William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836 - 1911 / London / England)

The Aesthete - Poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

If you're anxious for to shine in the high aesthetic line, as a man
of culture rare,
You must get up all the germs of the transcendental terms, and
plant them everywhere.
You must lie upon the daisies and discourse in novel phrases of
your complicated state of mind
(The meaning doesn't matter if it's only idle chatter of a
transcendental kind).
And every one will say,
As you walk your mystic way,
"If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for ME,
Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must
be!"

Be eloquent in praise of the very dull old days which have long
since passed away,
And convince 'em, if you can, that the reign of good QUEEN ANNE was
Culture's palmiest day.
Of course you will pooh-pooh whatever's fresh and new, and declare
it's crude and mean,
And that Art stopped short in the cultivated court of the EMPRESS
JOSEPHINE.
And every one will say,
As you walk your mystic way,
"If that's not good enough for him which is good enough for ME,
Why, what a very cultivated kind of youth this kind of youth must
be!"

Then a sentimental passion of a vegetable fashion must excite your
languid spleen,
An attachment E LA Plato for a bashful young potato, or a not-too-
French French bean.
Though the Philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle in
the high aesthetic band,
If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily in your
mediaeval hand.
And every one will say,
As you walk your flowery way,
"If he's content with a vegetable love which would certainly not
suit ME,
Why, what a most particularly pure young man this pure young man
must be!"


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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