William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836 - 1911 / London / England)

The Heavy Dragoon Poem by William Schwenck Gilbert


If you want a receipt for that popular mystery,
Known to the world as a Heavy Dragoon,
Take all the remarkable people in history,
Rattle them off to a popular tune!
The pluck of LORD NELSON on board of the VICTORY -
Genius of BISMARCK devising a plan;
The humour of FIELDING (which sounds contradictory) -
Coolness of PAGET about to trepan -
The grace of MOZART, that unparalleled musico -
Wit of MACAULAY, who wrote of QUEEN ANNE -
The pathos of PADDY, as rendered by BOUCICAULT -
Style of the BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN -
The dash of a D'ORSAY, divested of quackery -
Narrative powers of DICKENS and THACKERAY -
VICTOR EMMANUEL - peak-haunting PEVERIL -
THOMAS AQUINAS, and DOCTOR SACHEVERELL -
TUPPER and TENNYSON - DANIEL DEFOE -
ANTHONY TROLLOPE and MISTER GUIZOT!
Take of these elements all that is fusible,
Melt 'em all down in a pipkin or crucible,
Set 'em to simmer and take off the scum,
And a Heavy Dragoon is the residuum!

If you want a receipt for this soldierlike paragon,
Get at the wealth of the CZAR (if you can) -
The family pride of a Spaniard from Arragon -
Force of MEPHISTO pronouncing a ban -
A smack of LORD WATERFORD, reckless and rollicky -
Swagger of RODERICK, heading his clan -
The keen penetration of PADDINGTON POLLAKY -
Grace of an Odalisque on a divan -
The genius strategic of CAESAR or HANNIBAL -
Skill of LORD WOLSELEY in thrashing a cannibal -
Flavour of HAMLET - the STRANGER, a touch of him -
Little of MANFRED (but not very much of him) -
Beadle of Burlington - RICHARDSON'S show -
MR. MICAWBER and MADAME TUSSAUD!
Take of these elements all that is fusible -
Melt 'em all down in a pipkin or crucible -
Set 'em to simmer and take off the scum,
And a Heavy Dragoon is the residuum!

Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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