William Schwenck Gilbert ( )


The Bab Ballads. Thomson Green and Harriet Hale


(To be sung to the Air of An Orrible Tale.)

   Oh list to this incredible tale
   Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale;
   Its truth in one remark youll sum
Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!

   Oh, Thomson Green was an auctioneer,
   And made three hundred pounds a year;
   And Harriet Hale, most strange to say,
Gave pianoforte lessons at a sovereign a day.

   Oh, Thomson Green, I may remark,
   Met Harriet Hale in Regents Park,
   Where he, in a casual kind of way,
Spoke of the extraordinary beauty of the day.

   They met again, and strange, though true,
   He courted her for a month or two,
   Then to her pa he said, says he,
Old man, I love your daughter and your daughter worships me!

   Their names were regularly banned,
   The wedding day was settled, and
   Ive ascertained by dint of search
They were married on the quiet at St. Mary Abbots Church.

   Oh, list to this incredible tale
   Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale,
   Its truth in one remark youll sum
Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!

   That very self-same afternoon
   They started on their honeymoon,
   And (oh, astonishment!) took flight
To a pretty little cottage close to Shanklin, Isle of Wight.

   But nowyoull doubt my word, I know
   In a month they both returned, and lo!
   Astounding fact! this happy pair
Took a gentlemanly residence in Canonbury Square!

   They led a weird and reckless life,
   They dined each day, this man and wife
   (Pray disbelieve it, if you please),
On a joint of meat, a pudding, and a little bit of cheese.

   In time came those maternal joys
   Which take the form of girls or boys,
   And strange to say of each theyd one
A tiddy-iddy daughter, and a tiddy-iddy son!

   Oh, list to this incredible tale
   Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale,
   Its truth in one remark youll sum
Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!

   My name for truth is gone, I fear,
   But, monstrous as it may appear,
   They let their drawing-room one day
To an eligible person in the cotton-broking way.

   Whenever Thomson Green fell sick
   His wife called in a doctor, quick,
   From whom some words like these would come
Fiat mist. sumendum haustus, in a cochleyareum.

   For thirty years this curious pair
   Hung out in Canonbury Square,
   And somehow, wonderful to say,
They loved each other dearly in a quiet sort of way.

   Well, Thomson Green fell ill and died;
   For just a year his widow cried,
   And then her heart she gave away
To the eligible lodger in the cotton-broking way.

   Oh, list to this incredible tale
   Of Thomson Green and Harriet Hale,
   Its truth in one remark youll sum
Twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twaddle twum!



William Schwenck Gilbert's other poems:
  1. The Modest Couple
  2. The Bab Ballads. Ferdinando and Elvira; or, the Gentle Pieman
  3. The Bab Ballads. The Phantom Curate
  4. The Bab Ballads. The Force of Argument
  5. The Bab Ballads. Gentle Alice Brown


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