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Read The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan Part 47

The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan is a web novel made by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
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Read WebNovel The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan Part 47

I’ll sigh with you, Oh, sorrow, sorrow!

On maiden’s coldness do you brood?

I’ll do so, too– Oh, sorrow, sorrow!

I’ll charm your willing ears With songs of lovers’ fears, While sympathetic tears My cheeks bedew– Oh, sorrow, sorrow!

But if patriotic sentiment is wanted, I’ve patriotic ballads cut and dried; For where’er our country’s banner may be planted, All other local banners are defied!

Our warriors, in serried ranks a.s.sembled, Never quail–or they conceal it if they do– And I shouldn’t be surprised if nations trembled Before the mighty troops of t.i.tipu!

CHORUS. We shouldn’t be surprised, etc.

NANK. And if you call for a song of the sea, We’ll heave the capstan round, With a yeo heave ho, for the wind is free, Her anchor’s a-trip and her helm’s a-lee, Hurrah for the homeward bound!

CHORUS. Yeo-ho–heave ho– Hurrah for the homeward bound!

To lay aloft in a howling breeze May tickle a landsman’s taste, But the happiest hour a sailor sees Is when he’s down At an inland town, With his Nancy on his knees, yeo ho!

And his arm around her waist!

CHORUS. Then man the capstan–off we go, As the fiddler swings us round, With a yeo heave ho, And a rum below, Hurrah for the homeward bound!

A wandering minstrel I, etc.

Enter Pish-Tush.

PISH. And what may be your business with Yum-Yum?

NANK. I’ll tell you. A year ago I was a member of the t.i.tipu town band. It was my duty to take the cap round for contributions. While discharging this delicate office, I saw Yum-Yum. We loved each other at once, but she was betrothed to her guardian Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, and I saw that my suit was hopeless. Overwhelmed with despair, I quitted the town. Judge of my delight when I heard, a month ago, that Ko-Ko had been con- demned to death for flirting! I hurried back at once, in the hope of finding Yum-Yum at liberty to listen to my protestations.

PISH. It is true that Ko-Ko was condemned to death for flirting, but he was reprieved at the last moment, and raised to the exalted rank of Lord High Executioner under the following remarkable circ.u.mstances:


Our great Mikado, virtuous man, When he to rule our land began, Resolved to try A plan whereby Young men might best be steadied.

So he decreed, in words succinct, That all who flirted, leered or winked (Unless connubially linked), Should forthwith be beheaded.

And I expect you’ll all agree That he was right to so decree.

And I am right, And you are right, And all is right as right can be!

CHORUS. And you are right.

And we are right, etc

This stem decree, you’ll understand, Caused great dismay throughout the land!

For young and old And shy and bold Were equally affected.

The youth who winked a roving eye, Or breathed a non-connubial sigh, Was thereupon condemned to die– He usually objected.

And you’ll allow, as I expect, That he was right to so object.

And I am right, And you are right, And everything is quite correct!

CHORUS. And you are right, And we are right, etc.

And so we straight let out on bail A convict from the county jail, Whose head was next On some pretext Condemned to be mown off, And made him Headsman, for we said, “Who’s next to be decapited Cannot cut off another’s head Until he’s cut his own off.”

And we are right, I think you’ll say, To argue in this kind of way; And I am right, And you are right, And all is right–too-looral-lay!

CHORUS. And you are right, And we are right, etc.

[Exeunt Chorus.

Enter Pooh-Bah.

NANK. Ko-Ko, the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner of t.i.tipu! Why, that’s the highest rank a citizen can attain!

POOH. It is. Our logical Mikado, seeing no moral difference between the dignified judge who condemns a criminal to die, and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence, has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now his own executioner.

NANK. But how good of you (for I see that you are a n.o.bleman of the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this to me, a mere strolling minstrel!

POOH. Don’t mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can’t help it. I was born sneering. But I struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually. When all the great officers of State resigned in a body because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitatingly accept all their posts at once?

PISH. And the salaries attached to them? You did.

POOH. It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of t.i.tipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do it! It revolts me, but I do it!

NANK. And it does you credit.

POOH. But I don’t stop at that. I go and dine with middle-cla.s.s people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure. For instance, any further information about Yum-Yum would come under the head of a State secret. (Nanki-Poo takes his hint, and gives him money.) (Aside.) Another insult and, I think, a light one!


Young man, despair, Likewise go to, Yum-Yum the fair You must not woo.

It will not do: I’m sorry for you, You very imperfect ablutioner!

This very day From school Yum-Yum Will wend her way, And homeward come, With beat of drum And a rum-tum-tum, To wed the Lord High executioner!

And the bra.s.s will crash, And the trumpets bray, And they’ll cut a dash On their wedding day.

She’ll toddle away, as all aver, With the Lord High Executioner ‘

NANK. and POOH. And the bra.s.s will crash, etc.

It’s a hopeless case, As you may see, And in your place Away I’d flee; But don’t blame me– I’m sorry to be Of your pleasure a diminutioner.

They’ll vow their pact Extremely soon, In point of fact This afternoon.

Her honeymoon With that buffoon At seven commences, so you shun her!

ALL. And the bra.s.s will crash, etc.

[Exit Pish-Tush.


NANK. And I have journeyed for a month, or nearly, To learn that Yum-Yum, whom I love so dearly, This day to Ko-Ko is to be united!

POOH. The fact appears to be as you’ve recited: But here he comes, equipped as suits his station; He’ll give you any further information.

[Exeunt Pooh-Bah and Nanki-Poo.

Enter Chorus of n.o.bles.

Behold the Lord High Executioner A personage of n.o.ble rank and t.i.tle– A dignified and potent officer, Whose functions are particularly vital!

Defer, defer, To the Lord High Executioner!

Enter Ko-Ko attended.


Taken from the county jail By a set of curious chances; Liberated then on bail, On my own recognizances; Wafted by a favouring gale As one sometimes is in trances, To a height that few can scale, Save by long and weary dances; Surely, never had a male Under such like circ.u.mstances So adventurous a tale, Which may rank with most romances.


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Published inThe Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan