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To My Bride (Whoever She May Be)

William Schwenck Gilbert 1836 – 1911



Oh! little maid! - (I do not know your name
Or who you are, so, as a safe precaution
I'll add) - Oh, buxom widow! married dame!
(As one of these must be your present portion)
Listen, while I unveil prophetic lore for you,
And sing the fate that Fortune has in store for you.

You'll marry soon - within a year or twain -
A bachelor of CIRCA two and thirty:
Tall, gentlemanly, but extremely plain,
And when you're intimate, you'll call him "BERTIE."
Neat - dresses well; his temper has been classified
As hasty; but he's very quickly pacified.

You'll find him working mildly at the Bar,
After a touch at two or three professions,
From easy affluence extremely far,
A brief or two on Circuit - "soup" at Sessions;
A pound or two from whist and backing horses,
And, say three hundred from his own resources.

Quiet in harness; free from serious vice,
His faults are not particularly shady,
You'll never find him "SHY" - for, once or twice
Already, he's been driven by a lady,
Who parts with him - perhaps a poor excuse for him -
Because she hasn't any further use for him.

Oh! bride of mine - tall, dumpy, dark, or fair!
Oh! widow - wife, maybe, or blushing maiden,
I've told YOUR fortune; solved the gravest care
With which your mind has hitherto been laden.
I've prophesied correctly, never doubt it;
Now tell me mine - and please be quick about it!

You - only you - can tell me, an' you will,
To whom I'm destined shortly to be mated,
Will she run up a heavy MODISTE'S bill?
If so, I want to hear her income stated
(This is a point which interests me greatly).
To quote the bard, "Oh! have I seen her lately?"

Say, must I wait till husband number one
Is comfortably stowed away at Woking?
How is her hair most usually done?
And tell me, please, will she object to smoking?
The colour of her eyes, too, you may mention:
Come, Sibyl, prophesy - I'm all attention.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:49 min read
65

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABABCC DEDEFF GHGHXX IEIEJJ KBKBLL MXMXEE BNBNBB
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,827
Words 354
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 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…

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    "To My Bride (Whoever She May Be)" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41350/to-my-bride-%28whoever-she-may-be%29>.

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