William Schwenck Gilbert ( )


The Bab Ballads. The Bishop and the Busman


It was a Bishop bold,
   And London was his see,
He was short and stout and round about
   And zealous as could be.

It also was a Jew,
   Who drove a Putney bus
For flesh of swine however fine
   He did not care a cuss.

His name was Hash Baz Ben,
   And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
   This bus-directing Jew.

The Bishop said, said he,
   Ill see what I can do
To Christianise and make you wise,
   You poor benighted Jew.

So every blessed day
   That bus he rode outside,
From Fulham town, both up and down,
   And loudly thus he cried:

His name is Hash Baz Ben,
   And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
   This bus-directing Jew.

At first the busman smiled,
   And rather liked the fun
He merely smiled, that Hebrew child,
   And said, Eccentric one!

And gay young dogs would wait
   To see the bus go by
(These gay young dogs, in striking togs),
   To hear the Bishop cry:

Observe his grisly beard,
   His race it clearly shows,
He sticks no fork in ham or pork
   Observe, my friends, his nose.

His name is Hash Baz Ben,
   And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
   This bus-directing Jew.

But though at first amused,
   Yet after seven years,
This Hebrew child got rather riled,
   And melted into tears.

He really almost feared
   To leave his poor abode,
His nose, and name, and beard became
   A byword on that road.

At length he swore an oath,
   The reason he would know
Ill call and see why ever he
   Does persecute me so!

The good old Bishop sat
   On his ancestral chair,
The busman came, sent up his name,
   And laid his grievance bare.

Benighted Jew, he said
   (The good old Bishop did),
Be Christian, you, instead of Jew
   Become a Christian kid!

Ill neer annoy you more.
   Indeed? replied the Jew;
Shall I be freed?  You will, indeed!
   Then Done! said he, with you!

The organ which, in man,
   Between the eyebrows grows,
Fell from his face, and in its place
   He found a Christian nose.

His tangled Hebrew beard,
   Which to his waist came down,
Was now a pair of whiskers fair
   His name Adolphus Brown!

He wedded in a year
   That prelates daughter Jane,
Hes grown quite fairhas auburn hair
   His wife is far from plain.



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. Thomas Winterbottom Hance
  4. The Bab Ballads. Thomson Green and Harriet Hale
  5. The Bab Ballads. To the Terrestrial Globe


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