reece, the Mantelpiece,

And all her happy crew.

I showed how any captain may

Attach his men to him,

If he but heeds their smallest needs,

And studies every whim.


Now mark how, by Draconic rule

And hauteur ill-advised,

The noblest crew upon the Blue

May be demoralized.

When his ungrateful country placed

Kind Reece upon half-pay,

Without much claim Sir Berkely came,

And took command one day.

Sir Berkely was a martinet—

A stern unyielding soul—

Who ruled his ship by dint of whip

And horrible black-hole.

A sailor who was overcome

From having freely dined,

And chanced to reel when at the wheel,

He instantly confined!

And tars who, when an action raged,

Appeared alarmed or scared,

And those below who wished to go,

He very seldom spared.

E’en he who smote his officer

For punishment was booked,

And mutinies upon the seas

He rarely overlooked.


In short, the happy Mantelpiece

Where all had gone so well,

Beneath that fool Sir Berkely’s rule

Became a floating hell.

When first Sir Berkely came aboard

He read a speech to all,

And told them how he’d made a vow

To act on duty’s call.

Then William Lee, he up and said

(The Captain’s coxswain he):

“We’ve heard the speech your honour’s made,

And werry pleased we be.

“We won’t pretend, my lad, as how

We’re glad to lose our Reece;

Urbane, polite, he suited quite

The saucy Mantelpiece.

“But if your honour gives your mind

To study all our ways,

With dance and song we’ll jog along

As in those happy days.

“I like your honour’s looks, and feel

You’re worthy of your sword.

Your hand, my lad—I’m doosid glad

To welcome you aboard!”


Sir Berkely looked amazed, as though

He didn’t understand.

“Don’t shake your head,” good William said,

“It is an honest hand.

drawing: sailor holding his hand out to startled officer

“It’s grasped a better hand than yourn—

Come, gov’nor, I insist!”

The Captain stared—the coxswain glared—

The hand became a fist!

“Down, upstart!” said the hardy salt;

But Berkely dodged his aim,

And made him go in chains below:

The seamen murmured “Shame!”


He stopped all songs at 12 p.m.,

Stopped hornpipes when at sea,

And swore his cot (or bunk) should not

Be used by aught than he.

He never joined their daily mess,

Nor asked them to his own,

But chaffed in gay and social way

The officers alone.

His First Lieutenant, Peter, was

As useless as could be,

A helpless stick, and always sick

When there was any sea.

This First Lieutenant proved to be

His foster-sister May,

Who went to sea for love of he

In masculine array.

And when he learnt the curious fact,

Did he emotion show,

Or dry her tears, or end her fears

By marrying her? No!

Or did he even try to soothe

This maiden in her teens?

Oh, no!—instead he made her wed

The Sergeant of Marines!

drawing: man with a gun taking the hand of a young woman in sailor’s clothes


Of course such Spartan discipline

Would make an angel fret.

They drew a lot, and William shot

This fearful Martinet.

The Admiralty saw how ill

They’d treated Captain Reece;

He was restored once more aboard

The saucy Mantelpiece.


drawing: man atop a mast looking into a spyglass


I GO away this blessed day,

To sail across the sea, Matilda!

My vessel starts for various parts

At twenty after three, Matilda.

I hardly know where we may go,

Or if it’s near or far, Matilda,

For Captain Hyde does not confide

In any ’fore-mast tar, Matilda!

Beneath my ban that mystic man

Shall suffer, coûte qui coûte, Matilda!

What right has he to keep from me

The Admiralty route, Matilda?


Because, forsooth! I am a youth

Of common sailors’ lot, Matilda!

Am I a man on human plan

Designed, or am I not, Matilda?

drawing: sailor with an oar talking to weeping woman

But there, my lass, we’ll let that pass!

With anxious love I burn, Matilda.

I want to know if we shall go

To church when I return, Matilda?

Your eyes are red, you bow your head;

It’s pretty clear you thirst, Matilda,

To name the day—What’s that you say?

—“You’ll see me further first,” Matilda?


I can’t mistake the signs you make,

Although you barely speak, Matilda;

Though pure and young, you thrust your tongue

Right in your pretty cheek, Matilda!

My dear, I fear I hear you sneer—

I do—I’m sure I do, Matilda

With simple grace you make a face,

Ejaculating, “Ugh!” Matilda.

Oh, pause to think before you drink

The dregs of Lethe’s cup, Matilda!

Remember, do, what I’ve gone through,

Before you give me up, Matilda!

Recall again the mental pain

Of what I’ve had to do, Matilda!

And be assured that I’ve endured

It, all along of you, Matilda!

Do you forget, my blithesome pet,

How once with jealous rage, Matilda,

I watched you walk and gaily talk

With some one thrice your age, Matilda?

You squatted free upon his knee,

A sight that made me sad, Matilda!

You pinched his cheek with friendly tweak,

Which almost drove me mad, Matilda!

I know him not, but hoped to spot

Some man you thought to wed, Matilda!

I took a gun, my darling one,

And shot him through the head, Matilda!


I’m made of stuff that’s rough and gruff

Enough, I own; but, ah, Matilda!

It did annoy your poor old boy

To find it was your pa, Matilda!

I’ve passed a life of toil and strife,

And disappointments deep, Matilda;

I’ve lain awake with dental ache

Until I fell asleep, Matilda!

At times again I’ve missed a train,

Or p’rhaps run short of tin, Matilda,

And worn a boot on corns that shoot,

Or, shaving, cut my chin, Matilda!

But, oh! no trains—no dental pains—

Believe me when I say, Matilda,

No corns that shoot—no pinching boot

Upon a summer day, Matilda

It’s my belief, could cause such grief

As that I’ve suffered for, Matilda,

My having shot in vital spot

Your old progenitor, Matilda!

Bethink you how I’ve kept the vow

I made one winter day, Matilda

That, come what could, I never would

Remain too long away, Matilda.

And, oh! the crimes with which, at times,

I’ve charged my gentle mind, Matilda

To keep the vow I made—and now

You treat me so unkind, Matilda!


For when at sea, off Caribbee,

I felt my passion burn, Matilda;

By passion egged, I went and begged

The captain to return, Matilda.

And when, my pet, I couldn’t get

That captain to agree, Matilda,

Right through a sort of open port

I pitched him in the sea, Matilda!

drawing: hands throwing a captain overboard

Remember, too, how all the crew,

With indignation blind, Matilda,

Distinctly swore they ne’er before

Had thought me so unkind, Matilda;

And how they’d shun me one by one—

An unforgiving group, Matilda

I stopped their howls and sulky scowls

By pizening their soup, Matilda!


So pause to think, before you drink

The dregs of Lethe’s cup, Matilda;

Remember, do, what I’ve gone through,

Before you give me up, Matilda.

Recall again the mental pain

Of what I’ve had to do, Matilda,

And be assured that I’ve endured

It, all along of you, Matilda!

drawing: man pouring a tub of prussic acid into pot of soup


drawing: one man slouching in a chair, another with hands clasped heavenward


A RICH advowson, highly prized,

For private sale was advertised;

And many a parson made a bid;

The Reverend Simon Magus did.

He sought the agent’s: “Agent, I

Have come prepared at once to buy

(If your demand is not too big)

The Cure of Otium-cum-Digge.”


“Ah!” said the agent, “there’s a berth—

The snuggest vicarage on earth;

No sort of duty (so I hear),

And fifteen hundred pounds a year!

“If on the price we should agree,

The living soon will vacant be:

The good incumbent’s ninety-five,

And cannot very long survive.

drawing: old man huddled in armchair

“See—here’s his photograph—you see,

He’s in his dotage.” “Ah, dear me!

Poor soul!” said Simon. “His decease

Would be a merciful release!”

The agent laughed—the agent blinked—

The agent blew his nose and winked—

And poked the parson’s ribs in play—

It was that agent’s vulgar way.


The Reverend Simon frowned: “I grieve

This light demeanour to perceive;

It’s scarcely comme il faut, I think:

Now—pray oblige me—do not wink.

