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English Poetry. William Schwenck Gilbert. Songs of a Savoyard. The Modern Major-General. Уильям Швенк Гильберт.






William Schwenck Gilbert (Уильям Швенк Гильберт)

Songs of a Savoyard. The Modern Major-General

I am the very pattern of a modern Major-Gineral,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral;
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical,
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical;
About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With interesting facts about the square of the hypotenuse,
I’m very good at integral and differential calculus,
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous.
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-Gineral.

I know our mythic history—King Arthur’s and Sir Caradoc’s,
I answer hard acrostics, I’ve a pretty taste for paradox;
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous.
I tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
I know the croaking chorus from the “Frogs” of Aristophanes;
Then I can hum a fugue, of which I’ve heard the music’s din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that confounded nonsense “Pinafore.”
Then I can write a washing-bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you every detail of Caractacus’s uniform.
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-Gineral.

In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin,”
When I can tell at sight a Chassepôt rifle from a javelin,
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I’m more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by Commissariat,
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery,
In short, when I’ve a smattering of elementary strategy,
You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee—
For my military knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century.
But still in learning vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-Gineral!

William Schwenck Gilbert’s other poems:

  1. The Bab Ballads. The Phantom Curate
  2. The Bab Ballads. The Sensation Captain
  3. The Bab Ballads. Gentle Alice Brown
  4. The Bab Ballads. Lorenzo de Lardy
  5. The Bab Ballads. The Yarn of the “Nancy Bell”




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