第39章 Ballad:THE HAUGHTY ACTOR
AN actor GIBBS,of Drury Lane
Of very decent station,Once happened in a part to gain Excessive approbation:
It sometimes turns a fellow's brain And makes him singularly vain When he believes that he receives Tremendous approbation.
His great success half drove him mad,But no one seemed to mind him;Well,in another piece he had Another part assigned him.
This part was smaller,by a bit,Than that in which he made a hit.
So,much illused,he straight refused To play the part assigned him.
THAT NIGHT THAT ACTOR SLEPT,AND I'LL ATTEMPTTO TELL YOU OF THE VIVID DREAM HE DREAMT.
In fighting with a robber band (A thing he loved sincerely)A sword struck GIBBS upon the hand,And wounded it severely.
At first he didn't heed it much,He thought it was a simple touch,But soon he found the weapon's bound Had wounded him severely.
To Surgeon COBB he made a trip,Who'd just effected featly An amputation at the hip Particularly neatly.
A rising man was Surgeon COBB
But this extremely ticklish job He had achieved (as he believed)Particularly neatly.
The actor rang the surgeon's bell.
"Observe my wounded finger,Be good enough to strap it well,And prithee do not linger.
That I,dear sir,may fill again The Theatre Royal Drury Lane:
This very night I have to fight
So prithee do not linger."
"I don't strap fingers up for doles,"
Replied the haughty surgeon;
"To use your cant,I don't play ROLES
Utility that verge on.
First amputation nothing less
That is my line of business:
We surgeon nobs despise all jobs Utility that verge on "When in your hip there lurks disease"
(So dreamt this lively dreamer),"Or devastating CARIESIn HUMERUS or FEMUR,If you can pay a handsome fee,Oh,then you may remember me With joy elate I'll amputate Your HUMERUS or FEMUR."
The disconcerted actor ceased The haughty leech to pester,But when the wound in size increased,And then began to fester,He sought a learned Counsel's lair,And told that Counsel,then and there,How COBB'S neglect of his defect Had made his finger fester.
"Oh,bring my action,if you please,The case I pray you urge on,And win me thumping damages From COBB,that haughty surgeon.
He culpably neglected me Although I proffered him his fee,So pray come down,in wig and gown,On COBB,that haughty surgeon!"
That Counsel learned in the laws,With passion almost trembled.
He just had gained a mighty cause Before the Peers assembled!
Said he,"How dare you have the face To come with Common Jury case To one who wings rhetoric flings Before the Peers assembled?"
Dispirited became our friend
Depressed his moral pecker
"But stay!a thought!I'll gain my end,And save my poor exchequer.
I won't be placed upon the shelf,I'll take it into Court myself,And legal lore display before The Court of the Exchequer."
He found a Baron one of those Who with our laws supply us In wig and silken gown and hose,As if at NISI PRIUS.
But he'd just given,off the reel,A famous judgment on Appeal:
It scarce became his heightened fame To sit at NISI PRIUS.
Our friend began,with easy wit,That half concealed his terror:
"Pooh!"said the Judge,"I only sit In BANCO or in Error.
Can you suppose,my man,that I'd O'er NISI PRIUS Courts preside,Or condescend my time to spend On anything but Error?"
"Too bad,"said GIBBS,"my case to shirk!
You must be bad innately,To save your skill for mighty work Because it's valued greatly!"
But here he woke,with sudden start.
He wrote to say he'd play the part.
I've but to tell he played it well
The author's words his native wit Combined,achieved a perfect "hit"The papers praised him greatly.
W. S. Gilbert