The Force Of Argument

written by William Schwenck Gilbert

The Force Of Argument

— William Schwenck Gilbert

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.

About the poet


William Schwenck Gilbert

William Schwenck Gilbert, born in London in 1836, was the son of a retired naval surgeon. Except for a kidnapping by Italian brigands in Italy at age two, and a ransomed release, he appears to have had a very normal upbringing. Beyond ordinary schooling, he took training as an artillery officer and was tutored in military science with hopes of participating in the Crimean War. Unfortunately for him, but not for us, he did not graduate until after the War was over. Gilbert subsequently joined the militia and was a member for 20 years. After finishing his military training Gilbert worked in a government bureau job which he hated. Upon receiving a nice inheritance from an aunt, Gilbert indulged his fancy and...

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