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"I KNOW what your poem will be,” she said,
And laughed in his face as she reached her arm
Up over his shoulders, and joined her palms, And plaited her fingers behind his head. "'Twill be about roses all faded and fallen, 'Twill be about grasses all yellow and dead,
'Twill be about heather in clusters of purple, 'Twill be about leaves that are golden and red.
Say, truthfully, won't it? Just answer me now;”
And merrily twinkled her mischievous eyes, While warm was the touch of her lips on his brow.
The musk-rose, love, is sweetest now,
The evening star hath risen; The closing flower a tardy bee
Hath caught and shut in prison; And now the moon, on silvery shoon,
Ascends the slopes of blue, And sends her light, dear maid, this night
To brighten paths for you.
Oh, love, there's music on the breeze!
To soothe his mate to slumber, The feathered minstrel fills her bower
With many a tuneful number. And, hark! afar, a soft guitar
And voices sweet and clear; Your breast, I know, will softer grow
When strains like these you hear.
“A wonderful prophetess you, no doubt,”
He answered her, laughing. “But you'll agree
A poem without them, this month, would be Like Hamlet with Hamlet himself left out.
Whoever would herald October's returning, Her livery must wear and her colors hang out; Tho' threadbare the trappings and ancient the
colors, 'Tis cruel the wearer and bearer to flout.
Now isn't it truly? Just answer me this,”
He asked her, with passionate, loving embrace, And sealed her red lips for a time with a kiss.
Oh, come, fair girl, and walk with me
These paths like silver glowing, And fill with music's honied draught
Thy soul to overflowing;
The tale I would repeat,
If thou wert mine, oh sweet!
A FALLEN IDOL.
“Ah, well! but you'll sigh for the summer past,
For the butterflies gaudy and songs of birds,
And mention in sorrowful, tender words The blossom that lingers alone, the last;
And plaintively murder in pitiful verses About the approach of the merciless blast,
The snows and the blight and the wild desolation That come with the winter that's coming so fast. Say, honestly, won't you ? Now tell me the
truth,” She asked him, and pouted, as though she
believed That poets were gloomy repiners, forsooth!
HIGH-NICHED within the temple of my heart
An Idol stood, all faultless in my sight:
The rosy tint it wore in love's warm light, Its pose, finisse de grain, and every part Proportioned fitly by the sculptor's art, Combined, it seemed, as seen from its great
height, To make a form divine; and day and night My soul to it did adoration pay,
Till lo! in time, it fell upon the ground, And right before my feet it broken lay,
When, scanning it amazedly, I found
My partial sight alone had made it seem
“No, never-I swear it!” he then replied. “Repine I will never, nor care a fig
For vanishing blossom and leafless twig, As long as my darling is at my side.
The winter may bluster-I dread not its fury,
WILLIAM SCHWENCK GILBERT.
THE writer of “ Bab Ballads” occupies a posi
Is it best to be one of a garden of flowers
That blossoms in freedom from cover and wall, Where butterflies Ait in the sunniest hours
And lightly pay court to the charms of them all;
Or best to be only a separate flower
That gladdens a house where it blossoms alone, Yet blossoms not only in sunniest hour, But cheers and is cherished when summer has
Is it best to be one of a concert of songs
Whose varying melodies ravish the ear, And puzzle the listeners, who gather in throngs,
To tell which is sweeter of all that they hear;
Or best to be only a separate song
Whose resonant harmonies lighten and swell The heart of a toiler and render him strong
To shoulder his burden and carry it well?
Is it best to be one of a bevy of maids,
Light-hearted and joyous in youth's sunny days, Admired ere the bloom of their loveliness fades By gallants who court them with meaningless
tion of marked pre-eminence among his English brethren. He belongs to a class of versemakers whose ranks are certainly not overcrowded, and whose productions are distinguished chiefly by their fewness and their feebleness. The comic poet does not, in short, flourish in England. It was a day to be marked with a white stone when this quaint genius met Sir Arthur Sullivan. Their first joint production was called “Thespis; or, the Gods Grown Old," which has already gone a long way on the road to the limbo of forgotten plays. Then came “Trial by Jury,” produced at the Royalty Theatre in March, 1864, the first emphatic success in a series of operettas that have made the names of Gilbert and Sullivan famous wherever the English language is spoken, and in a good many places where it is not. This pleasantry at the expense of the Bench and Bar was followed in 1877 by “The Sorcerer," and next by “H. M. S. Pinafore," which ran at the Opera Comique for the almost unprecedented period of two years. “H. M. S. Pinafore” was followed by “The Pirates of Penzance; " then by “ Patience," which mocked the folly of the so-called “æsthetic'' craze, and in which the army came in for some of the good-natured satire that the navy had already had meted out to it; then by “Iolanthe," with its skits upon Parliament and the famous song of the sentry; next by “Princess Ida,” in which Mr. Gilbert returned to a subject that he had previously treated in a blank verse burlesque; then by “The Mikado,” afterwards by “Ruddigore," and, finally, by “The Yeomen of the Guard," produced at the Savoy, which, by-the-way, is one of the few theatres, like Wagner's at Bayreuth, expressly built for a particular series of operas. If Mr. Gilbert had done nothing else, his share in these delightful plays would have entitled him to lasting gratitude from all lovers of the stage. They did much to relieve the English theatre from the reproach of being a second-hand vehicle for the display of French opera-bouffé, showed the world that an English musician could more than hold his own on their chosen ground against an Offenbach or a Lecocq, and that other sources of humor were available than the erotic sentiment of a Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.
