(William Schwenck Gilbert)






The Bab Ballads. The Troubadour


A Troubadour he played
   Without a castle wall,
Within, a hapless maid
   Responded to his call.

Oh, willow, woe is me!
   Alack and well-a-day!
If I were only free
   Id hie me far away!

Unknown her face and name,
   But this he knew right well,
The maidens wailing came
   From out a dungeon cell.

A hapless woman lay
   Within that dungeon grim
That fact, Ive heard him say,
   Was quite enough for him.

I will not sit or lie,
   Or eat or drink, I vow,
Till thou art free as I,
   Or I as pent as thou.

Her tears then ceased to flow,
   Her wails no longer rang,
And tuneful in her woe
   The prisoned maiden sang:

Oh, stranger, as you play,
   I recognize your touch;
And all that I can say
   Is, thank you very much.

He seized his clarion straight,
   And blew thereat, until
A warden oped the gate.
   Oh, what might be your will?

Ive come, Sir Knave, to see
   The master of these halls:
A maid unwillingly
   Lies prisoned in their walls.

With barely stifled sigh
   That porter drooped his head,
With teardrops in his eye,
   A many, sir, he said.

He stayed to hear no more,
   But pushed that porter by,
And shortly stood before
   Sir Hugh de Peckham Rye.

Sir Hugh he darkly frowned,
   What would you, sir, with me?
The troubadour he downed
   Upon his bended knee.

Ive come, de Peckham Rye,
   To do a Christian task;
You ask me what would I?
   It is not much I ask.

Release these maidens, sir,
   Whom you dominion oer
Particularly her
   Upon the second floor.

And if you dont, my lord
   He here stood bolt upright,
And tapped a tailors sword
   Come out, you cad, and fight!

Sir Hugh he calledand ran
   The warden from the gate:
Go, show this gentleman
   The maid in Forty-eight.

By many a cell they past,
   And stopped at length before
A portal, bolted fast:
   The man unlocked the door.

He called inside the gate
   With coarse and brutal shout,
Come, step it, Forty-eight!
   And Forty-eight stepped out.

They gets it pretty hot,
   The maidens what we cotch
Two years this ladys got
   For collaring a wotch.

Oh, ah!indeedI see,
   The troubadour exclaimed
If I may make so free,
   How is this castle named?

The wardens eyelids fill,
   And sighing, he replied,
Of gloomy Pentonville
   This is the female side!

The minstrel did not wait
   The Warden stout to thank,
But recollected straight
   Hed business at the Bank.






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