“Don’t dig my waistcoat into holes—

Your mission is to sell the souls

Of human sheep and human kids

To that divine who highest bids.

“Do well in this, and on your head

Unnumbered honours will be shed.”

The agent said, “Well, truth to tell,

I have been doing very well.”

“You should,” said Simon, “at your age;

But now about the parsonage.

How many rooms does it contain?

Show me the photograph again.

“A poor apostle’s humble house

Must not be too luxurious;

No stately halls with oaken floor—

It should be decent and no more.

“No billiard-rooms—no stately trees—

No croquêt-grounds or pineries.”

“Ah!” sighed the agent, “very true:

This property won’t do for you.

“All these about the house you’ll find”—

“Well,” said the parson, “never mind;

I’ll manage to submit to these

Luxurious superfluities.


“A clergyman who does not shirk

The various calls of Christian work,

Will have no leisure to employ

These ‘common forms’ of worldly joy.

“To preach three times on Sabbath days—

To wean the lost from wicked ways—

The sick to soothe—the sane to wed—

The poor to feed with meat and bread;

drawing: man in a straight chair talking to man in an armchair

“These are the various wholesome ways

In which I’ll spend my nights and days:

My zeal will have no time to cool

At croquêt, archery, or pool.”

The agent said, “From what I hear,

This living will not suit, I fear—

There are no poor, no sick at all;

For services there is no call.”


The reverend gent looked grave. “Dear me!

Then there is no ‘society’?—

I mean, of course, no sinners there

Whose souls will be my special care?”

The cunning agent shook his head,

“No, none—except”—(the agent said)—

“The Duke of A., the Earl of B.,

The Marquis C., and Viscount D.

drawing: two men in top hats

“But you will not be quite alone,

For, though they’ve chaplains of their own,

Of course this noble well-bred clan

Receive the parish clergyman.”

“Oh, silence, sir!” said Simon M.,

“Dukes—earls! What should I care for them?

These worldly ranks I scorn and flout,

Of course.” The agent said, “No doubt.”


“Yet I might show these men of birth

The hollowness of rank on earth.”

The agent answered, “Very true—

But I should not, if I were you.”

“Who sells this rich advowson, pray?”

The agent winked—it was his way—

“His name is Hart; ’twixt me and you,

He is, I’m grieved to say, a Jew!”

“A Jew?” said Simon, “happy find!

I purchase this advowson, mind.

My life shall be devoted to

Converting that unhappy Jew!”


drawing: two well-dressed men walking arm in arm


TWO better friends you wouldn’t pass

Throughout a summer’s day,

Than Damon and his Pythias,—

Two merchant princes they.

At school together they contrived

All sorts of boyish larks;

And, later on, together thrived

As merry merchants’ clerks.


And then, when many years had flown,

They rose together till

They bought a business of their own—

And they conduct it still.

They loved each other all their lives,

Dissent they never knew,

And, stranger still, their very wives

Were rather friendly too.

Perhaps you think, to serve my ends

These statements I refute,

When I admit that these dear friends

Were parties to a suit.

But ’twas a friendly action, for

Good Pythias, as you see,

Fought merely as executor,

And Damon as trustee.

They laughed to think, as through the throng

Of suitors sad they past,

That they, who’d lived and loved so long,

Should go to law at last.

The junior briefs they kindly let

Two sucking counsel hold;

These learned persons never yet

Had tasted suitors’ gold.

But though the happy suitors two

Were friendly as could be,

Not so the junior counsel who

Were earning maiden fee.


They too, till then, were friends. At school

They’d done each other’s sums,

And under Oxford’s gentle rule

Had been the closest chums.

drawing: two thin men in barrister’s robes and wigs

But now they met with scowl and grin

In every public place,

And often snapped their fingers in

Each other’s learned face.

It almost ended in a fight

When they on path or stair

Met face to face. They made it quite

A personal affair.


(Enthusiastically high

Your sense of legal strife,

When it affects the sanctity

Of your domestic life.)

And when at length the case was called

(It came on rather late),

Spectators really were appalled

To see their deadly hate.

One junior rose—with eyeballs tense,

And swollen frontal veins:

To all his powers of eloquence

He gave the fullest reins.

His argument was novel—for

A verdict he relied

On blackening the junior

Upon the other side.

“Oh,” said the Judge at Westminster,

“The matter in dispute

To arbitration pray refer—

This is a friendly suit.”

And Pythias, in merry mood,

Digged Damon in the side;

And Damon, tickled with the feud

With other digs replied.


But oh! those deadly counsel twain,

Who were such friends before,

Were never reconciled again.

They quarrelled more and more.

drawing: men fighting at the edge of a precipice

At length it happened that they met

On Alpine heights one day,

And then they paid each other’s debt—

Their fury had its way.

They seized each other in a trice,

With scorn and hatred filled,

And falling from a precipice,

They, both of them, were killed.


drawing: policeman ready to nab man putting a coin into Poor Box


THE other night, from cares exempt,

I slept—and what d’you think I dreamt?

I dreamt that somehow I had come

To dwell in Topsy-Turveydom!—

Where vice is virtue—virtue, vice:

Where nice is nasty—nasty, nice:

Where right is wrong and wrong is right—

Where white is black and black is white.


Where babies, much to their surprise,

Are born astonishingly wise;

With every Science on their lips,

And Art at all their finger-tips.

For, as their nurses dandle them,

They crow binomial theorem,

With views (it seems absurd to us)

On differential calculus.

But though a babe, as I have said,

Is born with learning in his head,

He must forgot it, if he can,

Before he calls himself a man.

For that which we call folly here,

Is wisdom in that favoured sphere;

The wisdom we so highly prize

Is blatant folly in their eyes.

A boy, if he would push his way,

Must learn some nonsense every day

And cut, to carry out this view,

His wisdom teeth and wisdom too.

Historians burn their midnight oils,

Intent on giant-killers’ toils;

And sages close their aged eyes

To other sages’ lullabies.

Our magistrates, in duty bound,

Commit all robbers who are found;

But there the beaks (so people said)

Commit all robberies instead.


Our judges, pure and wise in tone,

Know crime from theory alone,

And glean the motives of a thief

From books and popular belief.

drawing: two judges opening a box

But there, a judge who wants to prime

His mind with true ideas of crime,

Derives them from the common sense

Of practical experience.

Policemen march all folks away

Who practise virtue every day—

Of course, I mean to say, you know,

What we call virtue here below.

For only scoundrels dare to do

What we consider just and true,

And only good men do, in fact,

What we should think a dirty act.


But strangest of these social twirls,

The girls are boys—the boys are girls!

The men are women, too—but then,

Per contra, women all are men.

To one who to tradition clings

This seems an awkward state of things,

But if to think it out you try,

It doesn’t really signify.

With them, as surely as can be,

A sailor should be sick at sea,

And not a passenger may sail

Who cannot smoke right through a gale.

drawing: firing squad taking aim at a soldier

A soldier (save by rarest luck)

Is always shot for showing pluck,

(That is, if others can be found

With pluck enough to fire a round.)


“How strange,” I said to one I saw,

“You quite upset our every law.

However can you get along

So systematically wrong?”

“Dear me,” my mad informant said,

“Have you no eyes within your head?

You sneer when you your hat should doff:

Why, we begin where you leave off!

“Your wisest men are very far

Less learned than our babies are!”

I mused awhile—and then, oh, me!

I framed this brilliant repartee:

“Although your babes are wiser far

Than our most valued sages are,

Your sages, with their toys and cots,

Are duller than our idiots!”

But this remark, I grieve to state,

Came just a little bit too late;

For as I framed it in my head,

I woke and found myself in bed.

Still I could wish that, ’stead of here,

My lot were in that favoured sphere!—

Where greatest fools bear off the bell

I ought to do extremely well.


drawing: one Englishman and two African men, all in mixed clothes


I OFTEN wonder whether you

Think sometimes of that bishop, who

From black but balmy Rum-ti-foo

Last summer twelvemonth came.

Unto your mind I p’raps may bring

Remembrance of the man I sing

To-day, by simply mentioning

That Peter was his name.


