The Force of Argument



Lord B. was a nobleman bold
Who came of illustrious stocks,
He was thirty or forty years old,
And several feet in his socks.

To Turniptopville-by-the-Sea
This elegant nobleman went,
For that was a borough that he
Was anxious to rep-per-re-sent.

At local assemblies he danced
Until he felt thoroughly ill;
He waltzed, and he galoped, and lanced,
And threaded the mazy quadrille.

The maidens of Turniptopville
Were simple - ingenuous - pure -
And they all worked away with a will
The nobleman's heart to secure.

Two maidens all others beyond
Endeavoured his cares to dispel -
The one was the lively ANN POND,
The other sad MARY MORELL.

ANN POND had determined to try
And carry the Earl with a rush;
Her principal feature was eye,
Her greatest accomplishment - gush.

And MARY chose this for her play:
Whenever he looked in her eye
She'd blush and turn quickly away,
And flitter, and flutter, and sigh.

It was noticed he constantly sighed
As she worked out the scheme she had planned,
A fact he endeavoured to hide
With his aristocratical hand.

Old POND was a farmer, they say,
And so was old TOMMY MORELL.
In a humble and pottering way
They were doing exceedingly well.

They both of them carried by vote
The Earl was a dangerous man;
So nervously clearing his throat,
One morning old TOMMY began:

"My darter's no pratty young doll -
I'm a plain-spoken Zommerzet man -
Now what do 'ee mean by my POLL,
And what do 'ee mean by his ANN?

Said B., "I will give you my bond
I mean them uncommonly well,
Believe me, my excellent POND,
And credit me, worthy MORELL.

"It's quite indisputable, for
I'll prove it with singular ease, -
You shall have it in 'Barbara' or
'Celarent' - whichever you please.

'You see, when an anchorite bows
To the yoke of intentional sin,
If the state of the country allows,
Homogeny always steps in -

"It's a highly aesthetical bond,
As any mere ploughboy can tell - "
"Of course," replied puzzled old POND.
"I see," said old TOMMY MORELL.

"Very good, then," continued the lord;
"When it's fooled to the top of its bent,
With a sweep of a Damocles sword
The web of intention is rent.

"That's patent to all of us here,
As any mere schoolboy can tell."
POND answered, "Of course it's quite clear";
And so did that humbug MORELL.

"Its tone's esoteric in force -
I trust that I make myself clear?"
MORELL only answered, "Of course,"
While POND slowly muttered, "Hear, hear."

"Volition - celestial prize,
Pellucid as porphyry cell -
Is based on a principle wise."
"Quite so," exclaimed POND and MORELL.

"From what I have said you will see
That I couldn't wed either - in fine,
By Nature's unchanging decree
YOUR daughters could never be MINE.

"Go home to your pigs and your ricks,
My hands of the matter I've rinsed."
So they take up their hats and their sticks, .
And EXEUNT AMBO, convinced.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:36 min read
121

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABAB CDCD XEAE EFEF GHGI JKJK LJLJ MNMN LILH OPOP XPXP GHGI QRQR STST GHGI UDUD VHWI XWXV YHYI CZCZ 1 A1 X
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,729
Words 519
Stanzas 21
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 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

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