The Independent Bee

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

A hive of bees, as I've heard say,
Said to their Queen one sultry day,
"Please your Majesty's high position,
The hive is full and the weather is warm,
We rather think, with a due submission,
The time has come when we ought to swarm."
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Up spake their Queen and thus spake she -
"This is a matter that rests with me,
Who dares opinions thus to form?
I'LL tell you when it is time to swarm!"
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.

Her Majesty wore an angry frown,
In fact, her Majesty's foot was down -
Her Majesty sulked - declined to sup -
In short, her Majesty's back was up.
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Her foot was down and her back was up!

That hive contained one obstinate bee
(His name was Peter), and thus spake he -
"Though every bee has shown white feather,
To bow to tyranny I'm not prone -
Why should a hive swarm all together?
Surely a bee can swarm alone?"
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Upside down and inside out,
Backwards, forwards, round about,
Twirling here and twisting there,
Topsy turvily everywhere -
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Pitiful sight it was to see
Respectable elderly high-class bee,
Who kicked the beam at sixteen stone,
Trying his best to swarm alone!
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Trying his best to swarm alone!

The hive were shocked to see their chum
(A strict teetotaller) teetotum -
The Queen exclaimed, "How terrible, very!
It's perfectly clear to all the throng
Peter's been at the old brown sherry.
Old brown sherry is much too strong -
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Of all who thus themselves degrade,
A stern example must be made,
To Coventry go, you tipsy bee!"
So off to Coventry town went he.
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
There, classed with all who misbehave,
Both plausible rogue and noisome knave,
In dismal dumps he lived to own
The folly of trying to swarm alone!
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz.
All came of trying to swarm alone.

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