Remember how that holy man

Came with the great Colonial clan

To Synod, called Pan-Anglican;

And kindly recollect

How, having crossed the ocean wide,

To please his flock all means he tried

Consistent with a proper pride

And manly self-respect.

He only, of the reverend pack

Who minister to Christians black,

Brought any useful knowledge back

To his Colonial fold.

In consequence a place I claim

For “Peter” on the scroll of Fame

(For Peter was that bishop’s name,

As I’ve already told).

He carried Art, he often said,

To places where that timid maid

(Save by Colonial bishops’ aid)

Could never hope to roam.

The Payne-cum-Lauri feat he taught

As he had learnt it; for he thought

The choicest fruits of Progress ought

To bless the Negro’s home.

And he had other work to do,

For, while he tossed upon the blue,

The islanders of Rum-ti-foo

Forgot their kindly friend.


Their decent clothes they learnt to tear—

They learnt to say, “I do not care,”

Though they, of course, were well aware

How folks, who say so, end.

drawing: Bishop disembarking from small boat

Some sailors, whom he did not know,

Had landed there not long ago,

And taught them “Bother!” also, “Blow!”

(Of wickedness the germs.)

No need to use a casuist’s pen

To prove that they were merchantmen;

No sailor of the Royal N.

Would use such awful terms.

And so, when Bishop Peter came

(That was the kindly bishop’s name),

He heard these dreadful oaths with shame,

And chid their want of dress.


(Except a shell—a bangle rare—

A feather here—a feather there—

The South Pacific negroes wear

Their native nothingness.)

He taught them that a bishop loathes

To listen to disgraceful oaths,

He gave them all his left-off clothes—

They bent them to his will.

The bishop’s gift spreads quickly round;

In Peter’s left-off clothes they bound

(His three-and-twenty suits they found

In fair condition still).

The bishop’s eyes with water fill,

Quite overjoyed to find them still

Obedient to his sovereign will,

And said, “Good Rum-ti-foo!

Half-way I’ll meet you, I declare:

I’ll dress myself in cowries rare,

And fasten feathers in my hair,

And dance the ‘Cutch-chi-boo!’”*

* Described by Mungo Park.

And to conciliate his see

He married Piccadillillee,

The youngest of his twenty-three,

Tall—neither fat nor thin.

(And though the dress he made her don

Looks awkwardly a girl upon,

It was a great improvement on

The one he found her in.)


The bishop in his gay canoe

(His wife, of course, went with him too),

To some adjacent island flew,

To spend his honeymoon.

Some day in sunny Rum-ti-foo

A little Peter’ll be on view;

And that (if people tell me true)

Is like to happen soon.

drawing: Englishman in shallow boat waving to Africans on shore


drawing: man standing over boy on crutches


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,

Conundrums gay propound.

Just such a man was Bernard Jupp,

He scoffed at Fortune’s frown;

He gaily drained his bitter cup—

Though Fortune often threw him up,

It never cast him down.


Though years their share of sorrow bring,

We know that far above

All other griefs, are griefs that spring

From some misfortune happening

To those we really love.

E’en sorrow for another’s woe

Our Bernard failed to quell;

Though by this special form of blow

No person ever suffered so,

Or bore his grief so well.

His father, wealthy and well clad,

And owning house and park,

Lost every halfpenny he had,

And then became (extremely sad!)

A poor attorney’s clerk.

All sons it surely would appal,

Except the passing meek,

To see a father lose his all,

And from an independence fall

To one pound ten a week!

But Jupp shook off this sorrow’s weight,

And like a Christian son,

Proved Poverty a happy fate—

Proved Wealth to be a devil’s bait,

To lure poor sinners on.

With other sorrows Bernard coped,

For sorrows came in packs;


His cousins with their housemaids sloped—

His uncles died—his aunts eloped—

His sisters married blacks.

drawing: one man seated at table with two servants

But Bernard, far from murmuring,

(Exemplar, friends to us)

Determined to his faith to cling,—

He made the best of everything,

And argued softly thus:

“’Twere harsh my uncles’ forging knack

Too rudely to condemn—

My aunts, repentant, may come back,

And blacks are nothing like as black

As people colour them!”


Still Fate, with many a sorrow rife,

Maintained relentless fight:

His grandmamma next lost her life,

Then died the mother of his wife,

But still he seemed all right.

His brother fond (the only link

To life that bound him now)

One morning, overcome by drink,

He broke his leg (the right, I think)

In some disgraceful row.

But did my Bernard swear and curse?

Oh, no—to murmur loth,

He only said, “Go, get a nurse:

Be thankful that it isn’t worse;

You might have broken both!”

But worms who watch without concern

The cockchafer on thorns,

Or beetles smashed, themselves will turn

If, walking through the slippery fern,

You tread upon their corns.

And if when all the mischief’s done

You watch their dying squirms,

And listen, ere their breath has run,

You’ll hear them sigh “Oh, clumsy one!”

—And devil blame the worms.


One night, as Bernard made his track

Through Brompton home to bed,

A footpad, with a vizor black,

Took watch and purse, and dealt a crack

On Bernard’s saint-like head.

drawing: armed robbery

It was too much—his spirit rose,

He looked extremely cross.

Men thought him steeled to mortal foes,

But no—he bowed to countless blows,

But kicked against this loss.

He finally made up his mind

Upon his friends to call;

Subscription lists were largely signed,

For men were really glad to find

Him mortal, after all!


drawing: man with bleeding finger addressing surgeon with vast knife


AN actor—Gibbs, of Drury Lane—

Of very decent station,

Once happened in a part to gain

Excessive approbation:

It sometimes turns a fellow’s brain

And makes him singularly vain

When he believes that he receives

Tremendous approbation.


His great success half drove him mad,

But no one seemed to mind him:

Well, in another piece he had

Another part assigned him.

This part was smaller, by a bit,

Than that in which he made a hit.

So, much ill-used, he straight refused

To play the part assigned him.

* * * * *

That night that actor slept, and I’ll attempt

To tell you of the vivid dream he dreamt:


In fighting with a robber band

(A thing he loved sincerely)

A sword struck Gibbs upon the hand

And wounded it severely.

At first he didn’t heed it much,

He thought it was a simple touch,

But soon he found the weapon’s bound

Had wounded him severely.

To Surgeon Cobb he made a trip,

Who’d just effected featly

An amputation at the hip

Particularly neatly.


A rising man was Surgeon Cobb,

But this extremely ticklish job

He had achieved (as he believed)

Particularly neatly.

The actor rang the surgeon’s bell.

“Observe my wounded finger,

Be good enough to strap it well,

And prithee do not linger.

That I, dear sir, may fill again

The Theatre Royal Drury Lane:

This very night I have to fight—

So prithee do not linger.”

“I don’t strap fingers up for doles,”

Replied the haughty surgeon;

“To use your cant, I don’t play rôles

‘Utility’ that verge on.

‘First amputation’—nothing less—

That is my line of business:

We surgeon nobs despise all jobs

Utility that verge on.

“When in your hip there lurks disease”

(So dreamt this lively dreamer)

“Or devastating caries,

In humerus or femur,

If you can pay a handsome fee,

Oh, then you may remember me

With joy elate I’ll amputate

Your humerus or femur.”


The disconcerted actor ceased

The haughty leech to pester.

But when the wound in size increased,

And then began to fester,

He sought a learned Counsel’s lair,

And told that Counsel, then and there,

How Cobb’s neglect of his defect

Had made his finger fester.

drawing: robed judge turning his back on man in checked trousers

“Oh, bring my action, if you please,

The case I pray you urge on,

And win me thumping damages

From Cobb, that haughty surgeon.

He culpably neglected me

Although I proffered him his fee,

So pray come down, in wig and gown,

On Cobb, that haughty surgeon!”


That Counsel learned in the laws,

With passion almost trembled.

He just had gained a mighty cause

Before the Peers assembled!

