The Grand Duke

   

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No. 6: SONG (Notary)

"About a century since"

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  Notary.
Scott Russell as the Notary
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About a century since,
The code of the duello
To sudden death
For want of breath
Sent many a strapping fellow.
The then presiding Prince
(Who useless bloodshed hated),
He passed an Act,
Short and compact,
Which may be briefly stated.

Unlike the complicated laws
A Parliamentary draughtsman draws,
It may be briefly stated.
 

All.
We know that complicated laws,
A Parliamentary draughtsman draws,
Cannot be briefly stated.

Notary.

By this ingenious law,
If any two shall quarrel,
They may not fight
With falchions bright
(Which seemed to him immoral);
But each a card shall draw,
And he who draws the lowest
Shall (so ’twas said)
Be henceforth dead –
In fact, a legal “ghoest”

(When exigence of rhyme compels,
Orthography forgoes her spells,
And “ghost” is written “ghoest”).


All. (aside)
With what an emphasis he dwells
Upon “orthography” and “spells”!
That kind of fun’s the lowest.

Notary.

When off the loser’s popped
(By pleasing legal fiction),
And friend and foe
Have wept their woe
In counterfeit affliction,
The winner must adopt
The loser’s poor relations –
Discharge his debts,
Pay all his bets,
And take his obligations.

The winner must adopt
The loser’s poor relations –
Discharge his debts,
Pay all his bets,
Discharge his debts,
Pay all his bets,
And take his obligations.

In short, to briefly sum the case,
The winner takes the loser’s place,
With all its obligations.


All.
How neatly lawyers state a case!
The winner takes the loser’s place,
With all its obligations!
How neatly lawyers state a case!
The winner takes the loser’s place,
How neatly lawyers state a case!
The winner takes the loser’s place,
With all its obligations, obligations!

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