The National Anthem

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

A monarch is pestered with cares,
Though, no doubt, he can often trepan them;
But one comes in a shape he can never escape -
The implacable National Anthem!
Though for quiet and rest he may yearn,
It pursues him at every turn -
No chance of forsaking
Its ROCOCO numbers;
They haunt him when waking -
They poison his slumbers -
Like the Banbury Lady, whom every one knows,
He's cursed with its music wherever he goes!
Though its words but imperfectly rhyme,
And the devil himself couldn't scan them;
With composure polite he endures day and night
That illiterate National Anthem!

It serves a good purpose, I own:
Its strains are devout and impressive -
Its heart-stirring notes raise a lump in our throats
As we burn with devotion excessive:
But the King, who's been bored by that song
From his cradle - each day - all day long -
Who's heard it loud-shouted
By throats operatic,
And loyally spouted
By courtiers emphatic -
By soldier - by sailor - by drum and by fife -
Small blame if he thinks it the plague of his life!
While his subjects sing loudly and long,
Their King - who would willingly ban them -
Sits, worry disguising, anathematising
That Bogie, the National Anthem!

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