The Bishop And The 'Busman

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

It was a Bishop bold,
And London was his see,
He was short and stout and round about,
And zealous as could be.

It also was a Jew,
Who drove a Putney bus
For flesh of swine however fine
He did not care a cuss.

His name was Hash Baz Ben,
And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
This bus-directing Jew.

The Bishop said, said he,
"I'll see what I can do
To Christianize and make you wise,
You poor benighted Jew."

So every blessed day
That bus he rode outside,
From Fulham town, both up and down,
And loudly thus he cried:

"His name is Hash Baz Ben,
And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
This bus-directing Jew."

At first the busman smiled,
And rather liked the fun
He merely smiled, that Hebrew child,
And said, "Eccentric one!"

And gay young dogs would wait
To see the bus go by
(These gay young dogs in striking togs)
To hear the Bishop cry:

"Observe his grisly beard,
His race it clearly shows,
He sticks no fork in ham or pork:
Observe, my friends, his nose.

"His name is Hash Baz Ben,
And Jedediah too,
And Solomon and Zabulon
This bus-directing Jew."

But though at first amused,
Yet after seven years,
This Hebrew child got awful riled,
And busted into tears.

He really almost feared
To leave his poor abode,
His nose, and name, and beard became
A byword on that road.

At length he swore an oath,
The reason he would know
"I'll call and see why ever he
Does persecute me so."

The good old bishop sat
On his ancestral chair,
The busman came, sent up his name,
And laid his grievance bare.

"Benighted Jew," he said,
(And chuckled loud with joy)
"Be Christian you, instead of Jew
Become a Christian boy.

"I'll ne'er annoy you more."
"Indeed?" replied the Jew.
"Shall I be freed?" "You will, indeed!"
Then "Done!" said he, "with you!"

The organ which, in man,
Between the eyebrows grows,
Fell from his face, and in its place,
He found a Christian nose.

His tangled Hebrew beard,
Which to his waist came down,
Was now a pair of whiskers fair
His name, Adolphus Brown.

He wedded in a year,
That prelate's daughter Jane;
He's grown quite fair has auburn hair
His wife is far from plain.

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