Pasha Bailey Ben



A proud Pasha was BAILEY BEN,
His wives were three, his tails were ten;
His form was dignified, but stout,
Men called him "Little Roundabout."

HIS IMPORTANCE

Pale Pilgrims came from o'er the sea
To wait on PASHA BAILEY B.,
All bearing presents in a crowd,
For B. was poor as well as proud.

HIS PRESENTS

They brought him onions strung on ropes,
And cold boiled beef, and telescopes,
And balls of string, and shrimps, and guns,
And chops, and tacks, and hats, and buns.

MORE OF THEM

They brought him white kid gloves, and pails,
And candlesticks, and potted quails,
And capstan-bars, and scales and weights,
And ornaments for empty grates.

WHY I MENTION THESE

My tale is not of these - oh no!
I only mention them to show
The divers gifts that divers men
Brought o'er the sea to BAILEY BEN.

HIS CONFIDANT

A confidant had BAILEY B.,
A gay Mongolian dog was he;
I am not good at Turkish names,
And so I call him SIMPLE JAMES.

HIS CONFIDANT'S COUNTENANCE

A dreadful legend you might trace
In SIMPLE JAMES'S honest face,
For there you read, in Nature's print,
"A Scoundrel of the Deepest Tint."

HIS CHARACTER

A deed of blood, or fire, or flames,
Was meat and drink to SIMPLE JAMES:
To hide his guilt he did not plan,
But owned himself a bad young man.

THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER

And why on earth good BAILEY BEN
(The wisest, noblest, best of men)
Made SIMPLE JAMES his right-hand man
Is quite beyond my mental span.

THE SAME, CONTINUED

But there - enough of gruesome deeds!
My heart, in thinking of them, bleeds;
And so let SIMPLE JAMES take wing, -
'Tis not of him I'm going to sing.

THE PASHA'S CLERK

Good PASHA BAILEY kept a clerk
(For BAILEY only made his mark),
His name was MATTHEW WYCOMBE COO,
A man of nearly forty-two.

HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

No person that I ever knew
Could "yodel" half as well as COO,
And Highlanders exclaimed, "Eh, weel!"
When COO began to dance a reel.

HIS KINDNESS TO THE PASHA'S WIVES

He used to dance and sing and play
In such an unaffected way,
He cheered the unexciting lives
Of PASHA BAILEY'S lovely wives.

THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER

But why should I encumber you
With histories of MATTHEW COO?
Let MATTHEW COO at once take wing, -
'Tis not of COO I'm going to sing.

THE AUTHOR'S MUSE

Let me recall my wandering Muse;
She SHALL be steady if I choose -
She roves, instead of helping me
To tell the deeds of BAILEY B.

THE PASHA'S VISITOR

One morning knocked, at half-past eight,
A tall Red Indian at his gate.
In Turkey, as you're p'raps aware,
Red Indians are extremely rare.

THE VISITOR'S OUTFIT

Mocassins decked his graceful legs,
His eyes were black, and round as eggs,
And on his neck, instead of beads,
Hung several Catawampous seeds.

WHAT THE VISITOR SAID

"Ho, ho!" he said, "thou pale-faced one,
Poor offspring of an Eastern sun,
You've NEVER seen the Red Man skip
Upon the banks of Mississip!"

THE AUTHOR'S MODERATION

To say that BAILEY oped his eyes
Would feebly paint his great surprise -
To say it almost made him die
Would be to paint it much too high.

THE AUTHOR TO HIS READER

But why should I ransack my head
To tell you all that Indian said;
We'll let the Indian man take wing, -
'Tis not of him I'm going to sing.

THE READER TO THE AUTHOR

Come, come, I say, that's quite enough
Of this absurd disjointed stuff;
Now let's get on to that affair
About LIEUTENANT-COLONEL FLARE.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:11 min read
73

Quick analysis:

Scheme aabb ccdd eeff x gghh x iiaa ccjj x kkll jjmm N aamm x oopP q qxrr rrss t sxxt N rrpp u uucc n vvww x xxoo y zz1 1 z 2 2 3 3 n yypp n 4 4 ww
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 3,217
Words 621
Stanzas 36
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 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

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