Said he, “How dare you have the face

To come with Common Jury case

To one who wings rhetoric flings

Before the Peers assembled?”

drawing: man in checked trousers approaching well-dressed clerk

Dispirited became our friend—

Depressed his moral pecker—

“But stay! a thought! I’ll gain my end

And save my poor exchequer.

I won’t be placed upon the shelf,

I’ll take it into Court myself,

And legal lore display before

The Court of the Exchequer.”


He found a Baron—one of those

Who with our laws supply us—

In wig and silken gown and hose,

As if at Nisi Prius.

But he’d just given, off the reel,

A famous judgment on Appeal:

It scarce became his heightened fame

To sit at Nisi Prius.

Our friend began, with easy wit,

That half concealed his terror:

“Pooh!” said the Judge, “I only sit

In Banco or in Error.

Can you suppose, my man, that I’d

O’er Nisi Prius Courts preside,

Or condescend my time to spend

On anything but Error?”

“Too bad,” said Gibbs, “my case to shirk!

You must be bad innately,

To save your skill for mighty work

Because it’s valued greatly!”

But here he woke, with sudden start.

* * * * *

He wrote to say he’d play the part.

drawing: man on stage with flying bouquets


I’ve but to tell he played it well—

The author’s words—his native wit

Combined, achieved a perfect “hit”—

The papers praised him greatly.


drawing: row of soldiers with bayonets


AN excellent soldier who’s worthy the name,

Loves officers dashing and strict:

When good, he’s content with escaping all blame,

When naughty, he likes to be licked.

He likes for a fault to be bullied and stormed,

Or imprisoned for several days,

And hates, for a duty correctly performed,

To be slavered with sickening praise.


No officer sickened with praises his corps

So little as Major La Guerre

No officer swore at his warriors more

Than Major Makredi Prepere.

Their soldiers adored them, and every grade

Delighted to hear their abuse;

Though whenever these officers came on parade,

They shivered and shook in their shoes.

For, oh! if La Guerre could all praises withhold,

Why, so could Makredi Prepere;

And, oh! if Makredi could bluster and scold,

Why, so could the mighty La Guerre.

“No doubt we deserve it—no mercy we crave—

Go on—you’re conferring a boon;

We would rather be slanged by a warrior brave

Than praised by a wretched poltroon!”

Makredi would say that in battle’s fierce rage

True happiness only was met:

Poor Major Makredi, though fifty his age,

Had never known happiness yet!

La Guerre would declare, “With the blood of a foe

No tipple is worthy to clink.”

Poor fellow! he hadn’t, though sixty or so,

Yet tasted his favourite drink!

They agreed at their mess—they agreed in the glass—

They agreed in the choice of their “set,”

And they also agreed in adoring, alas!

The Vivandière, pretty Fillette.


Agreement, you see, may be carried too far,

And after agreeing all round

For years—in this soldierly “maid of the bar,”

A bone of contention they found!

drawing: two fat men glaring at each other

It may seem improper to call such a pet—

By a metaphor, even—a bone;

But though they agreed in adoring her, yet

Each wanted to make her his own.

“On the day that you marry her,” muttered Prepere

(With a pistol he quietly played),

“I’ll scatter the brains in your noddle, I swear.

All over the stony parade!”


“I cannot do that to you,” answered La Guerre,

“Whatever events may befall;

But this I can do—if you wed her, mon cher!

I’ll eat you, moustachios and all!”

The rivals, although they would never engage,

Yet quarrelled whenever they met;

They met in a fury and left in a rage,

But neither took pretty Fillette.

“I am not afraid,” thought Makredi Prepere:

“For country I’m ready to fall;

But nobody wants, for a mere Vivandière,

To be eaten, moustachios and all!

“Besides, though La Guerre had his faults, I’ll allow

He’s one of the bravest of men:

My goodness! If I disagree with him now,

I might disagree with him then.”

“No coward am I,” said La Guerre, “as you guess—

I sneer at an enemy’s blade;

But I don’t want Prepere to get into a mess

For splashing the stony parade!”

One day on parade to Prepere and La Guerre

Came Corporal Jacot Debette,

And trembling all over, he prayed of them there

To give him the pretty Fillette.


drawing: group of soldiers

“You see, I am willing to marry my bride

Until you’ve arranged this affair;

I will blow out my brains when your honours decide

Which marries the sweet Vivandière!”

“Well, take her,” said both of them in a duet

(A favourite form of reply),

“But when I am ready to marry Fillette

Remember you’ve promised to die!”

He married her then: from the flowery plains

Of existence the roses they cull:

He lived and he died with his wife; and his brains

Are reposing in peace in his skull.


drawing: two men kneeling before a young woman

(A Derby Legend.)

EMILY JANE was a nursery maid—

James was a bold Life Guard,

John was a constable, poorly paid,

(And I am a doggrel bard).

A very good girl was Emily Jane,

Jimmy was good and true,

John was a very good man in the main

(And I am a good man, too).

Rivals for Emmie were Johnny and James,

Though Emily liked them both;

She couldn’t tell which had the strongest claims

(And I couldn’t take my oath).


But sooner or later you’re certain to find

Your sentiments can’t lie hid—

Jane thought it was time that she made up her mind

(And I think it was time she did).

Said Jane, with a smirk, and a blush on her face,

“I’ll promise to wed the boy

Who takes me to-morrow to Epsom Race!”

(Which I would have done, with joy).

From Johnny escaped an expression of pain,

But Jimmy said, “Done with you!

I’ll take you with pleasure, my Emily Jane!”

(And I would have said so too).

John lay on the ground, and he roared like mad

(For Johnny was sore perplexed),

And he kicked very hard at a very small lad

(Which I often do, when vexed).

For John was on duty next day with the Force,

To punish all Epsom crimes;

Young people will cross, when they’re clearing the course

(I do it myself, sometimes).

* * * * *

The Derby Day sun glittered gaily on cads,

On maidens with gamboge hair,

On sharpers and pickpockets, swindlers and pads—

(For I, with my harp, was there).


And Jimmy went down with his Jane that day,

And John by the collar or nape

Seized everybody who came in his way

(And I had a narrow escape).

He noticed his Emily Jane with Jim,

And envied the well made elf;

And people remarked that he muttered “Oh, dim!”

(I often say “dim!” myself).

John dogged them all day, without asking their leaves;

For his sergeant he told, aside,

That Jimmy and Jane were notorious thieves

(And I think he was justified).

But James wouldn’t dream of abstracting a fork,

And Jenny would blush with shame

At stealing so much as a bottle or cork

(A bottle I think fair game).

But, ah! there’s another more serious crime!

They wickedly strayed upon

The course, at a critical moment of time

(I pointed them out to John).

The crusher came down on the pair in a crack—

And then, with a demon smile,

Let Jenny cross over, but sent Jimmy back

(I played on my harp the while).


drawing: officer holding out his hands to man and woman

Stern Johnny their agony loud derides

With a very triumphant sneer—

They weep and they wail from the opposite sides

(And I shed a silent tear).

And Jenny is crying away like mad,

And Jimmy is swearing hard;

And Johnny is looking uncommonly glad

(And I am a doggrel bard).

But Jimmy he ventured on crossing again

The scenes of our Isthmian Games—

John caught him, and collared him, giving him pain

(I felt very much for James).


John led him away with a victor’s hand,

And Jimmy was shortly seen

In the station-house under the grand Grand Stand

(As many a time I’ve been).

drawing: woman clinging to man’s hand as he is led away

And Jimmy, bad boy, was imprisoned for life,

Though Emily pleaded hard;

And Johnny had Emily Jane to wife

(And I am a doggrel bard).


drawing: fairy with wand hovering over stout man


OLD Peter led a wretched life—

Old Peter had a furious wife;

Old Peter, too, was truly stout,

He measured several yards about.

The little fairy Picklekin

One summer afternoon looked in,

And said, “Old Peter, how de do?

Can I do anything for you?

“I have three gifts—the first will give

Unbounded riches while you live;


The second, health where’er you be;

The third, invisibility.”

“O, little fairy Picklekin,”

Old Peter answered, with a grin,

“To hesitate would be absurd,—

Undoubtedly I choose the third.”

