Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
The Judge’s Song (from Trial by Jury)
By William Schwenck Gilbert (1836–1911)
WHEN I, good friends, was called to the Bar,
  I’d an appetite fresh and hearty,
But I was, as many young barristers are,
  An impecunious party.
I’d a swallow-tail coat of a beautiful blue—        5
  A brief which was brought by a booby—
A couple of shirts and a collar or two,
  And a ring that looked like a ruby!
In Westminster Hall I danced a dance,
  Like a semi-despondent fury;        10
For I thought I should never hit on a chance
  Of addressing a British Jury—
But I soon got tired of third-class journeys,
  And dinners of bread and water;
So I fell in love with a rich attorney’s        15
  Elderly, ugly daughter.
The rich attorney, he wiped his eyes,
  And replied to my fond professions:
“You shall reap the reward of your enterprise,
  At the Bailey and Middlesex Sessions.        20
You’ll soon get used to her looks,” said he,
  “And a very nice girl you’ll find her—
She may very well pass for forty-three
  In the dusk, with a light behind her!”
The rich attorney was as good as his word:        25
  The briefs came trooping gaily,
And every day my voice was heard
  At the Sessions or Ancient Bailey.
All thieves who could my fees afford
  Relied on my orations,        30
And many a burglar I’ve restored
  To his friends and his relations.
At length I became as rich as the GURNEYS
  An incubus then I thought her,
So I threw over that rich attorney’s        35
  Elderly, ugly daughter.
The rich attorney my character high
  Tried vainly to disparage—
And now, if you please, I’m ready to try
  This Breach of Promise of Marriage!        40

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