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William Schwenck Gilbert (Уильям Швенк Гильберт)


The Humane Mikado


A more humane Mikado never
Did in Japan exist;
To nobody second,
I'm certainly reckoned
A true philanthropist.
It is my very humane endeavour
To make, to some extent,
Each evil liver
A running river
Of harmless merriment.

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time -
To let the punishment fit the crime -
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment -
Of innocent merriment!

All prosy dull society sinners,
Who chatter and bleat and bore,
Are sent to hear sermons
From mystical Germans
Who preach from ten to four:
The amateur tenor, whose vocal villainies
All desire to shirk,
Shall, during off-hours,
Exhibit his powers
To Madame Tussaud's waxwork:
The lady who dyes a chemical yellow,
Or stains her grey hair puce,
Or pinches her figger,
Is blacked like a nigger
With permanent walnut juice:
The idiot who, in railway carriages,
Scribbles on window panes,
We only suffer
To ride on a buffer
In Parliamentary trains.

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time -
To let the punishment fit the crime -
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment -
Of innocent merriment!

The advertising quack who wearies
With tales of countless cures,
His teeth, I've enacted,
Shall all be extracted
By terrified amateurs:
The music-hall singer attends a series
Of masses and fugues and "ops"
By Bach, interwoven
With Spohr and Beethoven,
At classical Monday Pops:
The billiard sharp whom any one catches
His doom's extremely hard -
He's made to dwell
In a dungeon cell
On a spot that's always barred;
And there he plays extravagant matches
In fitless finger-stalls,
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue,
And elliptical billiard balls!

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time -
To let the punishment fit the crime -
The punishment fit the crime;
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment,
Of innocent merriment! 



William Schwenck Gilbert's other poems:
  1. The Played-Out Humorist
  2. The Working Monarch
  3. Babette's Love
  4. To Phoebe
  5. The Modest Couple


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