“’Tis yours,” the fairy said; “be quite

Invisible to mortal sight

Whene’er you please. Remember me

Most kindly, pray, to Mrs. P.

Old Mrs. Peter overheard

Wee Picklekin’s concluding word,

And, jealous of her girlhood’s choice,

Said, “That was some young woman’s voice!”

Old Peter let her scold and swear—

Old Peter, bless him, didn’t care.

“My dear, your rage is wasted quite—

Observe, I disappear from sight!”

A well-bred fairy (so I’ve heard)

Is always faithful to her word:

Old Peter vanished like a shot,

But then—his suit of clothes did not.

For when conferred the fairy slim

Invisibility on him,

She popped away on fairy wings,

Without referring to his “things.”


So there remained a coat of blue,

A vest and double eyeglass too,

His tail, his shoes, his socks as well,

His pair of—no, I must not tell.

Old Mrs. Peter soon began

To see the failure of his plan,

And then resolved (I quote the bard)

To “Hoist him with his own petard.”

Old Peter woke next day and dressed,

Put on his coat and shoes and vest,

His shirt and stock—but could not find

His only pair of—never mind!

Old Peter was a decent man,

And though he twigged his lady’s plan,

Yet, hearing her approaching, he

Resumed invisibility.

“Dear Mrs. P., my only joy,”

Exclaimed the horrified old boy;

“Now give them up, I beg of you—

You know what I’m referring to!”

But no; the cross old lady swore

She’d keep his—what I said before—

To make him publicly absurd;

And Mrs. Peter kept her word.

The poor old fellow had no rest;

His coat, his stock, his shoes, his vest,


Were all that now met mortal eye—

The rest, invisibility!

drawing: woman scolding man’s clothes, without trousers

“Now, madam, give them up, I beg—

I’ve bad rheumatics in my leg;

Besides, until you do, it’s plain

I cannot come to sight again!

“For though some mirth it might afford

To see my clothes without their lord,

Yet there would rise indignant oaths

If he were seen without his clothes!”

But no; resolved to have her quiz,

The lady held her own—and his—


And Peter left his humble cot

To find a pair of—you know what.

drawing: man’s clothes, without trousers, walking by a frightened boy

But—here’s the worst of this affair—

Whene’er he came across a pair

Already placed for him to don,

He was too stout to get them on!

So he resolved at once to train,

And walked and walked with all his main

For years he paced this mortal earth,

To bring himself to decent girth.

At night, when all around is still,

You’ll find him pounding up a hill;

And shrieking peasants whom he meets,

Fall down in terror on the peats!

Old Peter walks through wind and rain,

Resolved to train, and train, and train,

Until he weighs twelve stone or so—

And when he does, I’ll let you know.


drawing: young woman standing over two kneeling men


WHEN rival adorers come courting a maid,

There’s something or other may often be said,

Why he should be pitched upon rather than him.

This wasn’t the case with Old Paul and Old Tim.

No soul could discover a reason at all

For marrying Timothy rather than Paul;

Though all could have offered good reasons, on oath,

Against marrying either—or marrying both.


They were equally wealthy and equally old,

They were equally timid and equally bold;

They were equally tall as they stood in their shoes—

Between them, in fact, there was nothing to choose.

Had I been young Emily, I should have said,

“You’re both of you old for a pretty young maid,

Threescore at the least you are verging upon;”

But I wasn’t young Emily. Let us go on.

No coward’s blood ran in young Emily’s veins,

Her martial old father loved bloody campaigns;

At the rumours of battles all over the globe

He pricked up his ears like the war-horse in “Job.”

He chuckled to hear of a sudden surprise

Of soldiers, compelled, through an enemy’s spies,

Without any knapsacks or shakos to flee,

For an eminent army-contractor was he.

So when her two lovers, whose patience was tried,

Implored her between them at once to decide,

She told them she’d marry whichever might bring

Good proofs of his doing the pluckiest thing.

They both went away with a qualified joy:

That coward, Old Paul, chose a very small boy,

And when no one was looking, in spite of his fears,

He set to work boxing that little boy’s ears.


The little boy struggled and tugged at his hair,

But the lion was roused, and Old Paul didn’t care;

He smacked him and whacked him, and boxed him and kicked,

Till the poor little beggar was royally licked.

drawing: man and boy holding a hoop

Old Tim knew a trick worth a dozen of that,

So he called for his stick and he called for his hat.

“I’ll cover myself with cheap glory—I’ll go

And wallop the Frenchmen who live in Soho!

“The German invader is ravaging France

With infantry rifle and cavalry lance,

And beautiful Paris is fighting her best

To shake herself free from her terrible guest.


“The Frenchmen in London, in craven alarms,

Have all run away from the summons to arms;

They haven’t the pluck of a pigeon—I’ll go

And wallop the Frenchmen who skulk in Soho!”

Old Timothy tried it and found it succeed:

That day he caused many French noses to bleed;

Through foggy Soho he spread fear and dismay,

And Frenchmen all round him in agony lay.

drawing: three men: one kneeling, one kicking, one walking

He took care to abstain from employing his fist

On the old and the cripple, for they might resist;

An elderly one may have pluck in his breast,

But the young and the strong ones are cowards confest.

Old Tim and Old Paul, with the list of their foes,

Prostrated themselves at their Emily’s toes:

“Oh, which of us two is the pluckier blade?”

And Emily answered and Emily said:


“Old Tim has thrashed runaway Frenchmen in scores,

Who ought to be guarding their cities and shores;

Old Paul has made little chaps’ noses to bleed—

Old Paul has accomplished the pluckier deed!”

drawing: man and woman retreating from older man


drawing: old man in a chair talking to two young sailors


PERHAPS already you may know

Sir Blennerhasset Portico?

A Captain in the Navy, he—

A Baronet and K.C.B.

You do? I thought so!

It was that captain’s favourite whim

(A notion not confined to him)

That Rodney was the greatest tar

Who ever wielded capstan-bar.

He had been taught so.


Benbow! Cornwallis! Hood!—Belay!

Compared with Rodney”—he would say—

“No other tar is worth a rap;

The great Lord Rodney was the chap

The French to polish!

Though, mind you, I respect Lord Hood;

Cornwallis, too, was rather good;

Benbow could enemies repel,

Lord Nelson, too, was pretty well—

That is, tol-lol-ish!”

Sir Blennerhasset spent his days

In learning Rodney’s little ways,

And closely imitated, too,

His mode of talking to his crew—

His port and paces.

An ancient tar he tried to catch

Who’d served in Rodney’s famous batch;

But since his time long years have fled,

And Rodney’s tars are mostly dead:

Eheu fugaces!

But after searching near and far,

At last he found an ancient tar

Who served with Rodney and his crew

Against the French in ’Eighty-two,

(That gained the peerage).


He gave him fifty pounds a year,

His rum, his baccy, and his beer;

And had a comfortable den

Rigged up in what, by merchantmen,

Is called the steerage.

drawing: very old man approaching naval officer

“Now, Jasper”—’twas that sailor’s name—

“Don’t fear that you’ll incur my blame

By saying, when it seems to you,

That there is anything I do

That Rodney wouldn’t.”

The ancient sailor turned his quid,

Prepared to do as he was bid:

“Ay, ay, yer honour; to begin,

You’ve done away with ‘swifting in’—

Well, sir, you shouldn’t!


“Upon your spars I see you’ve clapped

Peak halliard blocks, all iron-capped.

I would not christen that a crime,

But ’twas not done in Rodney’s time.

It looks half-witted!

Upon your maintop-stay, I see,

You always clap a salvagee!

Your stays, I see, are equalised—

No vessel, such as Rodney prized,

Would thus be fitted!

“And Rodney, honoured sir, would grin

To see you turning deadeyes in,

Not up, as in the ancient way,

But downwards, like a cutter’s stay—

You didn’t oughter;

Besides, in seizing shrouds on board,

Breast backstays you have quite ignored;

Great Rodney kept unto the last

Breast backstays on topgallant mast—

They make it tauter.”

