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THE BAB BALLADS



ro.




MACMILLAN AND CO., Limitko

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA • MADRAS
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK • BOSTON • CHICAGO
DALLAS • SAN FRANCISCO



THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd.

TORONTO



The Bab Ballads



WITH WHICH ARE INCLUDED



SONGS OF A SAVOYARD



BY



W. S. GILBERT




WITH 350 ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR



MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMLFED

ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON

1920



A,-^
'^-if.%.



COPYRIGHT

Transfers ed to Macndllaii and Co. Ltn. 1Q04

Sixth Editioti 1904

Rep? in/cd igoS, 1908, 1910. 1912, 1914. 1917 1919. 1920



ON<^l r.,



t < t



/\y



AUTHOR'S NOTE

About thirty years since, several of " The Bab Ballads "
(most of which had appeared, from time to time, in the
pages of Fun) were collected by me, and published by
Messrs. George Routledge and Sons. This volume passed
through several editions, and, in due course,, was followed
by a second series under the title of " More Bab Ballads,"
which achieved a popularity equal to that of its pre-
decessor. Subsequently, excerpts were made from these
two volumes, and, under the title of "Fifty Bab Ballads,"
had a very considerable sale ; but I soon discovered that
in making the selection for this volume I had discarded
certain Ballads that were greater favourites with my
readers than with me. Nevertheless this issue was
followed by many editions, English and American, of
"Bab Ballads," "More Bab Ballads," and "Fifty Bab
Ballads," to the no little bewilderment of such of the
public as had been good enough to concern themselves
with my verses. So it became desirable (for our own
private ends) that this confusion should be definitely
cleared up ; and thus it came to pass that a reissue of the
two earlier collections, in one volume, was decided upon.

V



Author's Note

Some seven years since, I collected the most popular
of the songs and ballads which I had written for the
series of light operas with which my name is associated, and
published them under the title of " Songs of a Savoyard."
It recently occurred to me that these songs had so nmch
in common with "The Bab Ballads" that it might be
advisable to weld the two books into one. This is, briefly,
the history of the present volume.

I have always felt that many of the original illustrations
to "The Bab Ballads" erred gravely in the direction of
unnecessary extravagance. This defect I have endeavoured
to correct through the medium of the two hundred new
drawings which I have designed for this volume. I am
afraid I cannot claim for them any other recommendation.



W. S. GILBERT.



Grim's Dvkk, Harrow Weald,

4/// December 1S97.



VI



CONTENTS



Captain Reece ....

The Darned Mounseer .

The Rival Curates

The Englishman ....

Only a Dancing Girl
The Disagreeable Man .
General John .....

The Coming By-and-By .

To A Little Maid ....

The Highly Respectable Gondolier
John and Freddy ....

The Fairy Queen's Song
Sir Guy the Crusader .
Is Life a Boon ? . . . .

Haunted ......

The Modern Major-General .
The Bishop and the 'Busman
The Heavy Dragoon
The Troubadour
Proper Pride .
Ferdinando and Elvira
The Policeman's Lot
Lorenzo de Lardy .
The Baffled Grumbler



or, tpie Gentle Pieman



PAGE
I

6

8

13
14
16
18
22
24
26
28
32
34
38

39
42

44
49
51
56
58
63
64
69



VL\



Contents



Disillusioned .

The House of Peers

Babette's Love

A Merry Madrigal

To my Bride .

The Duke and the Duchess

The Folly of Brown

Eheu Fugaces — !

Sir Macklin

They'll None of 'em be Missed

The Yarn of the "Nancy Bell"

Girl Graduates . ' .

The Bishop of Rum-ti-Foo

Braid the Raven Hair .

The Precocious Baby

The Working Monarch .

To Phcebe

The Ape and the Lady .

Baines Carew, Gentleman

Only Roses

Thomas Winterbottom Hance

The Rover's Apology

A Discontented Sugar Broki

An Appeal

The Pantomime "Super" to i

The Reward of Merit .

