William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836 - 1911 / London / England)

How It's Done - Poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

Bold-faced ranger
(Perfect stranger)
Meets two well-behaved young ladies
He's attractive,
Young and active -
Each a little bit afraid is.
Youth advances,
At his glances
To their danger they awaken;
They repel him
As they tell him
He is very much mistaken.
Though they speak to him politely,
Please observe they're sneering slightly,
Just to show he's acting vainly.
This is Virtue saying plainly,
"Go away, young bachelor,
We are not what you take us for!"
(When addressed impertinently,
English ladies answer gently,
"Go away, young bachelor,
We are not what you take us for!")

As he gazes,
Hat he raises,
Enters into conversation.
Makes excuses -
This produces
Interesting agitation.
He, with daring,
Undespairing,
Gives his card - his rank discloses -
Little heeding
This proceeding,
They turn up their little noses.
Pray observe this lesson vital -
When a man of rank and title
His position first discloses,
Always cock your little noses.
When at home, let all the class
Try this in the looking-glass.
(English girls of well-bred notions
Shun all unrehearsed emotions,
English girls of highest class
Practise them before the glass.)

His intentions
Then he mentions,
Something definite to go on -
Makes recitals
Of his titles,
Hints at settlements, and so on.
Smiling sweetly,
They, discreetly,
Ask for further evidences:
Thus invited,
He, delighted,
Gives the usual references.
This is business. Each is fluttered
When the offer's fairly uttered.
"Which of them has his affection?"
He declines to make selection.
Do they quarrel for his dross?
Not a bit of it - they toss!
Please observe this cogent moral -
English ladies never quarrel.
When a doubt they come across,
English ladies always toss.


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Read poems about / on: home, girl, smile



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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