You are here: Archive Home > Bab Ballads > Woman's Gratitude

Woman's Gratitude


Fun, VIII - 9th January 1869

Illustration by Gilbert  
In underbred society
  (Which I was nurtured in),
No species of impiety
  Is reckoned such a sin —
No shocking inhumanity
  So lowly to degrade
(Alas, oh, human vanity!) —
  As being badly made.

Men, absolute iniquity
  With bandiness assess,
And physical obliquity
  With moral twistiness.
There, natural deformity
  Or curvature of bone
Is viewed as an enormity
  No penance can atone.

No atom of mortality
  Bore worthier repute
For vigourous morality,
Conspicuous for charity
  And active virtue, too —
In truth a moral rarity —
  A worthy man, and true.

But, ah, my friends, unluckily
  His form was strongly warped!
He bore his sorrow pluckily
  And seldom on it harped.
At parties, girls, perchance, with him
  Would nothing have to do —
No maiden cared to dance with him,
  Much less, of course, to woo.

Too short his legs were thought to be;
  His little back, no doubt,
Was higher than it ought to be;
  His arms, at times, slipped out.
One eye adored astronomy
  And bright celestial zones,
The other (strange economy!)
  Inspected paving stones.

Misshapen though amazingly
  With inconvenient twirl,
He dared to mention praisingIy
  The bowyer WILSON'S girl.
Grotesque as a barbarian
  (Poor BAKER COOTE, I mean),
He dared to love fair MARIAN,
  The Beauty of Wood-Green.

Although in form inferior
  He had affections fine —
A sensitive interior
  Like yours, dear friend, or mine.
He dared to love the Beautiful,
  The Graceful, and the True,
The Sensible, the Dutiful,
  The Kind, and Well-to-do.
Illustration by Gilbert

Illustration by Gilbert  
But she (poor COOTE in talking with,
  She banished all his claims)
Preferred to go out walking with
  A well-made person — JAMES.
Poor COOTE determined pluckily
  To stab that well-made man,
But incidents unluckily
  Occurred to baulk his plan.

So COOTE, with strange temerity,
  Would gaze on her all day,
Till JAMES, with much asperity,
  Would bid him go away.
"Don't shorten my felicity,"
  Said BAKER in a blaze,
"The cat of domesticity
  On Royalty may gaze.

"Look on yon sky's concavity,
  The sun, celestial ball,
We, spite of our depravity,
  May love and worship all!
The moon shines brightly — beamingly —
  And though I'm crook'd, it's true,
Yet I may court her, seemingly,
  Till everything is blue!"

JAMES, though adored by MARIAN,
  Was pitiably dense,
A commonplace vulgarian
  With no poetic sense.
"Now BAKER, go your ways, my boy,
  You poor, misshapen loon —
Spend, if you like, your days, my boy,
  In crying for the moon.

"Perhaps she is — you say she is —
  Unangered at your smiles,
But think how far away she is —
  Three hundred thousand miles!
Were you a gay Lunarian
  You might, I'm sure, have stared
  For anything I cared!"

No man of true nobility
  Could stand such taunts and names
Or suffer with tranquillity
  The gibes of well-made JAMES.
He used his blade unskilfully —
  With blunderbuss instead,
He aimed at JAMIE, wilfully,
  And shot that springald dead!
Illustration by Gilbert

You would have fancied, tearfully,
  He would not sigh in vain,
Who braves the gallows cheerfully,
  His only love to gain.
Don't let such wild insanity
  Upon your thoughts intrude,
You little know the vanity
  Of female gratitude!

Illustration by Gilbert

Archive Home  |  W. S. Gilbert  |   Bab Ballads

Page Created 30 July, 2011