Sir Blennerhasset “swifted in,”

Turned deadeyes up, and lent a fin

To strip (as told by Jasper Knox)

The iron capping from his blocks,

Where there was any.


Sir Blennerhasset does away

With salvagees from maintop-stay;

And though it makes his sailors stare,

He rigs breast backstays everywhere—

In fact, too many.

One morning, when the saucy craft

Lay calmed, old Jasper toddled aft.

“My mind misgives me, sir, that we

Were wrong about that salvagee—

I should restore it.”

“Good,” said the captain, and that day

Restored it to the maintop-stay.

Well-practised sailors often make

A much more serious mistake,

And then ignore it.

Next day old Jasper came once more:

“I think, sir, I was right before.”

Well, up the mast the sailors skipped,

The salvagee was soon unshipped,

And all were merry.

Again a day, and Jasper came:

“I p’r’aps deserve your honour’s blame,

I can’t make up my mind,” said he,

“About that cursed salvagee—

It’s foolish—very.”


“On Monday night I could have sworn

That maintop-stay it should adorn,

On Tuesday morning I could swear

That salvagee should not be there.

The knot’s a rasper!”

“Oh, you be hanged!” said Captain P.,

“Here, go ashore at Caribbee.

Get out—good-bye—shove off—all right!”

Old Jasper soon was out of sight—

Farewell, old Jasper!

drawing: old sailor hauling a fully crewed ship ashore


drawing: one man kneeling before another, as a woman looks on


IN all Arcadia’s sunny plain,

On all Arcadia’s hill,

None were so blithe as Bill and Jane,

So blithe as Jane and Bill.

No social earthquake e’er occurred

To rack their common mind:

To them a Panic was a word—

A Crisis, empty wind.


No Stock Exchange disturbed the lad

With overwhelming shocks—

Bill ploughed with all the shares he had,

Jane planted all her stocks.

And learn in what a simple way

Their pleasures they enhanced—

Jane danced like any lamb all day,

Bill piped as well as danced.

Surrounded by a twittling crew,

Of linnet, lark, and thrush,

Bill treated his young lady to

This sentimental gush:

“Oh, Jane, how true I am to you!

How true you are to me!

And how we woo, and how we coo!

So fond a pair are we!

“To think, dear Jane, that anyways,

Your chiefest end and aim

Is, one of these fine summer days,

To bear my honoured name!”

Quoth Jane, “Well, as you put the case,

I’m true enough, no doubt,

But then, you see, in this here place

There’s none to cut you out.

“But, oh! if anybody came,

A Lord or any such,

I do not think your honoured name

Would fascinate me much.


“For though your pals, you often boast,

You distance out-and-out;

Still, in the abstract, you’re a most

Uncompromising lout!”

Poor Bill, he gave a heavy sigh,

He tried in vain to speak—

A fat tear started to each eye

And coursed adown each cheek.

For, oh! right well in truth he knew

That very self-same day,

The Lord de Jacob Pillaloo

Was coming there to stay!

The Lord de Jacob Pillaloo

All proper maidens shun—

He loves all womankind, it’s true,

But never marries none.

Now Jane, with all her mad self-will,

Was no coquette—oh, no!

She really loved her painful Bill,

And thus she tuned her woe:

“Oh, willow, willow, o’er the lea!

And willow once again!

He’s sure to fall in love with me!

Why wasn’t I made plain?”

* * * *

A cunning woman lived hard by,

A sorceressing dame,

Mac Catacomb de Salmon-Eye

Was her uncommon name!


To her good Jane, with kindly yearn

For Bill’s increasing pain,

Repaired in secret, for to learn

How best to make her plain.

“Oh, Jane,” the worthy woman said,

“This mystic phial keep,

And rub its liquor in your head

Before you go to sleep.

“When you awake next day, I trow,

You’ll look in form and hue

To others just as you do now—

But not to Pillaloo!

“When you approach him, you will find

He’ll think you coarse—unkempt—

And coarsely bid you get behind,

With undisguised contempt.”

The Lord de Pillaloo arrived

With his expensive train,

And when in state serenely hived,

He sent for Bill and Jane.

“Oh, spare her, Lord of Pillaloo!

If ever wed you be,

There’s anything I’d rather do

Than flirt with Lady P.

Lord Pillaloo looked in her eye,

He looked her through and through:

The cunning woman’s prophecy

Was clearly coming true.


Lord Pillaloo, the Rustic’s Bane

(Bad person he, and proud),

He laughed Ha! ha! at pretty Jane,

And sneered at her aloud!

He bade her get behind him then,

And seek her mother’s stye—

Yet to her native countrymen

She was as fair as aye!

MacCatacomb, continue green!

Grow, Salmon-Eye, in might,

Except for you, there might have been

The deuce’s own delight!


drawing: three men holding out their hands


“COME, collar this bad man—

Around the throat he knotted me

Till I to choke began—

In point of fact, garrotted me!”

So spake Sir Herbert White

To James, Policeman Thirty-two—

All ruffled with his fight

Sir Herbert was, and dirty too.


Policeman nothing said

(Though he had much to say on it)

But from the bad man’s head

He took the cap that lay on it.

“No, great Sir Herbert White

Impossible to take him up.

This man is honest quite—

Wherever did you rake him up?

“For Burglars, Thieves, and Co.,

Indeed I’m no apologist,

But I, some years ago,

Assisted a Phrenologist.

“Observe his various bumps,

His head as I uncover it;

His morals lie in lumps

All round about and over it.”

“Now take him,” said Sir White,

“Or you will soon be rueing it;

Bless me! I must be right,—

I caught the fellow doing it!”

Policeman calmly smiled,

“Indeed you are mistaken, sir,

You’re agitated—riled—

And very badly shaken, sir.

“Sit down, and I’ll explain

My system of Phrenology,

A second, please, remain”—

(A second is horology).


drawing: man studying another man’s head, while a third looks on

Policeman left his beat—

(The Bart., no longer furious,

Sat down upon a seat,

Observing, “this is curious!”)

“Oh, surely, here are signs

Should soften your rigidity,

This gentleman combines

Politeness with timidity.

“Of Shyness here’s a lump—

A hole for Animosity—

And like my fist his bump

Of Impecuniosity.

“Just here the bump appears

Of Innocent Hilarity,

And just behind his ear

Are Faith, and Hope, and Charity.


“He of true Christian ways

As bright example sent us is—

This maxim he obeys,

Sorte tuâ contentus sis.’

“There, let him go his ways,

He needs no stern admonishing.”

The Bart., in blank amaze,

Exclaimed, “This is astonishing!

“I must have made a mull,

This matter I’ve been blind in it:

Examine, please, my skull,

And tell me what you find in it.”

That Crusher looked, and said,

With unimpaired urbanity,

Sir Herbert, you’ve a head

That teems with inhumanity.

“Here’s Murder, Envy, Strife,

(Propensity to kill any)

And Lies as large as life,

And heaps of Social Villainy.

“Here’s Love of Bran New Clothes,


A taste for Slang and Oaths,

And Fraudulent Trusteeism.

“Here’s Love of Groundless Charge—

Here’s Malice, too, and Trickery,

Unusually large

Your bump of Pocket-Pickery——”


drawing: two men looking down at a third

“Stop!” said the Bart., “my cup

Is full—I’m worse than him in all—

Policeman, take me up—

No doubt I am some criminal!”

That Policeman’s scorn grew large

(Phrenology had nettled it),

He took that Bart. in charge—

I don’t know how they settled it.


drawing: old man holding the hand of a fairy


ONCE a fairy

Light and airy

Married with a mortal;

Men, however,

Never, never,

Pass the fairy portal.

Slyly stealing,

She to Ealing

Made a daily journey;

There she found him,

Clients round him

(He was an attorney).


Long they tarried,

Then they married.

When the ceremony

Once was ended,

Off they wended

On their moon of honey.

Twelvemonth, maybe,

Saw a baby

(Friends performed an orgie).

Much they prized him,

And baptized him

By the name of Georgie.

Georgie grew up;

Then he flew up

To his fairy mother.

