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What Is A Burlesque?

Belgravia Annual 1868


Pretty princess,
Beautiful dress;
Exquisite eyes,
Wonderful size;
Lots of back hair
Coming to there,
Shoulders so fair,
Marvellous pair!
Dear little dress
(Couldn't be less);
Story confused,
Frequently used;
Sillified pun
Clumsily done.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

 

Wicked old king,
Shocking old thing!
Very big head,
Horribly red;
Given to clout
Nobles about;
Horribly fat,
Poor as a rat,
Shockingly mean;
Bullies his queen,
Wishes her dead;
Crown on his head,
Given to stand
Sceptre in hand.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Baron so rich,
Acting as sich;
Terribly plain,
Painfully vain
(Singular dress);
Loves the princess;
Sends, through the king,
Jewel and ring,
Vowing he burns —
These she returns.
Having been told
Sixty is old
(Meaning his age),
Doesn't engage.

  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Prince whom she loves,
Beautiful gloves,
Clothes very fine,
Glitter and shine,
Exquisite tie,
Glass in his eye,
Highly urbane,
Neat little cane,
Comb in his hair
Sunnily fair,
Beautiful curls,
Form like a girl's —
Figure, I mean,
Looks epicene.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Though he's so trim,
Natty and slim,
No one so brave
Thrashing a knave.
Safe to engage
Vice on the stage;
(This he has heard
Often averred.)
Though for the time
Folly and crime
Seem to excel,
Virtue will quell
Vice in the run
Ere the play's done.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Fairy in white,
Pretty and bright;
Helping the prince,
Bids him evince
Plenty of pluck,
Sure to have luck!
Comes (with the lime)
Always in time;
Just as you fear
Matters look queer,
"Bang!" on the drums
Tells you she comes,
Putting things quite
Tidy and right.

  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Story just here
Seems to appear
(Seen from the pit)
Muddled a bit.
People come in,
Quibbles begin;
People go out,
Rightly, no doubt.
Follow the plot
That I cannot.
"Business" from France,
Singing and dance,
Quibble and pun —
That's how it's done.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Dresses look bright
(Seen in the light);
Music-hall song
Terribly long,
Dreary affair
As you're aware;
Then, for your sins,
Ballet begins:
Girls, rather old,
Terribly bold,
Petticoats thought
Dreadfully short,
Bony old legs
Shapeless as pegs.
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Finishing choir,
Lots of red fire;
Curtain then falls.
Audience calls
All of the "cast";
First and the last,
Crowd on the stage
(Mode of the age);
Boxes and pits
Almost In fits.
Author comes now,
Making his bow.
Very well done,
Safe for a run;
Banish all fear,
Run for a year!
  Dresses grotesque,
Girls statuesque,
Scene picturesque —
That's a burlesque!

Page Created 29 July, 2011