The Ghost, the Gallant, thi

The Magnet and the Churn

King Borria Bun(;alke Boo

The Family Fool

The Periwinkle Girl

Sans Souci

Thomson Green and IIakriei

A Recipe .



ns Mask .
Gael, and th



1 1 ALE



E Goblin



VIll



Contents

Bob Polter .....

The Merryman and his Maid

Ellen M 'Jones Aberdeen

The Susceptible Chancellor

Peter the Wag . ...

When a Merry Maiden Marries .

The Three Kings of Chickeraboo

The British Tar ....

Gentle Alice Brown

A Man who would Woo a Fair Maid

The Sorcerer's Song

The Bumboat Woman's Story

The Fickle Breeze ....

The Two Ogres ....

The First Lord's Song .

Little Oliver .

Mister William ....

Would you Know ? . , .

Pasha Bailey Ben ....

Lieutenant-Colonel Flare

Speculation .....

Ah Me !

Lost Mr. Blake ....

The Duke of Plaza-Toro

The Baby's Vengeance . ...

The ^Esthete .....

The Captain and the Mermaids .

Said I to Myself, Said I

Annie Protheroe ....

Sorry her Lot ....

An Unfortunate Likeness

The Contemplative Sentry .

Gregory Parable, LL.D.

The Philosophic Pill



PAGE
176
182
185
191

198
200
204
205
209

211
214
219
221
227
229

240
242
248

255
256
262
265
271

273
278
280
286
287
292

294
299



IX



Contents



HIS Uniform o



TnK King of Canoodi.ic-dum

Bluf. Blood

First Love

The Judge's Song

Brave Alum Bey

When I First put t

Sir Barxaey Bampton Boo

Solatium ....

The Modest Couple

A Nightmare .

The Martinet .

Don't Forget !

The Sailor Boy to his Lass

The Suicide's Grave

The Reverend Simon Magus

He and She

Damon v. Pythias

The Mighty Must

My Dream

A Mirage

The Bishop of Rum-ti-Foo Again

The Ghosts' High Noon

A Worm will Turn

The Humane Mikado

The flAUGHTY Actor

Willow Waly !

The Two Majors

Life is Lovely all the Year

Emily, John, James, and I

The Usher's Charge

The Perils of Invisibility

The Great Oak Tree

Old Paul and Old Tim .

King Goodiieart



Contents

The Mystic Selvagee

Sleep on !

The CuNxNmng Woman

The Love-sick Boy .

Phrenology

Poetry Everywhere

The Fairy Curate .

He Loves !

The Way of W'ooing

True Diffidence

HONGREE AND MaHRY •

The Tangled Skein

The Reverend Micah Sowls

My Lady .

One against the W^orld

The Force of Argument

Put a Penny in the Slot

Good Little Girls .

The Phantom Curate

Life .....

Limited Liability .

The Sensation Captain .

Anglicised Utopia .

An English Girl

Tempora Mutantur

A Manager's Perplexities

Out of Sorts .

At a Pantomime

How it's Done

A Classical Revival

The Story of Prince Agib

The Practical Joker

The National Anthem .

Joe Golightly ; or, the First. Lord's Daughter



TAGE
426

433
439
440

445
446

453
454
458
460
466
467
471
473
475
480
482
484
487
490
492
497
499
501

504
506
508
512

515
S18

523
526
528



XI



Contents

IIkr Terms

Thk Independent Bee

To the '1'krrestkial Globe

Etiquette

The Disconcerted Tenor

Ben Allah Achmet ; or, the Fatal Tum

The Played-out Humorist



PAGE

534
536
539
541
547
549
553



Index to First Lines
Alphabetical Index to Titles



555
561



Xll



THE BAB BALLADS




CAPTAIN REECE



Of all the ships upon the blue
No ship contained a better crew
Than that of worthy Captain Reece,
Commanding of The Mantelpiece.

He was adored by all his men,
For worthy Captain Reece, R.N.,
Did all that lay within him to
Promote the comfort of his crew.



Captain Reece

If ever they were dull or sad,
Their captain danced to them like mad,
Or told, to make the time pass by.
Droll legends of his infancy.