Happy meeting—

Pleasant greeting—

Kissing one another.

“Choose a calling

Most enthralling,

I sincerely urge ye.”

“Mother,” said he

(Rev’rence made he),

“I would join the clergy.

“Give permission

In addition—

Pa will let me do it:


He’s a living

In his giving,

He’ll appoint me to it.

Dreams of coff’ring

Easter off’ring,

Tithe and rent and pew-rate,

So inflame me

(Do not blame me),

That I’ll be a curate.”

She, with pleasure,

Said, “My treasure,

’Tis my wish precisely.

Do your duty,

There’s a beauty;

You have chosen wisely.

Tell your father

I would rather

As a churchman rank you.

You, in clover,

I’ll watch over.”

Georgie said, “Oh, thank you!”

Georgie scudded,

Went and studied,

Made all preparations,

And with credit

(Though he said it)

Passed examinations.


(Do not quarrel

With him, moral,

Scrupulous digestions—

’Twas his mother

And no other,

Answered all his questions).

Time proceeded;

Little needed

Georgie admonition:

He, elated,


Clergyman’s position.

People round him

Always found him

Plain and unpretending;

Kindly teaching,

Plainly preaching—

All his money lending.

So the fairy,

Wise and wary,

Felt no sorrow rising—

No occasion

For persuasion,

Warning, or advising.

He, resuming

Fairy pluming

(That’s not English, is it?)

Oft would fly up,

To the sky up,

Pay mamma a visit.


drawing: lofty fairy bidding farewell to naked child

* * *  

Time progressing,

Georgie’s blessing

Grew more Ritualistic—


Popish scandals,


Genuflections mystic;

Gushing meetings—


Heavenly ecstatics—

Broidered spencers—

Copes and censers—

Rochets and dalmatics.

This quandary

Vexed the fairy—

Flew she down to Ealing.

Georgie, stop it!

Pray you, drop it;

Hark to my appealing:

To this foolish

Papal rule-ish

Twaddle put an ending;

This a swerve is

From our Service

Plain and unpretending.”

He, replying,

Answered, sighing,

Hawing, hemming, humming,

“It’s a pity—

They’re so pritty;

Yet in mode becoming,


Mother tender,

I’ll surrender—

I’ll be unaffected—”

Then his Bishop

Into his shop

Entered unexpected!

drawing: severe man looking at curate and winged fairy

“Who is this, sir,—

Ballet miss, sir?”

Said the Bishop coldly.

“’Tis my mother,

And no other,”

Georgie answered boldly.


“Go along, sir!

You are wrong, sir,

You have years in plenty;

While this hussy

(Gracious mussy!)

Isn’t two and twenty!”

(Fairies clever

Never, never

Grow in visage older;

And the fairy,

All unwary,

Leant upon his shoulder!)

Bishop grieved him,

Disbelieved him;

George the point grew warm on;

Changed religion,

Like a pigeon,

And became a Mormon!


drawing: young woman at an open window


A MAIDEN sat at her window wide,

Pretty enough for a prince’s bride,

Yet nobody came to claim her.

She sat like a beautiful picture there,

With pretty bluebells and roses fair,

And jasmine leaves to frame her.


And why she sat there nobody knows;

But thus she sang as she plucked a rose,

The leaves around her strewing:

“I’ve time to lose and power to choose;

’Tis not so much the gallant who woos

But the gallant’s way of wooing!”

drawing: man in medieval clothes talking to woman in the window

A lover came riding by awhile,

A wealthy lover was he, whose smile

Some maids would value greatly—

A formal lover, who bowed and bent,

With many a high-flown compliment,


And cold demeanour stately.

“You’ve still,” said she to her suitor stern,

“The ’prentice-work of your craft to learn,

If thus you come a-cooing.

I’ve time to lose and power to choose;

’Tis not so much the gallant who woos

As the gallant’s way of wooing!”

drawing: man in feathered hat riding a small horse

A second lover came ambling by—

A timid lad with a frightened eye

And a colour mantling highly.

He muttered the errand on which he’d come,

Then only chuckled and bit his thumb,

And simpered, simpered shyly.

“No,” said the maiden, “go your way,

You dare but think what a man would say,

Yet dare come a-suing!

I’ve time to lose and power to choose;

’Tis not so much the gallant who woos

As the gallant’s way of wooing!”

drawing: man galloping away, with woman seated behind him


A third rode up at a startling pace—

A suitor poor, with a homely face—

No doubts appeared to bind him.

He kissed her lips and he pressed her waist,

And off he rode with the maiden, placed

On a pillion safe behind him.

And she heard the suitor bold confide

This golden hint to the priest who tied

The knot there’s no undoing:

“With pretty young maidens who can choose,

’Tis not so much the gallant who woos

As the gallant’s way of wooing!”


drawing: man and woman in medieval dress

(A Transpontine Romance.)

THE sun was setting in its wonted west,

When Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,

Met Mahry Daubigny, the Village Rose,

Under the Wizard’s Oak—old trysting-place

Of those who loved in rosy Aquitaine.

They thought themselves unwatched, but they were not;

For Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,


Found in Lieutenant-Colonel Jooles Dubosc

A rival, envious and unscrupulous,

Who thought it not foul scorn to dodge his steps,

And listen, unperceived, to all that passed

Between the simple little Village Rose

And Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores.

A clumsy barrack-bully was Dubosc,

Quite unfamiliar with the well-bred tact

That animates a proper gentleman

In dealing with a girl of humble rank.

You’ll understand his coarseness when I say

He would have married Mahry Daubigny,

And dragged the unsophisticated girl

Into the whirl of fashionable life,

For which her singularly rustic ways,

Her breeding (moral, but extremely rude),

Her language (chaste, but ungrammatical)

Would absolutely have unfitted her.

How different to this unreflecting boor

Was Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores!

Contemporary with the incident

Related in our opening paragraph,

Was that sad war ’twixt Gallia and ourselves

That followed on the treaty signed at Troyes;

And so Lieutenant-Colonel Jooles Dubosc

(Brave soldier, he, with all his faults of style)

And Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,

Were sent by Charles of France against the lines

Of our Sixth Henry (Fourteen twenty-nine),

To drive his legions cut of Aquitaine.


When Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,

Returned, suspecting nothing, to his camp,

After his meeting with the Village Rose,

He found inside his barrack letter-box

A note from the commanding officer,

Requiring his attendance at head-quarters.

drawing: two angry soldiers, holding bicorne hats

He went, and found Lieutenant-Colonel Jooles.

“Young Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,

This night we shall attack the English camp:

Be the ‘forlorn hope’ yours—you’ll lead it, sir,

And lead it too with credit, I’ve no doubt”

(These last words with a cruelly obvious sneer)

“As every man must certainly be killed


(For you are twenty ’gainst two thousand men),

It is not likely that you will return.

But what of that? you’ll have the benefit

Of knowing that you die a soldier’s death.”

Obedience was young Hongree’s strongest point,

But he imagined that he only owed

Allegiance to his Mahry and his King.

“If Mahry bade me lead these fated men,

I’d lead them—but I do not think she would.

If Charles, my King, said, ‘Go, my son, and die,’

I’d go, of course—my duty would be clear.

But Mahry is in bed asleep, I hope,

And Charles, my King, three hundred leagues from this.

As for Lieutenant-Colonel Jooles Dubosc,

How know I that our monarch would approve

The order he has given me to-night?

My King I’ve sworn in all things to obey—

I’ll only take my orders from my King!”

Thus Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores

Interpreted the terms of his commission.

And Hongree, who was wise as he was good,

Disguised himself that night in ample cloak,

Round flapping hat, and visor mask of black,

And made, unnoticed, for the English camp.

He passed the unsuspecting sentinels

(Who little thought a man in this disguise

Could be a proper object of suspicion),

And ere the curfew-bell had boomed “lights out,”

He found in audience Bedford’s haughty Duke.


drawing: man with dark lantern sneaking past a sentinel

“Your Grace,” he said, “start not—be not alarmed,

Although a Frenchman stands before your eyes.

I’m Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores.

