The Fairy Curate.

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

Once a fairy
Light and airy
Married with a mortal;
Men, however,
Never, never
Pass the fairy portal.
Slyly stealing,
She to Ealing
Made a daily journey;
There she found him,
Clients round him
(He was an attorney).

Long they tarried,
Then they married.
When the ceremony
Once was ended,
Off they wended
On their moon of honey.
Twelvemonth, maybe,
Saw a baby
(Friends performed an orgie).
Much they prized him,
And baptized him
By the name of Georgie,

Georgie grew up;
Then he flew up
To his fairy mother.
Happy meeting -
Pleasant greeting -
Kissing one another.
"Choose a calling
Most enthralling,
I sincerely urge ye."
"Mother," said he
(Rev'rence made he),
"I would join the clergy.

"Give permission
In addition -
Pa will let me do it:
There's a living
In his giving -
He'll appoint me to it.
Dreams of coff'ring,
Easter off'ring,
Tithe and rent and pew-rate,
So inflame me
(Do not blame me),
That I'll be a curate."

She, with pleasure,
Said, "My treasure,
'T is my wish precisely.
Do your duty,
There's a beauty;
You have chosen wisely.
Tell your father
I would rather
As a churchman rank you.
You, in clover,
I'll watch over."
Georgie said, "Oh, thank you!"

Georgie scudded,
Went and studied,
Made all preparations,
And with credit
(Though he said it)
Passed examinations.
(Do not quarrel
With him, moral,
Scrupulous digestions -
'Twas his mother,
And no other,
Answered all the questions.)

Time proceeded;
Little needed
Georgie admonition:
He, elated,
Clergyman's position.
People round him
Always found him
Plain and unpretending;
Kindly teaching,
Plainly preaching,
All his money lending.

So the fairy,
Wise and wary,
Felt no sorrow rising -
No occasion
For persuasion,
Warning, or advising.
He, resuming
Fairy pluming
(That's not English, is it?)
Oft would fly up,
To the sky up,
Pay mamma a visit.

* * * * * * * *

Time progressing,
Georgie's blessing
Grew more Ritualistic -
Popish scandals,
Tonsures sandals -
Genuflections mystic;
Gushing meetings -
Bosom-beatings -
Heavenly ecstatics -
Broidered spencers -
Copes and censers -
Rochets and dalmatics.

This quandary
Vexed the fairy -
Flew she down to Ealing.
"Georgie, stop it!
Pray you, drop it;
Hark to my appealing:
To this foolish
Papal rule-ish
Twaddle put an ending;
This a swerve is
From our Service
Plain and unpretending."

He, replying,
Answered, sighing,
Hawing, hemming, humming,
"It's a pity -
They're so pritty;
Yet in mode becoming,
Mother tender,
I'll surrender -
I'll be unaffected "
But his Bishop
Into HIS shop
Entered unexpected!

"Who is this, sir, -
Ballet miss, sir?"
Said the Bishop coldly.
"'T is my mother,
And no other,"
Georgie answered boldly.
"Go along, sir!
You are wrong, sir;
You have years in plenty,
While this hussy
(Gracious mussy!)
Isn't two and twenty!"

(Fairies clever
Never, never
Grow in visage older;
And the fairy,
All unwary,
Leant upon his shoulder!)
Bishop grieved him,
Disbelieved him;
George the point grew warm on;
Changed religion,
Like a pigeon, {1}
And became a Mormon!

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