The "Bab" Ballads/Baines Carew, Gentleman

Baines Carew, Gentleman  (1867) 
by W.S. Gilbert
Bab Ballads 103.png


OF all the good attorneys who
Have placed their names upon the roll,
But few could equal Baines Carew
For tenderheartedness and soul.

Whene'er he heard a tale of woe
From client A or client B,
His grief would overcome him so
He'd scarce have strength to take his fee.

It laid him up for many days,
When duty led him to distrain,
And serving writs, although it pays,
Gave him excruciating pain.

He made out costs, distrained for rent,
Foreclosed and sued, with moistened eye—
No bill of costs could represent
The value of such sympathy.
No charges can approximate
The worth of sympathy with woe;—
Although I think I ought to state
He did his best to make them so.

Of all the many clients who
Had mustered round his legal flag,
No single client of the crew
Was half so dear as Captain Bagg.

Now Captain Bagg had bowed him to
A heavy matrimonial yoke—
His wifey had of faults a few—
She never could resist a joke.

Her chaff at first he meekly bore
Till unendurable it grew.
"To stop this persecution sore
I will consult my friend Carew.

"And when Carew's advice I've got
Divorce a mensâ I shall try"
(A legal separation—not
A vinculo conjugii).
"Oh, Baines Carew, my woe I've kept
A secret, hitherto, you know;"—
(And Baines Carew, Esquire, he wept
To hear that Bagg had any woe.)

Bab Ballads 105.png

"My case, indeed, is passing sad,
My wife—whom I considered true—
With brutal conduct drives me mad."
"I am appalled," said Baines Carew.

"What! sound the matrimonial knell
Of worthy people such as these!
Why was I an attorney? Well—
Go on to the sævitia, please."

"Domestic bliss has proved my bane,
A harder case you never heard,
My wife (in other matters sane)
Pretends that I'm a Dicky bird!
"She makes me sing, 'Too whit, too wee!'
And stand upon a rounded stick,
And always introduces me
To every one as 'Pretty Dick'!"
"Oh, dear," said weeping Baines Carew,
This is the direst case I know"—
I'm grieved," said Bagg, "at paining you—
To Cobb and Polterthwaite I'll go—

"To Cobb's cold calculating ear
My gruesome sorrows I'll impart"—
"No; stop," said Baines, "I'll dry my tear,
And steel my sympathetic heart!"

"She makes me perch upon a tree.
Rewarding me with, 'Sweety—nice!'
And threatens to exhibit me
With four or five performing mice."

"Restrain my tears I wish I could."
(Said Baines,) "I don't know what to do"—
Said Captain Bagg, "You're very good."
"Oh, not at all," said Baines Carew.

Bab Ballads 107.png

"She makes me fire a gun," said Bagg;
"And at a preconcerted word,
Climb up a ladder with a flag,
Like any street-performing bird.

"She places sugar in my way—
In public places calls me 'Sweet!'
She gives me groundsel every day
And hard canary seed to eat."

"Oh, woe! oh, sad! oh, dire to tell!"
(Said Baines) "Be good enough to stop."
And senseless on the floor he fell
With unpremeditated flop.

Bab Ballads 108.png

Said Captain Bagg, "Well, really I
Am grieved to think it pains you so.
I thank you for your sympathy;
But, hang it—come—I say, you know!"

But Baines lay flat upon the floor,
Convulsed with sympathetic sob—
The Captain toddled off next door,
And gave the case to Mr. Cobb.