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LITERATURE & ART

I should say the company of the Savoy Theatre would be glad that "Iolanthe" is at last produced. They have been having a hard time of it. On Thursday they rehearsed till two o'clock in the morning, and the dress rehearsal on Friday did not conclude much before that hour. The first act took from eight till eleven to rehearse. The repetitions were constant. When Mr. Sullivan was not stopping his band, Mr. Gilbert was stopping his artists. By both gentlemen the minutest details of note and gesture were unerringly followed, and, where necessary, corrected. The "peers of the realm" required special drilling in the carriage of their robes, articles of attire to which they were evidently unaccustomed. The ladies of the chorus, too, did not, at first, "trip" along quite to Mr. Gilbert's satisfaction. Everybody, however, was in high good humour, and worked unflaggingly. The little company of friends and critics was liberal in applause and laughter, and one could tell at once what would be the successes of the first night. Between whiles certain of the artists came into the stalls, and in one interval it was great fun to hear Mr. Grossmith beg Mr. Carte to stand a little aside, as he was obstructing Mr. G.'s view of the big double-bass!

Selections from the libretto of "Iolanthe" have already appeared in this paper. I cannot, however, resist the reproduction of this song, sung by the Lord Chancellor, and written in Mr. Gilbert's neatest and most pungent manner: —

When I went to the Bar as a very young man
  (Said I to myself — said I),
I'll work on a new and original plan
  (Said I to myself — said I)
I'll never assume that a rogue or a thief
Is a gentleman worthy implicit belief,
Because his attorney has sent me a brief
  (Said I to myself — said I !).

I'll never throw dust in a juryman's eyes
  Said I to myself — said I),
Or hoodwink a judge who is not over-wise
  (Said I to myself — said I),
Or assume that the witnesses summoned in force
In Exchequer, Queen's Bench, Common Pleas, or Divorce
Have perjured themselves as a matter of course
  (Said I to myself — said I!)

Ere I go into court I will read my brief through
  (Said I to myself — said I),
And I'll never take work I'm unable to do
  (Said I to myself — said I),
My learned profession I'll never disgrace
By taking a fee with a grin on my face,
When I haven't been there to attend to the case
  (Said I to myself — said I!)

In other professions in which men engage
  (Said I to myself— said I),
The Army, the Navy, the Church, and the Stage
  (Said I to myself— said I),
Professional licence, if carried too far,
Your chance of promotion will certainly mar,
And I fancy the rule might apply to the Bar
  (Said I to myself— said I!)

[From The Nottinghamshire Guardian, 1 December 1882.]


 

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