William Schwenck Gilbert

1836 - 1911 / London / England

Gregory Parable, Ll.D.

A leafy cot, where no dry rot
Had ever been by tenant seen,
Where ivy clung and wopses stung,
Where beeses hummed and drummed and strummed,
Where treeses grew and breezes blew -
A thatchy roof, quite waterproof,
Where countless herds of dicky-birds
Built twiggy beds to lay their heads
(My mother begs I'll make it "eggs,"
But though it's true that dickies do
Construct a nest with chirpy noise,
With view to rest their eggy joys,
'Neath eavy sheds, yet eggs and beds,
As I explain to her in vain
Five hundred times, are faulty rhymes).
'Neath such a cot, built on a plot
Of freehold land, dwelt MARY and
Her worthy father, named by me

He knew no guile, this simple man,
No worldly wile, or plot, or plan,
Except that plot of freehold land
That held the cot, and MARY, and
Her worthy father, named by me

A grave and learned scholar he,
Yet simple as a child could be.
He'd shirk his meal to sit and cram
A goodish deal of Eton Gram.
No man alive could him nonplus
With vocative of FILIUS;
No man alive more fully knew
The passive of a verb or two;
None better knew the worth than he
Of words that end in B, D, T.
Upon his green in early spring
He might be seen endeavouring
To understand the hooks and crooks
Of HENRY and his Latin books;
Or calling for his "Caesar on
The Gallic War," like any don;
Or, p'raps, expounding unto all
How mythic BALBUS built a wall.
So lived the sage who's named by me

To him one autumn day there came
A lovely youth of mystic name:
He took a lodging in the house,
And fell a-dodging snipe and grouse,
For, oh! that mild scholastic one
Let shooting for a single gun.

By three or four, when sport was o'er,
The Mystic One laid by his gun,
And made sheep's eyes of giant size,
Till after tea, at MARY P.
And MARY P. (so kind was she),
She, too, made eyes of giant size,
Whose every dart right through the heart
Appeared to run that Mystic One.
The Doctor's whim engrossing him,
He did not know they flirted so.
For, save at tea, "MUSA MUSAE,"
As I'm advised, monopolised
And rendered blind his giant mind.
But looking up above his cup
One afternoon, he saw them spoon.
"Aha!" quoth he, "you naughty lass!
As quaint old OVID says, 'Amas!'"

The Mystic Youth avowed the truth,
And, claiming ruth, he said, "In sooth
I love your daughter, aged man:
Refuse to join us if you can.
Treat not my offer, sir, with scorn,
I'm wealthy though I'm lowly born."
"Young sir," the aged scholar said,
"I never thought you meant to wed:
Engrossed completely with my books,
I little noticed lovers' looks.
I've lived so long away from man,
I do not know of any plan
By which to test a lover's worth,
Except, perhaps, the test of birth.
I've half forgotten in this wild
A father's duty to his child.
It is his place, I think it's said,
To see his daughters richly wed
To dignitaries of the earth -
If possible, of noble birth.
If noble birth is not at hand,
A father may, I understand
(And this affords a chance for you),
Be satisfied to wed her to
Means any one who's very rich.
Now, there's an Earl who lives hard by, -
My child and I will go and try
If he will make the maid his bride -
If not, to you she shall be tied."

They sought the Earl that very day;
The Sage began to say his say.
The Earl (a very wicked man,
Whose face bore Vice's blackest ban)
Cut short the scholar's simple tale,
And said in voice to make them quail,
"Pooh! go along! you're drunk, no doubt -
Here, PETERS, turn these people out!"

The Sage, rebuffed in mode uncouth,
Returning, met the Mystic Youth.
"My darling boy," the Scholar said,
"Take MARY - blessings on your head!"

The Mystic Boy undid his vest,
And took a parchment from his breast,
And said, "Now, by that noble brow,
I ne'er knew father such as thou!
The sterling rule of common sense
Now reaps its proper recompense.
Rejoice, my soul's unequalled Queen,
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