The Gondoliers

   

You are here: Archive Home > The Gondoliers > Web Opera > Act II

No. 20: DUET (Duke & Duchess)
"To help unhappy commoners"
Midi Symbol


Duke.
To help unhappy commoners, and add to their enjoyment,
Affords a man of noble rank congenial employment;
Of our attempts we offer you examples illustrative:
The work is light, and, I may add, it's most remunerative.

Duke.
Small titles and orders
For Mayors and Recorders
I get — and they're highly delighted —
Duchess.
They're highly delighted!
Duke.
M. P.'s baronetted,
Sham Colonels gazetted,
And second-rate Aldermen knighted —
Duchess.
Yes, Aldermen knighted.
Duke.
Foundation-stone laying
I find very paying:
It adds a large sum to my makings —
Duchess.
Large sums to his makings.
Duke.
At charity dinners
The best of speech-spinners,
I get ten per cent on the takings —
Duchess.
One-tenth of the takings.
The Duke (Martyn Green) & Duchess (Evelyn Gardiner), 1939
Click on picture to enlarge

Duchess.
I present any lady
Whose conduct is shady
Or smacking of doubtful propriety —
Duke.
Doubtful propriety.
Duchess.
When Virtue would quash her,
I take and whitewash her,
And launch her in first-rate society —
Duke.
First-rate society!
Duchess.
I recommend acres
Of clumsy dressmakers —
Their fit and their finishing touches —
Duke.
Their finishing touches.
Duchess.
A sum in addition
They pay for permission
To say that they make for the Duchess —
Duke.
They make for the Duchess!

Duke.
Those pressing prevailers,
The ready-made tailors,
Quote me as their great double-barrel —
Duchess.
Their great double-barrel —
Duke.
I allow them to do so,
Though Robinson Crusoe
Would jib at their wearing apparel —
Duchess.
Such wearing apparel!
Duke.
I sit, by selection,
Upon the direction
Of several Companies bubble —
Duchess.
All Companies bubble!
Duke.
As soon as they're floated
I'm freely bank-noted--
I'm pretty well paid for my trouble —
Duchess.
He's paid for his trouble!

Duchess.
At middle-class party
I play at écarté
And I'm by no means a beginner —
Duke. (significantly)
She's not a beginner.
Duchess.
To one of my station
The remuneration —
Five guineas a night and my dinner —
Duke.
And wine with her dinner.
Duchess.
I write letters blatant
On medicines patent —
And use any other you mustn't —
Duke.
Believe me, you mustn't —
Duchess.
And vow my complexion
Derives its perfection
From somebody's soap — which it doesn't —
Duke. (significantly)
It certainly doesn't!

Duke.
We're ready as witness
To any one's fitness
To fill any place or preferment —
Duchess.
A place or preferment.
We're often in waiting
At junket or fêting,
And sometimes attend an interment —
Duke.
We enjoy an interment.
Both.
In short, if you'd kindle
The spark of a swindle,
Lure simpletons into your clutches —
Yes; into your clutches.
Or hoodwink a debtor,
You cannot do better
Duchess.
Than trot out a Duke or a Duchess,
Duke.
A Duke
Both.
Or a Duchess!

Archive Home  | The Gondoliers

Page Created 17 October, 2005

   
Previous Page Opera Home Top of Page Next Song Next Page Previous Song