William Schwenck Gilbert

(1836 - 1911 / London / England)

The Pantomime Super To His Mask - Poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

Vast empty shell!
Impertinent, preposterous abortion!
With vacant stare,
And ragged hair,
And every feature out of all proportion!
Embodiment of echoing inanity!
Excellent type of simpering insanity!
Unwieldy, clumsy nightmare of humanity!
I ring thy knell!

To-night thou diest,
Beast that destroy'st my heaven-born identity!
Nine weeks of nights,
Before the lights,
Swamped in thine own preposterous nonentity,
I've been ill-treated, cursed, and thrashed diurnally,
Credited for the smile you wear externally -
I feel disposed to smash thy face, infernally,
As there thou liest!

I've been thy brain:
I'VE been the brain that lit thy dull concavity!
The human race
Invest MY face
With thine expression of unchecked depravity,
Invested with a ghastly reciprocity,
I'VE been responsible for thy monstrosity,
I, for thy wanton, blundering ferocity -
But not again!

'T is time to toll
Thy knell, and that of follies pantomimical:
A nine weeks' run,
And thou hast done
All thou canst do to make thyself inimical.
Adieu, embodiment of all inanity!
Excellent type of simpering insanity!
Unwieldy, clumsy nightmare of humanity!
Freed is thy soul!

(THE MASK RESPONDETH.)

Oh! master mine,
Look thou within thee, ere again ill-using me.
Art thou aware
Of nothing there
Which might abuse thee, as thou art abusing me?
A brain that mourns THINE unredeemed rascality?
A soul that weeps at THY threadbare morality?
Both grieving that THEIR individuality
Is merged in thine?


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Read poems about / on: identity, hair, smile, heaven, night, running



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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