The libretti of these operettas, with their many dainty lyrics, form, however, only a small part of the work that Mr. Gilbert has done. His first piece was a burlesque on "L'Elisir d'Amore," called “Dulcamara; or, the Little Duck and the
Or best to be only a dutiful wife,
With cares which the bosoms of wives ever hold, But loving and loved through the years of her life,
With love that is boundless and never grows cold?
PULCHRORUM HUTNUEUNS PULCHER.
Her summer days are gone,
But well I knew they teemed With all the sunny glow
Whereof in spring she dreamed. For see, her brow is smooth,
And look, her eyes are bright; O, well I know her summer days
Were joyous—filled with light.
The autumn days are come,
And beautiful are they,
At eve the perfect day.
Her voice is soft and low;
Which follows summer's glow.
THE YARN OF THE NANCY BELL.
'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
An elderly naval man.
His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he, And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:
“Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And a mate of the Nancy brig, And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."
And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid, For I couldn't help thinking the man had been
drinking, And so I simply said:
“Oh, elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea, And I'll eat my hand if I understand
However you can be
Great Quack," produced in 1866 at the St. James' Theatre. It met with a success that was shared by his next effort, a burlesque on “La Figlia del Reggimento.” Then followed “The Merry Zingara," and next a burlesque on “Robert the Devil.” His first comedy was "An Old Score," which, however, was only moderately successful, but his parody of the Laureate's “Princess," afterwards to be treated in a different way in the “Princess Ida," made a hit. This parody was intended, in Mr. Gilbert's own words, to be "a blank verse burlesque, in which a picturesque story should be told in a strain of mock-heroic seriousness," a vein from which he has not greatly departed in many of his other productions. “The Palace of Truth," and the charming, mythological comedy, “Pygmalion and Galatea," the fairy comedy, “The Wicked World,” “Charity," "Randall's Thumb,” “On Guard,” "Great Expectations," "Dan'l Druce," "Engaged,” that pretty little dramatic contrast, “Sweethearts,” “
"“Broken Hearts," “Tom Cobb,” “Gretchen,” “The Ne'er do Weel," "Foggarty's Fairy," these are among the many pieces with which Mr. Gilbert has supplied the stage. He has been a prolific writer in other directions. His “Bab Ballads " first appeared in fun, which was started in 1861, by the late Mr. H. J. Byron. “With much labor,” Mr. Gilbert turned out an article threequarters of a column long, and sent it to the editor with a half-page drawing on wood, with the result that he was asked to contribute a column of “copy" and a half-page drawing every week for the term of his natural life. The request staggered him, as he thought he had exhausted himself. The same feeling of absolute exhaustion has, he says, recurred to him whenever he has completed a drama, comedy, or operatic libretto, but he has learned to recognize it as a mere bogey.
Mr. Gilbert, who was born on November 18th, 1836, at 17 Southampton Street, Strand, was educated at Great Ealing and at King's College. When he was nineteen years old, the Crimean War was at its height, and he meditated joining the army, but, as the war came suddenly to an end, that idea was abandoned. Then he obtained a clerkship in the education department of the Privy Council Office; afterwards became a barrister, in which capacity he confesses that his main distinction was a certain want of eloquence, and at length gave himself up entirely to literature and the stage. It was a gain all round. Had events run their course, he might have become a judge, or at least a general; but there are many generals and many judges; there is only one Gilbert, and only one “Pinafore."
“At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig, And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.”
Is a trick all seamen larn,
He spun this painful yarn:
“'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
That we sailed to the Indian Sea, And there on a reef we came to grief,
Which has often occurred to me.
"And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned
(There was seventy-seven o' soul,) And only ten of the Nancy's men
Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.
“There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And the crew of the captain's gig.
“For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
Till a-hungry we did feel,
The captain for our meal.
“And he stirred it round and round and round,
And he sniffed at the foaming froth; When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
In the scum of the boiling broth.
“And I eat that cook in a week or less,
And as I eatiug be The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
For a vessel in sight I see?
A lover came riding by awhile,
Some maid would value greatly-
And cold demeanor stately. “You've still,” said she to her suitor stern, “The 'prentice-work of your craft to learn,
If thus you come a-cooing. I've time to lose and power to choose 'Tis not so much the gallant who woos,
As the gallant's way of wooing."