A feather bed had every man,
Warm slippers and hot-water can.
Brown Windsor from the captain's store,
A valet, too, to every four.

Did they with thirst in summer burn ?
Lo, seltzogenes at every turn,
And on all very sultry days
Cream ices handed round on trays.



Then currant wine and ginger pops
Stood handily on all the " tops " ;
And, also, with amusement rife,
A "Zoetrope, or Wheel of Life."



Captain Reece

New volumes came across the sea
From Mister Mudie's libraree ;
llze Times and Saturday Reviezv
Beguiled the leisure of the crew.



Kind-hearted Captain Reece, R.N.,
Was quite devoted to his men ;
In point of fact, good Captain Reece
Beatified The Mantelpiece.



One summer eve, at half-past ten,
He said (addressing all his men) :
"Come, tell me, please, what I can do
To please and gratify my crew ?

" By any reasonable plan
I'll make you happy, if I can ;
My own convenience count as nil;
It is my duty, and I will."

Then up and answered William Lee
(The kindly captain's coxswain he,
A nervous, shy, low-spoken man).
He cleared his throat and thus began :



"You have a daughter, Captain Reece,
Ten female cousins and a niece,
A ma, if what I'm told is true.
Six sisters, and an aunt or two.

" Now, somehow, sir, it seems to me,
More friendly-like we all should be
If you united of 'em to
Unmarried members of the crew.



Captain Reece

" If you'd ameliorate our life,
Let each select from them a wife ;
And as for nervous me, old pal,
Give me your own enchanting gal !



Good Captain Reece, that worthy man.
Debated on his coxswain's plan :
"1 quite agree," he said, "O Bill;
It is my duty, and I will.



" My daughter, that enchanting gurl.
Has just been promised to an earl.
And all my other familee.
To peers of various degree.



" But what are dukes and viscounts to
The happiness of all my crew ?
The word I gave you I'll fulfil ;
It is my duty, and I will.

" As you desire it shall befall,
I'll settle thousands on you all.
And I shall be, despite my hoard.
The only bachelor on board."

The boatswain of The Mantelpiece^
He blushed and spoke to Captain Reece.
"I beg your honour's leave," he said,
" If you would wish to go and wed,

" I have a widowed mother who
Would be the very thing for you —
She long has loved you from afar,
She washes for you, Captain R."

4



Captain Reece

The captain saw the dame that day-
Addressed her in his playful way — •
"And did it want a wedding ring?
It was a tempting ickle sing !



"Well, well, the chaplain I will seek,
We'll all be married this day week —
At yonder church upon the hill ;
It is my duty, and I will ! "

The sisters, cousins, aunts, and niece.
And widowed ma of Captain Reece,
Attended there as they were bid ;
It was their duty, and they did.





THE DARNED MOUNSEEK



I SHIPPED, d'ye see, in a Revenue sloop,
And, off Cape Finisteere,

A merchantman we see,
A Frenchman, going free,
So we made for the bold Mounseer,

D'ye see?
We made for the bold Mounseer !
But she proved to be a Frigate — and she up with her
ports,
And fires with a thirty-two !
It come uncommon near,
But we answered with a cheer,
Which paralysed the Parley-voo,

D'ye see ?
Which paralysed the Parley-voo !
6



The Darned Mounseer

Then our Captain he up and he says, says he,
" That chap we need not fear, —
We can take her, if we hke.
She is sartin for to strike,
For she's only a darned Mounseer,

D'ye see ?
She's only a darned Mounseer !
But to fight a French fal-lal — it's like hittin' of a gal —
It's a lubberly thing for to do ;
For we, with all our faults.
Why, we're sturdy British salts,
While she's but a Parley-voo,

D'ye see ?
A miserable Parley-voo ! "

So we up with our helm, and we scuds before the breeze.
As we gives a compassionating cheer ;
Froggee answers with a shout
As he sees us go about.
Which was grateful of the poor Mounseer,

D'ye see ?
Which was grateful of the poor Mounseer !
And I'll wager in their joy they kissed each other's cheek
(Which is what them furriners do).