My colonel will attack your camp to-night,

And orders me to lead the hope forlorn.

Now I am sure our excellent King Charles

Would not approve of this; but he’s away

A hundred leagues, and rather more than that.

So, utterly devoted to my King,

Blinded by my attachment to the throne,

And having but its interest at heart,

I feel it is my duty to disclose

All schemes that emanate from Colonel Jooles,

If I believe that they are not the kind

Of schemes that our good monarch could approve.”


“But how,” said Bedford’s Duke, “do you propose

That we should overthrow your colonel’s scheme?”

And Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores,

Replied at once with never-failing tact:

“Oh, sir, I know this cursed country well.

Entrust yourself and all your host to me;

I’ll lead you safely by a secret path

Into the heart of Colonel Jooles’ array,

And you can then attack them unprepared,

And slay my fellow-countrymen unarmed.”

The thing was done. The Duke of Bedford gave

The order, and two thousand fighting-men

Crept silently into the Gallic camp,

And slew the Frenchmen as they lay asleep;

And Bedford’s haughty Duke slew Colonel Jooles,

And married Mahry, pride of Aquitaine,

To Hongree, Sub-Lieutenant of Chassoores.

drawing: one man drawing his sword on another, as young couple look on


Notes and Corrections: More Bab Ballads

For general notes about the Bab Ballads and the Ellis edition, see the first volume. This second volume came out in 1873, containing poems first published between June 1868 (“Pasha Bailey Ben”) and January 1871 (“Old Paul and Old Tim”).

This etext is based on the undated Routledge edition. Illustrations are in their original places, with two exceptions. Drawings that came at mid-stanza have been moved to the nearest stanza break. Where possible, drawings that came at the very end of a poem have been moved up a stanza or two to avoid visual collisions.


Of the 35 titles in this volume, 22 were included in Fifty Bab Ballads, all in their original More Bab Ballads sequence. (If you’re having trouble getting it to add up: one of the fifty, “Etiquette”, appeared in neither of the original Bab collections, probably because it wasn’t originally published in Fun.) Omitted titles:

The Bumboat Woman’s Story

In addition to the obvious derivations, you can also consider Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment.

“The Bumboat Woman’s Story” is one of the later Bab Ballads, originally published in April 1870. In spite of this, it was often included in American editions of the first collection, Bab Ballads—especially the ones published in or after 1878, when the Gilbert name had become a gold mine.

Two Ogres

Pray borrow of Papa an ex- / Purgated Lemprière.
[By the usual yawn-provoking coincidence, I recently had occasion to look up Lemprière in connection with another in-progress ebook. Short version: John Lemprière’s 1788 Bibliotheca Classica or Classical Dictionary is a listing of all names that appear in classical literature, in a single massive two-columned volume. Today the Oxford Classical Dictionary serves the same purpose.]

Little Oliver

Fair Minnie-haha, “Laughing Water,”
[If only this poem had replicated the metre of Hiawatha! Sadly, Hiawatha is in trochees, while “Little Oliver” is in iambs.]

He’d say unto himself, “Knee-suitor,
[Sad but true: Before the introduction of “New Style” pronunciation, this really is how Ne sutor would have been pronounced in English-speaking countries.]

In Neidermeyer’s opera.
[Ellis corrects to “Niedermeyer”. You can see his point—but all editions of the Bab Ballads spell it “Neidermeyer”.]

Pasha Bailey Ben

Its Fun publication date of 6 June 1868 makes this the earliest poem in the second Bab Ballads volume. Two weeks earlier (23 May) was “Gentle Alice Brown”, which just squeaked into the first volume.

Could “yödel” half as well as Coo;
text unchanged

Mocassins decked his graceful legs,
spelling unchanged

About Lieutenant-Colonel Flare.
[Ellis helpfully explains that this final stanza was added for the book publication. In Fun the poem ended with:
(To be Continued—Author.)—(No!—Editor) ]

Lieutentant-Colonel Flare

Beneath a farmers harrow,
text unchanged

Annie Protheroe

And passed through that post-office which I used to keep at Bow.
final . missing

An Unfortunate Likeness

In the footnotes, dashes were variously printed at the end of the text line or at the beginning of the attribution. I have regularized them all.

6 “The spring, the summer, / Act IV., sc. 1
number 6 missing or invisible
[Ellis emends “Act IV.” to “Act II.” I suppose he is right.]

The King of Canoodle-Dum

They saw him aboard his ship,
text has The saw

Brave Alum Bey

Becalmed in the ocean of Honololu.
spelling unchanged

The tempest subsided, and quiet prevailed.
final . missing

The Martinet

I sang the story true / Of Captain Reece
[Captain Reece is in the first Bab collection under that name.]

The Reverend Simon Magus

[As in the earlier Bab Ballads, the word is consistently written with a circumflex accent.]

“To preach three times on Sabbath days
open quote missing

Damon v. Pythias

They made it quite / A personal affair.
final . missing

The Bishop of Rum-Ti-Foo, Again

We first met the Bishop a year and a half earlier in Fun—five years, if you waited for the books.

Last summer twelvemonth
[He’s kidding. The first Bishop came out in November (1867).]

And taught them “Bother!” also, “Blow!”
[Decades later, The Pinafore Picture Book similarly converted “the great big D” into “the great big B”.]

Their native nothingness.)
) missing

[James Ellis soberly explains that Mungo Park, “famous Scottish explorer of the Niger”, does not in fact describe the “Cutch-chi-boo” dance by name. File under: NSS.]

A Worm Will Turn

And then became (extremely sad!)
text has exremely

His uncles died—his aunts eloped—
[Ellis emends to “His uncles forged”, to agree with “my uncles’ forging knack” a few stanzas further along.]

The Haughty Actor

The Court of the Exchequer.”
close quote missing

The Two Majors

“No doubt we deserve it—no mercy we crave
text has deserve—it no

For years—in this soldierly “maid of the bar,”
text has single for double close quote

Emily, John, James, and I

And people remarked that he muttered “Oh, dim!”
text has single for double close quote

Old Paul and Old Tim

“Old Paul and Old Tim” originally appeared in Fun in January 1871, making it the youngest Bab Ballad in this collection.

The Mystic Salvagee

It’s foolish—very.”
close quote missing

The Cunning Woman

For, oh! right well in truth he knew
text has be knew

How best to make her plain.
text has so make

The Fairy Curate

Once a fairy / Light and airy / Married with a mortal
[And we all know what happens next.]

By the name of Georgie
[Or, if you prefer, Strephon.]

He’s a living / In his giving
text has a-living with hyphen
[Ellis emends to “There’s a living”, but I’m content to read it as “He’s (got) a living”.]

This quandary / Vexed the fairy
[The Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe pronounces “quandary” the same way.]

Fairies clever / Never, never
text has Faries

The Way of Wooing

Yet dare come a-suing!
[The Ellis edition has “dare to come”, which certainly fits the metre better.]

I’ve time to lose and power to choose
text has loose
[in the line following “come a-suing”, i.e. the third stanza]

Hongree and Mahry

Although it’s formally in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter), this poem also works nicely if read as a recitative, like Bunthorne’s A languid love for lilies does not blight me! and so on.

A Transpontine Romance.
[Ellis tells us that Gilbert went through three subtitles for this ballad. The one used here is carried over from Fun. By the time “Hongree and Mahry” reached Fifty Bab Ballads, the subtitle had become “A Recollection of a Surrey Melodrama”. Still later, it became “A Richard­sonian Melodrama”—referring to a popular traveling theatre group, not the 18th-century novelist. (Anomalously, this last is the subtitle Ellis chooses to print; usually he favors earlier versions, unless there is a clear error.)]

against the lines / Of our Sixth Henry (Fourteen twenty-nine)
[If memory serves, Henry VI was eight years old in 1429, and therefore cannot have had a great deal of personal involvement with the battle in question.]

If Charles, my King, said, ‘Go, my son, and die,’
[Or, as it were, “Go! ye heroes, go to glory!”]

The Duke of Bedford gave / The order
word “of” printed in plain type

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.