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WILLIAM SCHWENCK GILBERT, an English humorist and playwright, born in London, Nov. 18, 1836. He was educated at Great Ealing School and at the University of London, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1864. His first play was "Dulcamara," (1866). Among his subsequent dramatic productions are: "An Old Score" and "Pygmalion and Galatea" (1871); "The Wicked World, a Fairy Comedy" (1873); "Charity" and "Sweethearts" (1874); "Broken Heart" (1876); "Pinafore" and "The Sorcerer" (1877); "The Pirates of Penzance" (1879); "Patience, or Bunthorne's Bride" (1881); "Iolanthe " (1882); "Princess Ida " (1883); "The Mikado" (1885); "Ruddigore" (1887); "Yeoman of the Guard" (1888); "The Gondoliers" (1889), and "Utopia" (Limited) (1893). In most of his comic operas he collaborated with Sir Arthur Sullivan. In 1877 he published a volume of humorous verse entitled "Bab Ballads." He is now a magistrate with a jurisdiction near London, and writes for law journals more or less regularly.


Or all the ships upon the blue,
No ship contained a better crew
Than that of worthy Captain Reece,
Commanding of The Mantelpiece.

He was adored by all his men,
For worthy Captain Reece, R. N.,
Did all that lay within him to
Promote the comfort of his crew.

If ever they were dull or sad,

Their captain danced to them like mad,
Or told, to make the time pass by,
Droll legends of his infancy.

A feather-bed had every man,
Warm slippers and hot-water can,

VOL. X.-4

Brown windsor from the captain's store;
A valet, too, to every four.

Did they with thirst in summer burn,

Lo! seltzogenes at every turn;
And on all very sultry days

Cream ices handed round on trays.

Then, currant wine and ginger pops
Stood handily on all the "tops";
And also, with amusement rife,
A "Zoetrope, or Wheel of Life."

New volumes came across the sea
From Mr. Mudie's libraree;
The Times and Saturday Review
Beguiled the leisure of the crew.

Kind-hearted Captain Reece, R. N.,
Was quite devoted to his men;
In point of fact, good Captain Reece
Beatified The Mantelpiece.

One summer eve, at half-past ten,
He said (addressing all his men) :-
"Come, tell me, please, what I can do
To please and gratify my crew.

"By any reasonable plan
I'll make you happy if I can,
My own convenience count as nil:
It is my duty, and I will."

Then up and answered William Lee
(The kindly captain's coxswain he,
A nervous, shy, low-spoken man);
He cleared his throat, and thus began:—

"You have a daughter, Captain Reece,
Ten female cousins and a niece,
A ma, if what I'm told is true,
Six sisters, and an aunt or two.

"Now, somehow, sir, it seems to me,
More friendly-like we all should be,
If you united of 'em to

Unmarried members of the crew.

"If you'd ameliorate our life,
Let each select from them a wife;
And as for nervous me, old pal,
Give me your own enchanting gal!"

Good Captain Reece, that worthy man,
Debated on his coxswain's plan :
"I quite agree," he said, "O Bill:
It is my duty, and I will.

"My daughter, that enchanting gurl,
Has just been promised to an Earl,
And all my other familee

To peers of various degree.

"But what are dukes and viscounts to

The happiness of all my crew?

The word I gave you I'll fulfill;
It is my duty, and I will.

"As you desire it shall befall;
I'll settle thousands on you all,
And I shall be, despite my hoard,
The only bachelor on board."

The boatswain of the Mantelpiece,

He blushed and spoke to Captain Reece:-
"I beg your Honor's leave," he said :—
"If you would wish to go and wed,

"I have a widowed mother who
Would be the very thing for you -
She long has loved you from afar:
She washes for you, Captain R.”

The captain saw the dame that day-
Addressed her in his playful way:
"And did it want a wedding ring?
It was a tempting ickle sing!

"Well, well, the chaplain I will seek,
We'll all be married this day week
At yonder church upon the hill;
It is my duty, and I will!"

The sisters, cousins, aunts, and niece,
And widowed ma of Captain Reece,
Attended there as they were bid:
It was their duty, and they did.


'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,

That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he;

And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:-

"Oh, I am a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,

Till I really felt afraid,

For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:

"O elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea,
And I'll eat my hand if I understand
However you can be

"At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
Is a trick all seamen larn,

And having got rid of a thumping quid,
He spun his painful yarn:

""Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell

That we sailed to the Indian Sea, And there on a reef we come to grief, Which has often occurred to me.

"And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned (There was seventy-seven o' soul),

And only ten of the Nancy's men

Said Here!' to the muster-roll.

"There was me and the cook and the captain bold, And the mate of the Nancy brig,

And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.

"For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,

Till a-hungry we did feel;

So we drawed a lot, and accordin', shot
The captain for our meal.

"The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
And a delicate dish he made;

Then our appetite with the midshipmite
We seven survivors stayed.

And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
And he much resembled pig;

Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
On the crew of the captain's gig.

"Then only the cook and me was left,
And the delicate question, 'Which
Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose,
And we argued it out as sich.

"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,

And the cook he worshiped me;

But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed In the other chap's hold, you see.

"I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom;

[blocks in formation]

"So he boils the water, and takes the salt

And the pepper in portions true

(Which he never forgot), and some chopped shalot, And some sage and parsley too.

"Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,

Which his smiling features tell;

"Twill soothing be if I let you see

How extremely nice you'll smell.'

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