And they blessed their lucky stars
We were hardy British tars
Who had pity on a poor Parley-voo,

D'ye see ?
Who had pity on a poor Parley-voo !




THE RIVAL CURATES

List while the poet trolls
Of Mr. Clayton Hooper,

Who had a cure of souls
At Spiffton-extra-Sooper.

He lived on curds and whey,
And daily sang their praises,

And then he'd go and play
With buttercups and daisies.

Wild croquet Hooper banned,
And all the sports of Mammon,

He warred with cribbage, and
He exorcised backgammon.

His helmet was a glance

That spoke of holy gladness ;

A saintly smile his lance,
His shield a tear of sadness,
8



The Rival Curates

His Vicar smiled to see

This armour on him buckled ;
With pardonable glee

He blessed himself and chuckled



" In mildness to abound
My curate's sole design is,

In all the country round

There's none so mild as mine is i "



And Hooper, disinclined
His trumpet to be blowing,

Yet didn't think you'd find
A milder curate going.



A friend arrived one day
At Spiffton-extra-Sooper,

And in this shameful way
He spoke to Mr. Hooper :

"You think your famous name
For mildness can't be shaken,

That none can blot your fame —
But, Hooper, you're mistaken !

" Your mind is not as blank
As that of HoPLEY Porter,

Who holds a curate's rank
At Assesmilk-cum-Worter.



" He plays the airy flute,

And looks depressed and blighted,
Doves round about him 'toot,'

And lambkins dance delighted.



The Rival Curates




''^ He labours more than you

At worsted work, and frames it ;

In old maids' albums, too,

Sticks seaweed — yes, and names it !

The tempter said his say,

Which pierced him like a needle —
He summoned straight away

His sexton and his beadle.



These men were men who could

Hold liberal opinions :
On Sundays they were good —

On week-days they were minionSc

" To HoPLEY Porter go,
Your fare I will afford you —

Deal him a deadly blow.

And blessings shall reward you.
lo



The Rival Curates

" But stay — I do not like
Undue assassination,

And so, before you strike,
Make this communication




•^%



" I'll give him this one chance —

If he'll more gaily bear him,
Play croquet, smoke, and dance,

I wilUngly will spare him."

They went, those minions true,

To Assesmilk-cum-Worter,
And told their errand to

The Reverend Hopley Porter.

" What ? " said that reverend gent,
" Dance through my hours of leisure ?

Smoke ? — bathe myself with scent ? —
Play croquet ? Oh, with pleasure !
1 1



The Rival Curates

"Wear all my hair in curl?

Stand at my door, and wink — so-
At every passing girl ?

My brothers, I should think so !




" For years I've longed for some
Excuse for this revulsion :

Now that excuse has come —
I do it on compulsion ! ! ! "

He smoked and winked away —
This Reverend Hopley Porter-

The deuce there was to pay
At Assesmilk-cum-Worter.

And Hooper holds his ground,
In mildness daily growing —

They think him, all around,
The mildest curate going,

12



\\\^\^1 '/'////

^^^l/%




THE ENGLISHMAN



He is an Englishman !

For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,

That he is an Englishman !

For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk, or Proosian,

Or perhaps Itali-an !

But in spite of all temptations,
To belong to other nations.

He remains an Englishman !
Hurrah !

For the true-born Englishman !



13




ONLY A DAXCING GIRL



Only a dancing girl,

With an unromantic style,

With borrowed colour and curl,
With fixed mechanical smile,
With many a hackneyed wile.

With ungrammatical lips,

And corns that mar her trips !



Hung from the " flies " in air,
She acts a palpable lie ;

She's as little a fairy there
As unpoetical 1 1
I hear you asking, Why —

Why in the world I sing

This tawdry, tinselled thing?

14



Only a Dancing Girl

No airy fairy she.

As she hangs in arsenic green,
From a highly impossible tree,

In a highly impossible scene

(Herself not over clean).
For fays don't suffer, Fm told,
From bunions, coughs, or cold.

And stately dames that bring
Their daughters there to see.

Pronounce the " dancing thing "
No better than she should be.
With her skirt at her shameful knee

And her painted, tainted phiz :

Ah, matron, which of us is ?

