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Bob Polter



BOB POLTER was a navvy, and
His hands were coarse, and dirty too,
His homely face was rough and tanned,
His time of life was thirty-two.

He lived among a working clan
(A wife he hadn't got at all),
A decent, steady, sober man -
No saint, however - not at all.

He smoked, but in a modest way,
Because he thought he needed it;
He drank a pot of beer a day,
And sometimes he exceeded it.

At times he'd pass with other men
A loud convivial night or two,
With, very likely, now and then,
On Saturdays, a fight or two.

But still he was a sober soul,
A labour-never-shirking man,
Who paid his way - upon the whole
A decent English working man.

One day, when at the Nelson's Head
(For which he may be blamed of you),
A holy man appeared, and said,
"Oh, ROBERT, I'm ashamed of you."

He laid his hand on ROBERT'S beer
Before he could drink up any,
And on the floor, with sigh and tear,
He poured the pot of "thruppenny."

"Oh, ROBERT, at this very bar
A truth you'll be discovering,
A good and evil genius are
Around your noddle hovering.

"They both are here to bid you shun
The other one's society,
For Total Abstinence is one,
The other, Inebriety."

He waved his hand - a vapour came -
A wizard POLTER reckoned him;
A bogy rose and called his name,
And with his finger beckoned him.

The monster's salient points to sum, -
His heavy breath was portery:
His glowing nose suggested rum:
His eyes were gin-and-WORtery.

His dress was torn - for dregs of ale
And slops of gin had rusted it;
His pimpled face was wan and pale,
Where filth had not encrusted it.

"Come, POLTER," said the fiend, "begin,
And keep the bowl a-flowing on -
A working man needs pints of gin
To keep his clockwork going on."

BOB shuddered: "Ah, you've made a miss
If you take me for one of you:
You filthy beast, get out of this -
BOB POLTER don't wan't none of you."

The demon gave a drunken shriek,
And crept away in stealthiness,
And lo! instead, a person sleek,
Who seemed to burst with healthiness.

"In me, as your adviser hints,
Of Abstinence you've got a type -
Of MR. TWEEDIE'S pretty prints
I am the happy prototype.

"If you abjure the social toast,
And pipes, and such frivolities,
You possibly some day may boast
My prepossessing qualities!"

BOB rubbed his eyes, and made 'em blink:
"You almost make me tremble, you!
If I abjure fermented drink,
Shall I, indeed, resemble you?

"And will my whiskers curl so tight?
My cheeks grow smug and muttony?
My face become so red and white?
My coat so blue and buttony?

"Will trousers, such as yours, array
Extremities inferior?
Will chubbiness assert its sway
All over my exterior?

"In this, my unenlightened state,
To work in heavy boots I comes;
Will pumps henceforward decorate
My tiddle toddle tootsicums?

"And shall I get so plump and fresh,
And look no longer seedily?
My skin will henceforth fit my flesh
So tightly and so TWEEDIE-ly?"

The phantom said, "You'll have all this,
You'll know no kind of huffiness,
Your life will be one chubby bliss,
One long unruffled puffiness!"

"Be off!" said irritated BOB.
"Why come you here to bother one?
You pharisaical old snob,
You're wuss almost than t'other one!

"I takes my pipe - I takes my pot,
And drunk I'm never seen to be:
I'm no teetotaller or sot,
And as I am I mean to be!"

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:08 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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    "Bob Polter" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 6 Dec. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41212/bob-polter>.

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