Sir Macklin

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

Of all the youths I ever saw
None were so wicked, vain, or silly,
So lost to shame and Sabbath law,
As worldly TOM, and BOB, and BILLY.

For every Sabbath day they walked
(Such was their gay and thoughtless natur)
In parks or gardens, where they talked
From three to six, or even later.

SIR MACKLIN was a priest severe
In conduct and in conversation,
It did a sinner good to hear
Him deal in ratiocination.

He could in every action show
Some sin, and nobody could doubt him.
He argued high, he argued low,
He also argued round about him.

He wept to think each thoughtless youth
Contained of wickedness a skinful,
And burnt to teach the awful truth,
That walking out on Sunday's sinful.

"Oh, youths," said he, "I grieve to find
The course of life you've been and hit on
Sit down," said he, "and never mind
The pennies for the chairs you sit on.

"My opening head is 'Kensington,'
How walking there the sinner hardens,
Which when I have enlarged upon,
I go to 'Secondly' its 'Gardens.'

"My 'Thirdly' comprehendeth 'Hyde,'
Of Secresy the guilts and shameses;
My 'Fourthly' 'Park' its verdure wide
My 'Fifthly' comprehends 'St. James's.'

"That matter settled, I shall reach
The 'Sixthly' in my solemn tether,
And show that what is true of each,
Is also true of all, together.

"Then I shall demonstrate to you,
According to the rules of WHATELY,
That what is true of all, is true
Of each, considered separately."

In lavish stream his accents flow,
TOM, BOB, and BILLY dare not flout him;
He argued high, he argued low,
He also argued round about him.

"Ha, ha!" he said, "you loathe your ways,
You writhe at these my words of warning,
In agony your hands you raise."
(And so they did, for they were yawning.)

To "Twenty-firstly" on they go,
The lads do not attempt to scout him;
He argued high, he argued low,
He also argued round about him.

"Ho, ho!" he cries, "you bow your crests
My eloquence has set you weeping;
In shame you bend upon your breasts!"
(And so they did, for they were sleeping.)

He proved them this he proved them that
This good but wearisome ascetic;
He jumped and thumped upon his hat,
He was so very energetic.

His Bishop at this moment chanced
To pass, and found the road encumbered;
He noticed how the Churchman danced,
And how his congregation slumbered.

The hundred and eleventh head
The priest completed of his stricture;
"Oh, bosh!" the worthy Bishop said,
And walked him off as in the picture.

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