William Schwenck Gilbert

1836 - 1911 / London / England


First you're born - and I'll be bound you
Find a dozen strangers round you.
"Hallo," cries the new-born baby,
"Where's my parents? which may they be?"
Awkward silence - no reply -
Puzzled baby wonders why!
Father rises, bows politely -
Mother smiles (but not too brightly) -
Doctor mumbles like a dumb thing -
Nurse is busy mixing something. -
Every symptom tends to show
You're decidedly DE TROP -
Ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! he! ho! ho!
Time's teetotum,
If you spin it,
Give its quotum
Once a minute:
I'll go bail
You hit the nail,
And if you fail
The deuce is in it!

You grow up, and you discover
What it is to be a lover.
Some young lady is selected -
Poor, perhaps, but well-connected,
Whom you hail (for Love is blind
As the Queen of Fairy-kind.
Though she's plain - perhaps unsightly,
Makes her face up - laces tightly,
In her form your fancy traces
All the gifts of all the graces.
Rivals none the maiden woo,
So you take her and she takes you!
Ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho!
Joke beginning,
Never ceases,
Till your inning
Time releases;
On your way
You blindly stray,
And day by day
The joke increases!

Ten years later - Time progresses -
Sours your temper - thins your tresses;
Fancy, then, her chain relaxes;
Rates are facts and so are taxes.
Fairy Queen's no longer young -
Fairy Queen has such a tongue!
Twins have probably intruded -
Quite unbidden - just as you did;
They're a source of care and trouble -
Just as you were - only double.
Comes at last the final stroke -
Time has had his little joke!
Ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho!
Daily driven
(Wife as drover)
Ill you've thriven -
Ne'er in clover:
Lastly, when
Threescore and ten
(And not till then),
The joke is over!
Ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho! ho!
Then - and then
The joke is over!
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