(William Schwenck Gilbert)






The Bab Ballads. The Sensation Captain


No nobler captain ever trod
Than Captain Parklebury Todd,
   So goodso wiseso brave, he!
But still, as all his friends would own,
He had one follyone alone
   This Captain in the Navy.

I do not think I ever knew
A man so wholly given to
   Creating a sensation,
Or praps I should in justice say
To what in an Adelphi play
   Is known as situation.

He passed his time designing traps
To flurry unsuspicious chaps
   The taste was his innately;
He couldnt walk into a room
Without ejaculating Boom!
   Which startled ladies greatly.

Hed wear a mask and muffling cloak,
Not, you will understand, in joke,
   As some assume disguises;
He did it, actuated by
A simple love of mystery
   And fondness for surprises.

I need not say he loved a maid
His eloquence threw into shade
   All others who adored her.
The maid, though pleased at first, I know,
Found, after several years or so,
   Her startling lover bored her.

So, when his orders came to sail,
She did not faint or scream or wail,
   Or with her tears anoint him:
She shook his hand, and said Good-bye,
With laughter dancing in her eye
   Which seemed to disappoint him.

But ere he went aboard his boat,
He placed around her little throat
   A ribbon, blue and yellow,
On which he hung a double-tooth
A simple token this, in sooth
   Twas all he had, poor fellow!

I often wonder, he would say,
When very, very far away,
   If Angelina wears it?
A plan has entered in my head:
I will pretend that I am dead,
   And see how Angy bears it.

The news he made a messmate tell.
His Angelina bore it well,
   No sign gave she of crazing;
But, steady as the Inchcape Rock,
His Angelina stood the shock
   With fortitude amazing.

She said, Some one I must elect
Poor Angelina to protect
   From all who wish to harm her.
Since worthy Captain Todd is dead,
I rather feel inclined to wed
   A comfortable farmer.

A comfortable farmer came
(Bassanio Tyler was his name),
   Who had no end of treasure.
He said, My noble gal, be mine!
The noble gal did not decline,
   But simply said, With pleasure.

When this was told to Captain Todd,
At first he thought it rather odd,
   And felt some perturbation;
But very long he did not grieve,
He thought he could a way perceive
   To such a situation!

Ill not reveal myself, said he,
Till they are both in the Ecclesiastical arena;
   Then suddenly I will appear,
And paralysing them with fear,
Demand my Angelina!

At length arrived the wedding day;
Accoutred in the usual way
   Appeared the bridal body;
The worthy clergyman began,
When in the gallant Captain ran
   And cried, Behold your Toddy!

The bridegroom, praps, was terrified,
And also possibly the bride
   The bridesmaids were affrighted;
But Angelina, noble soul,
Contrived her feelings to control,
   And really seemed delighted.

My bride! said gallant Captain Todd,
Shes mine, uninteresting clod!
   My own, my darling charmer!
Oh dear, said she, youre just too late
Im married to, I beg to state,
   This comfortable farmer!

Indeed, the farmer said, shes mine:
Youve been and cut it far too fine!
   I see, said Todd, Im beaten.
And so he went to sea once more,
Sensation he for aye forswore,
And married on her native shore
A lady whom hed met before
   A lovely Otaheitan.






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