The Sensation Captain

A poem by William Schwenck Gilbert

No nobler captain ever trod
Than Captain Parklebury Todd,
So good so wise so brave, he!
But still, as all his friends would own,
He had one folly one alone
This Captain in the Navy.

I do not think I ever knew
A man so wholly given to
Creating a sensation;
Or p'r'aps I should in justice say
To what in an Adelphi play
Is known as "Situation."

He passed his time designing traps
To flurry unsuspicious chaps
The taste was his innately
He couldn't walk into a room
Without ejaculating "Boom!"
Which startled ladies greatly.

He'd wear a mask and muffling cloak,
Not, you will understand, in joke,
As some assume disguises.
He did it, actuated by
A simple love of mystery
And fondness for surprises.

I need not say he loved a maid
His eloquence threw into shade
All others who adored her:
The maid, though pleased at first, I know,
Found, after several years or so,
Her startling lover bored her.

So, when his orders came to sail,
She did not faint or scream or wail,
Or with her tears anoint him.
She shook his hand, and said "Good-bye;"
With laughter dancing in her eye
Which seemed to disappoint him.

But ere he went aboard his boat
He placed around her little throat
A ribbon blue and yellow,
On which he hung a double tooth
A simple token this, in sooth
'Twas all he had, poor fellow!

"I often wonder," he would say,
When very, very far away,
"If Angelina wears it!
A plan has entered in my head,
I will pretend that I am dead,
And see how Angy bears it!"

The news he made a messmate tell:
His Angelina bore it well,
No sign gave she of crazing;
But, steady as the Inchcape rock
His Angelina stood the shock
With fortitude amazing.

She said, "Some one I must elect
Poor Angelina to protect
From all who wish to harm her.
Since worthy Captain Todd is dead
I rather feel inclined to wed
A comfortable farmer."

A comfortable farmer came
(Bassanio Tyler was his name)
Who had no end of treasure:
He said, "My noble gal, be mine!"
The noble gal did not decline,
But simply said, "With pleasure."

When this was told to Captain Todd,
At first he thought it rather odd,
And felt some perturbation;
But very long he did not grieve,
He thought he could a way perceive
To such a situation!

"I'll not reveal myself," said he,
"Till they are both in the Eccle-
siastical Arena;
Then suddenly I will appear,
And paralyzing them with fear,
Demand my Angelina!"

At length arrived the wedding day
Accoutred in the usual way
Appeared the bridal body
The worthy clergyman began,
When in the gallant captain ran
And cried, "Behold your Toddy!"

The bridegroom, p'r'aps, was terrified,
And also possibly the bride
The bridesmaids were affrighted;
But Angelina, noble soul,
Contrived her feelings to control,
And really seemed delighted.

"My bride!" said gallant Captain Todd,
"She's mine, uninteresting clod,
My own, my darling charmer!"
"Oh, dear," said she, "you're just too late,
I'm married to, I beg to state,
This comfortable farmer!"

"Indeed," the farmer said, "she's mine,
You've been and cut it far too fine!"
"I see," said Todd, "I'm beaten."
And so he went to sea once more,
"Sensation" he for aye forswore,
And married on her native shore
A lady whom he'd met before
A lovely Otaheitan.

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