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A Man Who Would Woo a Fair Maid

A man who would woo a fair maid,
Should 'prentice himself to the trade;
And study all day,
In methodical way,
How to flatter, cajole, and persuade.
He should 'prentice himself at fourteen
And practise from morning to e'en;
And when he's of age,
If he will, I'll engage,
He may capture the heart of a queen!
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

If he's made the best use of his time,
His twig he'll so carefully lime
That every bird
Will come down at his word.
Whatever its plumage and clime.
He must learn that the thrill of a touch
May mean little, or nothing, or much;
It's an instrument rare,
To be handled with care,
And ought to be treated as such.
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack,
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

Then a glance may be timid or free;
It will vary in mighty degree,
From an impudent stare
To a look of despair
That no maid without pity can see.
And a glance of despair is no guide -
It may have its ridiculous side;
It may draw you a tear
Or a box on the ear;
You can never be sure till you've tried.
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:25 min read
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William Schwenck Gilbert

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist librettist poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan of which the most famous include HMS Pinafore The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre The Mikado These as well as most of their other Savoy operas continue to be performed regularly throughout the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies repertory companies schools and community theatre groups Lines from these works have become part of the English language such as short sharp shock What never Well hardly ever and Let the punishment fit the crime Gilbert also wrote the Bab Ballads an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings His creative output included over 75 plays and libretti numerous stories poems lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces His plays and realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw According to The Cambridge History of English and American Literature Gilberts lyrical facility and his mastery of metre raised the poetical quality of comic opera to a position that it had never reached before and has not reached since Source - Wikipedia more…

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    "A Man Who Would Woo a Fair Maid" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 21 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41195/a-man-who-would-woo-a-fair-maid>.

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