Put A Penny In The Slot

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

If my action's stiff and crude,
Do not laugh, because it's rude.
If my gestures promise larks,
Do not make unkind remarks.
Clockwork figures may be found
Everywhere and all around.
Ten to one, if I but knew,
You are clockwork figures too.
And the motto of the lot,
"Put a penny in the slot!"

Usurer, for money lent,
Making out his cent per cent -
Widow plump or maiden rare,
Deaf and dumb to suitor's prayer -
Tax collectors, whom in vain
You implore to "call again" -
Cautious voter, whom you find
Slow in making up his mind -
If you'd move them on the spot,
Put a penny in the slot!

Bland reporters in the courts,
Who suppress police reports -
Sheriff's yeoman, pen in fist,
Making out a jury list -
Stern policemen, tall and spare,
Acting all "upon the square" -
(Which in words that plainer fall,
Means that you can square them all) -
If you want to move the lot,
Put a penny in the slot!

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