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William Schwenck Gilbert

When every one is somebody, Then no one's anybody!

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The Englishman

He is an Englishman!
For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is an Englishman!
For he might have been a Roosian,
A French, or Turk, or Proosian,
Or perhaps Itali-an!
But in spite of all temptations,
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
Hurrah!
For the true-born Englishman!

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Braid the Raven Hair

Braid the raven hair,
Weave the supple tress,
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness;
Paint the pretty face,
Dye the coral lip,
Emphasise the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride!

Sit with downcast eye,
Let it brim with dew;
Try if you can cry,
We will do so, too.
When you're summoned, start
Like a frightened roe;
Flutter, little heart,
Colour, come and go!
Modesty at marriage tide

[...] Read more

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Speculation

Comes a train of little ladies
From scholastic trammels free,
Each a little bit afraid is,
Wondering what the world can be!

Is it but a world of trouble -
Sadness set to song?
Is its beauty but a bubble
Bound to break ere long?

Are its palaces and pleasures
Fantasies that fade?
And the glory of its treasures
Shadow of a shade?

Schoolgirls we, eighteen and under,
From scholastic trammels free,
And we wonder - how we wonder! -
What on earth the world can be!

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The Love-Sick Boy

When first my old, old love I knew,
My bosom welled with joy;
My riches at her feet I threw;
I was a love-sick boy!
No terms seemed too extravagant
Upon her to employ -
I used to mope, and sigh, and pant,
Just like a love-sick boy!

But joy incessant palls the sense;
And love unchanged will cloy,
And she became a bore intense
Unto her love-sick boy?
With fitful glimmer burnt my flame,
And I grew cold and coy,
At last, one morning, I became
Another's love-sick boy!

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He Loves!

He loves! If in the bygone years
Thine eyes have ever shed
Tears - bitter, unavailing tears,
For one untimely dead -
If in the eventide of life
Sad thoughts of her arise,
Then let the memory of thy wife
Plead for my boy - he dies!

He dies! If fondly laid aside
In some old cabinet,
Memorials of thy long-dead bride
Lie, dearly treasured yet,
Then let her hallowed bridal dress -
Her little dainty gloves -
Her withered flowers - her faded tress -
Plead for my boy - he loves!

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To the Terrestrial Globe

Roll on, thou ball, roll on!
Through pathless realms of Space
Roll on!
What though I'm in a sorry case?
What though I cannot meet my bills?
What though I suffer toothache's ills?
What though I swallow countless pills?
Never YOU mind!
Roll on!

Roll on, thou ball, roll on!
Through seas of inky air
Roll on!
It's true I've got no shirts to wear;
It's true my butcher's bill is due;
It's true my prospects all look blue -
But don't let that unsettle you!
Never YOU mind!
Roll on!

[...] Read more

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Is Life a Boon

Is life a boon?
If so, it must befall
That Death, whene'er he call,
Must call too soon.
Though fourscore years he give
Yet one would pray to live
Another moon!
What kind of plaint have I,
Who perish in July?
I might have had to die
Perchance in June!

Is life a thorn?
Then count it not a whit!
Man is well done with it;
Soon as he's born
He should all means essay
To put the plague away;
And I, war-worn,
Poor captured fugitive,

[...] Read more

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To Phoebe

"GENTLE, modest little flower,
Sweet epitome of May,
Love me but for half an hour,
Love me, love me, little fay."
Sentences so fiercely flaming
In your tiny shell-like ear,
I should always be exclaiming
If I loved you, PHOEBE dear.

"Smiles that thrill from any distance
Shed upon me while I sing!
Please ecstaticize existence,
Love me, oh, thou fairy thing!"
Words like these, outpouring sadly
You'd perpetually hear,
If I loved you fondly, madly; -
But I do not, PHOEBE dear.

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Solatium

Comes the broken flower -
Comes the cheated maid -
Though the tempest lower,
Rain and cloud will fade!
Take, O maid, these posies:
Though thy beauty rare
Shame the blushing roses,
They are passing fair!
Wear the flowers till they fade;
Happy be thy life, O maid!

O'er the season vernal,
Time may cast a shade;
Sunshine, if eternal,
Makes the roses fade:
Time may do his duty;
Let the thief alone -
Winter hath a beauty
That is all his own.
Fairest days are sun and shade:

[...] Read more

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