WS Gilbert

The Duke And The Duchess - Poem by WS Gilbert


Small titles and orders
For Mayors and Recorders
I get - and they're highly delighted.
M.P.s baronetted,
Sham Colonels gazetted,
And second-rate Aldermen knighted.
Foundation-stone laying
I find very paying,
It adds a large sum to my makings.
At charity dinners
The best of speech-spinners,
I get ten per cent on the takings!


I present any lady
Whose conduct is shady
Or smacking of doubtful propriety;
When Virtue would quash her
I take and whitewash her
And launch her in first-rate society.
I recommend acres
Of clumsy dressmakers -
Their fit and their finishing touches;
A sum in addition
They pay for permission
To say that they make for the Duchess!


Those pressing prevailers,
The ready-made tailors,
Quote me as their great double-barrel;
I allow them to do so,
Would jib at their wearing apparel!
I sit, by selection,
Upon the direction
Of several Companies bubble;
As soon as they're floated
I'm freely bank-noted -
I'm pretty well paid for my trouble!


At middle-class party
I play at ECARTE -
And I'm by no means a beginner;
To one of my station
The remuneration -
Five guineas a night and my dinner.
I write letters blatant
On medicines patent -
And use any other you mustn't;
And vow my complexion
Derives its perfection
From somebody's soap - which it doesn't.


We're ready as witness
To any one's fitness
To fill any place or preferment;
We're often in waiting
At junket FETING,
And sometimes attend an interment.
In short, if you'd kindle
The spark of a swindle,
Lure simpletons into your clutches,
Or hoodwink a debtor,
You cannot do better
Than trot out a Duke or a Duchess!

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Read poems about / on: sometimes, night

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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