Ballad: A Manager's Perplexities

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4 stars; 1 reviews)

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for the fourteen comic operas (known as the Savoy operas) produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan.

Gilbert also wrote the Bab Ballads, an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings. His creative output included over 75 plays and libretti, numerous stories, poems, lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces. His plays and realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. - Summary by Wikipedia (0 hr 16 min)


The poem below:

(4 stars)

Were I a king in very truth, And had a son - a guileless youth - In probable succession; To teach him patience, teach him tact, How promptly in a fix to act, He should adopt, in point of fact, A manager's profession. To that condition he should stoop (Despite a too fond mother), With eight or ten "stars" in his troupe, All jealous of each other! Oh, the man who can rule a theatrical crew, Each member a genius (and some of them two), And manage to humour them, little and great, Can govern a tuppenny-ha'penny State! Both A and B rehearsal slight - They say they'll be "all right at night" (They've both to go to school yet); C in each act MUST change her dress, D WILL attempt to "square the press"; E won't play Romeo unless His grandmother plays Juliet; F claims all hoydens as her rights (She's played them thirty seasons); And G must show herself in tights For two convincing reasons - Two very well-shaped reasons! Oh, the man who can drive a theatrical team, With wheelers and leaders in order supreme, Can govern and rule, with a wave of his fin, All Europe and Asia - with Ireland thrown in!