Lost Mr. Blake

Mr. Blake was a regular out-and-out hardened sinner,
Who was quite out of the pale of Christianity, so to speak,
He was in the habit of smoking a long pipe and drinking a glass of
grog on a Sunday after dinner,
And seldom thought of going to church more than twice or - if Good
Friday or Christmas Day happened to come in it - three times a

He was quite indifferent as to the particular kinds of dresses
That the clergyman wore at church where he used to go to pray,
And whatever he did in the way of relieving a chap's distresses,
He always did in a nasty, sneaking, underhanded, hole-and-corner
sort of way.

I have known him indulge in profane, ungentlemanly emphatics,
When the Protestant Church has been divided on the subject of the
proper width of a chasuble's hem;
I have even known him to sneer at albs - and as for dalmatics,
Words can't convey an idea of the contempt he expressed for THEM.

He didn't believe in persons who, not being well off themselves,
are obliged to confine their charitable exertions to collecting
money from wealthier people,
And looked upon individuals of the former class as ecclesiastical
He used to say that he would no more think of interfering with his
priest's robes than with his church or his steeple,
And that he did not consider his soul imperilled because somebody
over whom he had no influence whatever, chose to dress himself up
like an exaggerated GUY FAWKES.

This shocking old vagabond was so unutterably shameless
That he actually went a-courting a very respectable and pious
middle-aged sister, by the name of BIGGS.
She was a rather attractive widow, whose life as such had always
been particularly blameless;
Her first husband had left her a secure but moderate competence,
owing to some fortunate speculations in the matter of figs.

She was an excellent person in every way - and won the respect even
She was a good housewife, too, and wouldn't have wasted a penny if
she had owned the Koh-i-noor.
She was just as strict as he was lax in her observance of Sunday,
And being a good economist, and charitable besides, she took all
the bones and cold potatoes and broken pie-crusts and candle-ends
(when she had quite done with them), and made them into an
excellent soup for the deserving poor.

I am sorry to say that she rather took to BLAKE - that outcast of
And when respectable brothers who were fond of her began to look
dubious and to cough,
She would say, "Oh, my friends, it's because I hope to bring this
poor benighted soul back to virtue and propriety,
And besides, the poor benighted soul, with all his faults, was
uncommonly well off.

And when MR. BLAKE'S dissipated friends called his attention to the
frown or the pout of her,
Whenever he did anything which appeared to her to savour of an
unmentionable place,
He would say that "she would be a very decent old girl when all
that nonsense was knocked out of her,"
And his method of knocking it out of her is one that covered him
with disgrace.

She was fond of going to church services four times every Sunday,
and, four or five times in the week, and never seemed to pall of
So he hunted out all the churches within a convenient distance that
had services at different hours, so to speak;
And when he had married her he positively insisted upon their going
to all of them,
So they contrived to do about twelve churches every Sunday, and, if
they had luck, from twenty-two to twenty-three in the course of the

She was fond of dropping his sovereigns ostentatiously into the
plate, and she liked to see them stand out rather conspicuously
against the commonplace half-crowns and shillings,
So he took her to all the charity sermons, and if by any
extraordinary chance there wasn't a charity sermon anywhere, he
would drop a couple of sovereigns (one for him and one for her)
into the poor-box at the door;
And as he always deducted the sums thus given in charity from the
housekeeping money, and the money he allowed her for her bonnets
and frillings,
She soon began to find that even charity, if you allow it to
interfere with your personal luxuries, becomes an intolerable bore.

On Sundays she was always melancholy and anything but good society,
For that day in her household was a day of sighings and sobbings
and wringing of hands and shaking of heads:
She wouldn't hear of a button being sewn on a glove, because it was
a work neither of necessity nor of piety,
And strictly prohib
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

4:03 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme abcaxdB efgaf edheh xijjkgjlxk mmnxmxn xloafpxqx clxxxlrx daqspaxs fchxbihodB dlxllatdeext lexrlx
Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 4,409
Words 802
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 7, 5, 5, 10, 7, 9, 8, 8, 10, 12, 6

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

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