/And, in sooth, it oft occurs

^ while these matrons sigh.
Their dresses are lower than hers,

And sometimes half as high ;

And their hair is hair they buy.
And they use their glasses, too.
In a way she'd blush to do.)

But change her gold and green
For a coarse merino gown.

And see her upon the scene

Of her home, when coaxing down
Her drunken father's frown,

In his squalid cheerless den :

She's a fairy truly, then !



^5




THE DISAG^^ ,,; :N

If you give me your attenu yor. vvhat I am :

I'm a genuine philanthropist ivinds are sham.

Each Uttle fault of temper and each social defect
In my erring fellow-creatures, I endeavour to correct.
To all their little weaknesses I open people's eyes,
And little plans to snub the self-sufficient I devise ;
I love my fellow-creatures — I do all the good I can —
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man !
And I can't think why !

To compliments inflated I've a withering reply,
And vanity I always do my best to mortify ;
A charitable action I can skilfully dissect ;
And interested motives I'm delighted to detect.
I know everybody's income and what everybody earns,
And I carefully compare it with the income-tax returns ^
But to benefit humanity, however much I plan.
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man !
And I can't think why !
i6



The Disagreeable Man

I'm sure I'm no ascetic ; I'm as pleasant as can be ;
You'll always find me ready with a crushing repartee;
I've an irritating chuckle, I've a celebrated sneer,
I've an entertaining snigger, I've a fascinating leer;
To everybody's prejudice I know a thing or two ;
I can tell a woman's age in half a minute — and I do —
But although I try to make myself as pleasant as I can.
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man !
And I can't think why !




ij




GENERAL JOHN



The bravest names for fire and flames

And all that mortal durst,
Were General John and Private James,

Of the Sixty-seventy-first.

General John was a soldier tried,

A chief of warlike dons ;
A haughty stride and a withering pride

Were Major-General John's.



A sneer would play on his martial phiz,

Superior birth to show ;
" Pish ! " was a favourite word of his,

And he often said " Ho ! ho ! "



General John

Full-Private James described might be»

As a man of a mournful mind ;
No characteristic trait had he

Of any distinctive kind.

From the ranks, one day, cried Private James,

" Oh ! Major-General John,
I've doubts of our respective names,

My mournful mind upon.




" A glimmering thought occurs to me
(Its source I can't unearth),

But Fve a kind of a notion we
Were cruelly changed at birth.



" I've a strange idea that each other's names

We've each of us here got on.
Such things have been," said Private James.

" They have ! " sneered General John.

19



General John

" My General John, I swear upon

My oath I think 'tis so "

" Pish ! " proudly sneered his General John,

And he also said " Ho ! ho ! "



" My General John ! my General John !

My General John ! " quoth he,
" This aristocratical sneer upon

Your face I blush to see !



" No truly great or generous cove

Deserving of them names,
Would sneer at a fixed idea that's drove

In the mind of a Private James ! "




Said General John, " Upon your claims
No need your breath to waste ;

If this is a joke, Full-Private James,
It's a joke of doubtful taste.

20



General John

" But, being a man of doubtless worth,

If you feel certain quite
That we were probably changed at birth,

ril venture to say you're right."

So General John as Private James

Fell in, parade upon ;
And Private James, by change of names.

Was Major-General John.



21




THE COMING BY-AND-BY



Sad is that woman's lot who, year by year,
Sees, one by one, her beauties disappear;
As Time, grown weary of lier heart-drawn sighs,
Impatiently begins to " dim her eyes " ! —
Herself compelled, in life's uncertain gloamings.
To wreathe her wrinkled brow with well- saved "comb-
ings " —
Reduced, with rouge, lipsalve, and pearly grey.
To "make up " for lost time, as best she may !



Silvered is the raven hair.

Spreading is the parting straight.
Mottled the complexion fair.

Halting is the youthful gait,

22



The Coming By-and-by

Hollow is the laughter free,
Spectacled the limpid eye,

Little will be left of me.
In the coming by-and-by !



