Ben Allah Achmet; Or, The Fatal Tum

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

I once did know a Turkish man
Whom I upon a two-pair-back met,
His name it was Effendi Khan
Backsheesh Pasha Ben Allah Achmet.

A Doctor Brown I also knew
I've often eaten of his bounty
The Turk and he they lived at Hooe,
In Sussex, that delightful county.

I knew a nice young lady there,
Her name was Isabella Sherson,
And though she wore another's hair,
She was an interesting person.

The Turk adored the maid of Hooe
(Although his harem would have shocked her);
But Brown adored that maiden, too:
He was a most seductive doctor.

They'd follow her where'er she'd go
A course of action most improper;
She neither knew by sight, and so
For neither of them cared a copper.

Brown did not know that Turkish male,
He might have been his sainted mother:
The people in this simple tale
Are total strangers to each other.

One day that Turk he sickened sore
Which threw him straight into a sharp pet;
He threw himself upon the floor
And rolled about upon his carpet.

It made him moan it made him groan
And almost wore him to a mummy:
Why should I hesitate to own
That pain was in his little tummy?

At length a Doctor came and rung
(As Allah Achmet had desired)
Who felt his pulse, looked up his tongue,
And hummed and hawed, and then inquired:

"Where is the pain, that long has preyed
Upon you in so sad a way, sir?"
The Turk he giggled, blushed, and said,
"I don't exactly like to say, sir."

"Come, nonsense!" said good Doctor Brown,
"So this is Turkish coyness, is it?
You must contrive to fight it down
Come, come, sir, please to be explicit."

The Turk he shyly bit his thumb,
And coyly blushed like one half-witted,
"The pain is in my little tum,"
He, whispering, at length admitted.

"Then take you this, and take you that
Your blood flows sluggish in its channel
You must get rid of all this fat,
And wear my medicated flannel.

"You'll send for me, when you're in need
My name is Brown your life I've saved it!"
"My rival!" shrieked the invalid,
And drew a mighty sword and waved it.

"This to thy weazand, Christian pest!"
Aloud the Turk in frenzy yelled it,
And drove right through the Doctor's chest
The sabre and the hand that held it.

The blow was a decisive one,
And Doctor Brown grew deadly pasty
"Now see the mischief that you've done,
You Turks are so extremely hasty.

"There are two Doctor Browns in Hooe,
He's short and stout I'm tall and wizen;
You've been and run the wrong one through,
That's how the error has arisen."

The accident was thus explained,
Apologies were only heard now:
"At my mistake I'm really pained,
I am, indeed, upon my word now."

"With me, sir, you shall be interred,
A Mausoleum grand awaits me"
"Oh, pray don't say another word,
I'm sure that more than compensates me.

"But, p'r'aps, kind Turk, you're full inside?"
"There's room," said he, "for any number."
And so they laid them down and died.
In proud Stamboul they sleep their slumber.

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