You are here: Archive Home > Bab Ballads > Sixty-Three and Sixty-Four

Sixty-Three and Sixty-Four

Fun, n.s. V - 2nd Jan. 1864


Drawing by Gilbert
Drawing by Gilbert Oh, you who complain that the drawings insane, or too
  much for your noddles have found it,
But listen a minute, I'll tell you what's in it — completely
  explain and expound it.
With intellect weaselly, artist has easily earned all his
  bacon and greens by it,
And now that it's done and all ready for Fun, it's my
  duty to say what he means by it.
First Beef-eaters, twain, who are hideously plain, with
  a great deal too much flesh on,
Are placed, I dare say, to keep clear all the way, like
  the "pleece" in a civic procession.
Two pantomime actors — disgraceful characters, for
  each is a thief and a chartist
(The clown little charms, for he's weak in the arms, but
  of course that's the fault of the artist),
Stealing and shouting, and bad doggerel spouting,
  completely regardless of rhyme or ear —
Melody metrical, authors theatrical little regard at this
  time o' year;
Each of the pair you distinguish down there, a
  barbarous Pan or a Sat'r I call
(But stop, surely "rhyme or ear" scarce rhymes with
  "time o' year" — "metrical" don't with "theatrical")
Two gentlemen, then, stout, hale-looking men, and
  they carry the season's necessities —
What's in that bowl? How it flames! on my soul, I've
  not the least notion, unless it is
Something to drink — it must be that I think; there is
  pudding and beef and a turkey,
Savoury sausages — offspring of coarse ages, round
  the fat gobbler lurk ye!
Ha! Ha! Christmas-boxes! — purveyors of oxes,
  greengrocer, and baker, whom HODGE I call.
(Fox plural is "foxes," so why not ox "oxes? The
  language is strangely illogical!)
A well-bred young man, meeting JULIA and ANNE,
  puts a smile that he fancies will please on,
And offers on meeting, the usual greeting — the
  compliments, viz., of the season
(Whatever they are, it's a phrase popular in the
  various elegant "sets" I know,
I pay them away, and I wish I could say, that with them
  I could pay all my debts, I know!).
The waits, wet and chilly, so long have missed WILLIE,
  the tie is quite broken asunder;
Now, utterly crazy, they envy the daisy, and long to be
  one, and no wonder!

"One more unfortunate," mutely importunate, huddled, a

  mass, in a corner,
Miseries harden her — pardon her, pardon her — think
  of the cold when you scorn her!
Just to the left of her, utterly deaf to ver-acity, idle men
  two are,
Begging a farden, as frozen-out gardeners — just as
  much gard'ners as you are!
Letters from editors, dunning from creditors, vile red and
  white intimations,
That rates not a few (made October) are due, and that
  these are the LAST APPLICATIONS.
The cursed collector he bullies like HECTOR, and duns
  in a manner which funny ain't;
How on earth I'm to pay, I'm unable to say, for the rates
  may be made, but the money ain't.
The thinking these things on insanity brings on, my brain
  thoughts of suicide enter,
I almost think I'll run myself on a file, like the man up
  above in the centre!
The poor wretched prisoner (right corner) is in a sad
  state — his thoughts melancholy ones;
His wicked mind wends to his open-air friends — they
  are thieves, but uncommonly jolly ones!
Time, the physician (sure no one could wish an adviser
  with aspect more knowing),
Is earning a fee of old year Sixty-three, who's beginning
  to think about going!
The noisy church-bell is a-ringing his knell — it's a
  delicate favour to do one;
Its JANUS-like tone kills two birds with one stone, for it
  heralds the birth of the new one!
 
*       *       *       *       *       *
He sleeps the long trance — not a ghost of a chance of
  renewal of lease by his lessor;
Il est mort, ce pauvre roi! Shall we sorrow? Pourquoi?
  let us rather cry "Vive his successor!"
Anxious, uncommon I, great Anno Domini, am to know
  what you've in store for me,
What you will pour for me none can explore for me, which
  you'll admit is a bore for me.
The kid (if you pliz, I don't know who he is) takes "steps"
  Sixty-three for to score out,
And I hope that all we who've seen old Sixty-three will be
  here to bow young Sixty-four out!

Archive Home  |  W. S. Gilbert  |   Bab Ballads

Page Created 29 July, 2011