Treasure Island

William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836 - 1911 / London / England)

A Man Who Would Woo a Fair Maid


A man who would woo a fair maid,
Should 'prentice himself to the trade;
And study all day,
In methodical way,
How to flatter, cajole, and persuade.
He should 'prentice himself at fourteen
And practise from morning to e'en;
And when he's of age,
If he will, I'll engage,
He may capture the heart of a queen!
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

If he's made the best use of his time,
His twig he'll so carefully lime
That every bird
Will come down at his word.
Whatever its plumage and clime.
He must learn that the thrill of a touch
May mean little, or nothing, or much;
It's an instrument rare,
To be handled with care,
And ought to be treated as such.
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack,
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

Then a glance may be timid or free;
It will vary in mighty degree,
From an impudent stare
To a look of despair
That no maid without pity can see.
And a glance of despair is no guide -
It may have its ridiculous side;
It may draw you a tear
Or a box on the ear;
You can never be sure till you've tried.
It is purely a matter of skill,
Which all may attain if they will:
But every Jack
He must study the knack
If he wants to make sure of his Jill!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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