John and Freddy

JOHN courted lovely MARY ANN,
So likewise did his brother, FREDDY.
FRED was a very soft young man,
While JOHN, though quick, was most unsteady.

FRED was a graceful kind of youth,
But JOHN was very much the strongest.
"Oh, dance away," said she, "in truth,
I'll marry him who dances longest."

JOHN tries the maiden's taste to strike
With gay, grotesque, outrageous dresses,
And dances comically, like
CLODOCHE AND Co., at the Princess's.

But FREDDY tries another style,
He knows some graceful steps and does 'em -
A breathing Poem - Woman's smile -
A man all poesy and buzzem.

Now FREDDY'S operatic PAS -
Now JOHNNY'S hornpipe seems entrapping:
Now JOHNNY'S skilful "cellar-flapping."

For many hours - for many days -
For many weeks performed each brother,
For each was active in his ways,
And neither would give in to t'other.

After a month of this, they say
(The maid was getting bored and moody)
A wandering curate passed that way
And talked a lot of goody-goody.

"Oh my," said he, with solemn frown,
"I tremble for each dancing FRATER,
Like unregenerated clown
And harlequin at some the-ayter."

He showed that men, in dancing, do
Both impiously and absurdly,
And proved his proposition true,
With Firstly, Secondly, and Thirdly.

For months both JOHN and FREDDY danced,
The curate's protests little heeding;
For months the curate's words enhanced
The sinfulness of their proceeding.

At length they bowed to Nature's rule -
Their steps grew feeble and unsteady,
Till FREDDY fainted on a stool,
And JOHNNY on the top of FREDDY.

"Decide!" quoth they, "let him be named,
Who henceforth as his wife may rank you."
"I've changed my views," the maiden said,
"I only marry curates, thank you!"

Says FREDDY, "Here is goings on!
To bust myself with rage I'm ready."
"I'll be a curate!" whispers JOHN -
"And I," exclaimed poetic FREDDY.

But while they read for it, these chaps,
The curate booked the maiden bonny -
And when she's buried him, perhaps,
She'll marry FREDERICK or JOHNNY.

Font size:
Collection  PDF     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

1:49 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,963
Words 359
Stanzas 14
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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…

All William Schwenck Gilbert poems | William Schwenck Gilbert Books

0 fans

Discuss the poem John and Freddy with the community...



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "John and Freddy" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jul 2024. <>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    July 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!



    Are you a poetry master?

    Who wrote the poem "The Waste Land"?
    A Ezra Pound
    B T.S. Eliot
    C Sylvia Plath
    D W.H. Auden