William Schwenck Gilbert ( )

The Bab Ballads. The Force of Argument

Lord B. was a nobleman bold
   Who came of illustrious stocks,
He was thirty or forty years old,
   And several feet in his socks.

To Turniptopville-by-the-Sea
   This elegant nobleman went,
For that was a borough that he
   Was anxious to rep-per-re-sent.

At local assemblies he danced
   Until he felt thoroughly ill;
He waltzed, and he galoped, and lanced,
   And threaded the mazy quadrille.

The maidens of Turniptopville
   Were simpleingenuouspure
And they all worked away with a will
   The noblemans heart to secure.

Two maidens all others beyond
   Endeavoured his cares to dispel
The one was the lively Ann Pond,
   The other sad Mary Morell.

Ann Pond had determined to try
   And carry the Earl with a rush;
Her principal feature was eye,
   Her greatest accomplishmentgush.

And Mary chose this for her play:
   Whenever he looked in her eye
Shed blush and turn quickly away,
   And flitter, and flutter, and sigh.

It was noticed he constantly sighed
   As she worked out the scheme she had planned,
A fact he endeavoured to hide
   With his aristocratical hand.

Old Pond was a farmer, they say,
   And so was old Tommy Morell.
In a humble and pottering way
   They were doing exceedingly well.

They both of them carried by vote
   The Earl was a dangerous man;
So nervously clearing his throat,
   One morning old Tommy began:

My darters no pratty young doll
   Im a plain-spoken Zommerzet man
Now what do ee mean by my Poll,
   And what do ee mean by his Ann?

Said B., I will give you my bond
   I mean them uncommonly well,
Believe me, my excellent Pond,
   And credit me, worthy Morell.

Its quite indisputable, for
   Ill prove it with singular ease,
You shall have it in Barbara or
   Celarentwhichever you please.

You see, when an anchorite bows
   To the yoke of intentional sin,
If the state of the country allows,
   Homogeny always steps in

Its a highly æsthetical bond,
   As any mere ploughboy can tell
Of course, replied puzzled old Pond.
   I see, said old Tommy Morell.

Very good, then, continued the lord;
   When its fooled to the top of its bent,
With a sweep of a Damocles sword
   The web of intention is rent.

Thats patent to all of us here,
   As any mere schoolboy can tell.
Pond answered, Of course its quite clear;
   And so did that humbug Morell.

Its tones esoteric in force
   I trust that I make myself clear?
Morell only answered, Of course,
   While Pond slowly muttered, Hear, hear.

Volitioncelestial prize,
   Pellucid as porphyry cell
Is based on a principle wise.
   Quite so, exclaimed Pond and Morell.

From what I have said you will see
   That I couldnt wed eitherin fine,
By Natures unchanging decree
   Your daughters could never be mine.

Go home to your pigs and your ricks,
   My hands of the matter Ive rinsed.
So they take up their hats and their sticks,
   And exeunt ambo, convinced.

William Schwenck Gilbert's other poems:
  1. The Bab Ballads. Joe Golightly; or, the First Lords Daughter
  2. The Bab Ballads. To Phoebe
  3. The Bab Ballads. The Bishop of Rum-ti-Foo
  4. The Bab Ballads. Thomson Green and Harriet Hale
  5. The Bab Ballads. To the Terrestrial Globe

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