Fading is the taper waist —

Shapeless grows the shapely limb.
And although securely laced,

Spreading is the figure trim !
Stouter than I used to be.

Still more corpulent grow I —
There will be too much of me

In the coming by-and-by !




23




TO A LITTLE MAID

BY A POLICEMAN

Come with me, little maid !
Nay, shrink not, thus afraid —

I'll harm thee not !
Fly not, my love, from me —
I have a home for thee —
A fairy grot.

Where mortal eye
Can rarely pry.
There shall thy dwelling be !



List to me, while I tell
The pleasures of that cell,

Oh, little maid !
What though its couch be rude-
Homely the only food
Within its shade?
No thought of care
Can enter there,
No vulgar swain intrude !
24



To a Little Maid

Come with me, little maid,
Come to the rocky shade

I love to sing ;
Live with us, maiden rare — ■
Come, for we " want " thee there,
Thou elfin thing,
To work thy spell,
In some cool cell
In stately Pentonville !



25




THE HIGHLY RESPECTABLE GONDOLIER

I STOLE the Prince, and I brought him here,

And left him, gaily prattling
With a highly respectable Gondolier,
Who promised the Royal babe to rear,
And teach him the trade of a timoneer

With his own beloved bratling.

Both of the babes were strong and stout.

And, considering all things, clever.
Of that there is no manner of doubt —
No probable, possible shadow of doubt —
No possible doubt whatever.



Time sped, and when at the end of a year

I sought that infant cherished.
That highly respectable Gondolier

26



The Highly Respectable Gondolier

Was lying a corpse on his humble bier —
I dropped a Grand Inquisitor's tear —
That Gondolier had perished !

A taste for drink, combined with gout,

Had doubled him up for ever.
Of that there is no manner of doubt —
No probable, possible shadow of doubt-
No possible doubt whatever.



But owing, I'm much disposed to fear,

To his terrible taste for tippling,
That highly respectable Gondolier
Could never declare with a mind sincere
Which of the two was his offspring dear.

And which the Royal stripling !

Which was which he could never make out,

Despite his best endeavour.
Of that there is no manner of doubt —
No probable, possible shadow of doubt —
No possible doubt whatever.



The children followed his old career —
(This statement can't be parried)

Of a highly respectable Gondolier :

Well, one of the two (who will soon be her^) —

But which of the two is not quite clear —
Is the Royal Prince you married !

Search in and out and round about

And you'll discover never
A tale so free from every doubt —
All probable, possible shadow of doubt-
All possible doubt whatever !



27



^




J^otf*



JOHN AND FREDDY

John courted lovely Mary Ann,

So likewise did his brother, Freddy.

Fred was a very soft young man,

While John, though quick, was most unsteady^

Fred w^as a graceful kind of youth.

But John was very much the strongest.

"Oh, dance away," said she, "in truth,
I'll marry him who dances longest,"

John tries the maiden's taste to strike
With gay, grotesque, outrageous dresses,

And dances comically, like

Clodoche and Co., at the Princess's.



But Freddy tries another style,

He knows some graceful steps and does 'em — ■
A breathing Poem — Woman's smile —

A man all poesy and buzzem.
28



John and Freddy

Now Freddy's operatic /c?^ —

Now Johnny's hornpipe seems entrapping
Now Freddy's graceful entrechats —

Now Johnny's skilful "cellar-flapping."



For many hours — for many days —

For many weeks performed each brother,

For each was active in his ways,

And neither would give in to t'other.




After a month of this, they say

(The maid was getting bored and moody)
A wandering curate passed that way

And talked a lot of goody-goody.



"Oh my," said he, with solemn frown,
"I tremble for each dancing yrrz/^r,

Like unregenerated clown

And harlequin at some the-ayter."
29



John and Freddy-
He showed that men, in dancing, do

Both impiously and absurdly,
And proved his proposition true.

With Firstly, Secondly, and Thirdly.

For months both John and Freddy danced;

The curate's protests little heeding ;
For months the curate's words enhanced


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Online LibraryW. S. (William Schwenck) GilbertThe Bab ballads : with which are included Songs of a Savoyard → online text (page 1 of 16)