William Schwenck Gilbert ( )


The Bab Ballads. Sir Macklin


Of all the youths I ever saw
   None were so wicked, vain, or silly,
So lost to shame and Sabbath law,
   As worldly Tom, and Bob, and Billy.

For every Sabbath day they walked
   (Such was their gay and thoughtless natur)
In parks or gardens, where they talked
   From three to six, or even later.

Sir Macklin was a priest severe
   In conduct and in conversation,
It did a sinner good to hear
   Him deal in ratiocination.

He could in every action show
   Some sin, and nobody could doubt him.
He argued high, he argued low,
   He also argued round about him.

He wept to think each thoughtless youth
   Contained of wickedness a skinful,
And burnt to teach the awful truth,
   That walking out on Sundays sinful.

Oh, youths, said he, I grieve to find
   The course of life youve been and hit on
Sit down, said he, and never mind
   The pennies for the chairs you sit on.

My opening head is Kensington,
   How walking there the sinner hardens,
Which when I have enlarged upon,
   I go to Secondlyits Gardens.

My Thirdly comprehendeth Hyde,
   Of Secresy the guilts and shameses;
My FourthlyParkits verdure wide
   My Fifthly comprehends St. Jamess.

That matter settled, I shall reach
   The Sixthly in my solemn tether,
And show that what is true of each,
   Is also true of all, together.

Then I shall demonstrate to you,
   According to the rules of Whately,
That what is true of all, is true
   Of each, considered separately.

In lavish stream his accents flow,
   Tom, Bob, and Billy dare not flout him;
He argued high, he argued low,
   He also argued round about him.

Ha, ha! he said, you loathe your ways,
   You writhe at these my words of warning,
In agony your hands you raise.
   (And so they did, for they were yawning.)

To Twenty-firstly on they go,
   The lads do not attempt to scout him;
He argued high, he argued low,
   He also argued round about him.

Ho, ho! he cries, you bow your crests
   My eloquence has set you weeping;
In shame you bend upon your breasts!
   (And so they did, for they were sleeping.)

He proved them thishe proved them that
   This good but wearisome ascetic;
He jumped and thumped upon his hat,
   He was so very energetic.

His Bishop at this moment chanced
   To pass, and found the road encumbered;
He noticed how the Churchman danced,
   And how his congregation slumbered.

The hundred and eleventh head
   The priest completed of his stricture;
Oh, bosh! the worthy Bishop said,
   And walked him off as in the picture.



William Schwenck Gilbert's other poems:
  1. The Bab Ballads. The Phantom Curate
  2. The Played-Out Humorist
  3. The Bab Ballads. The Troubadour
  4. The Bab Ballads. Ferdinando and Elvira; or, the Gentle Pieman
  5. The Bab Ballads. The Precocious Baby


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