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Opening lines of some classic G&S patter songs

October 25, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — How some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known patter songs begin:

From “The Sorcerer”

Oh, my name is John Wellington Wells

I’m a dealer in magic and spells

In blessings and curses

And ever-filled purses

In prophecies, witches, and knells.

From “H.M.S. Pinafore”

When I was a lad I served a term

As office boy to an Attorney’s firm.

I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,

And I polished up the handle of the big front door.

I polished up that handle so carefullee

That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

From “The Pirates of Penzance”

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

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.

From “Iolanthe”

When you’re lying awake with a dismal headache

And repose is taboo’d by anxiety

I conceive you may use any language

You choose to indulge in, without impropriety ...

From “The Mikado”

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,

I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list

Of society offenders who might well be underground,

And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

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