Gilbert & Sullivan - Hail! Men O'War's Men

(Enter little Buttercup, with large basket on her arm.)

Buttercup. (recit.)
Hail, men-o'-war's men — safeguards of your nation
Here is an end, at last, of all privation;
You've got your pay — spare all you can afford
To welcome Little Buttercup on board.

ARIA

I'm called Little Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup — poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!

I've snuff and tobaccy, and excellent jacky,
I've scissors, and watches, and knives;
I've ribbons and laces to set off the faces
Of pretty young sweethearts and wives.

I've treacle and toffee, I've tea and I've coffee,
Soft tommy and succulent chops;
I've chickens and conies, and pretty polonies,
And excellent peppermint drops.

Then buy of your Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup;
Sailors should never be shy;
So, buy of your Buttercup — poor Little Buttercup;
Come, of your Buttercup buy!

DIALOGUE

Boatswain.
Aye, Little Buttercup — and well called — for you're
the rosiest, the roundest, and the reddest beauty in all
Spithead.

Buttercup.
Red, am I? and round — and rosy! Maybe, for I have
dissembled well! But hark ye, my merry friend — hast
ever thought that beneath a gay and frivolous exterior
there may lurk a canker-worm which is slowly but surely
eating its way into one's very heart?

Boatswain.
No, my lass, I can't say I've ever thought that.


(Enter Dick Deadeye. He pushes through sailors, and comes down.)

Dick.
I have thought it often. (All recoil from him.)

Buttercup. Yes, you look like it! What's the matter with the
man? Isn't he well?

Boatswain.
Don't take no heed of him; that's only poor Dick Deadeye.

Dick.
I say — it's a beast of a name, ain't it — Dick Deadeye?

Buttercup.
It's not a nice name.

Dick.
I'm ugly too, ain't I?

Buttercup.
You are certainly plain.

Dick.
And I'm three-cornered too, ain't I?

Buttercup.
You are rather triangular.

Dick.
Ha! ha! That's it. I'm ugly, and they hate me for it;
for you all hate me, don't you?

All.
We do!

Dick.
There!

Boatswain.
Well, Dick, we wouldn't go for to hurt any fellow-creature's
feelings, but you can't expect a chap with such a name as
Dick Deadeye to be a popular character — now can you?

Dick.
No.

Boatswain.
It's asking too much, ain't it?

Dick.
It is. From such a face and form as mine the noblest sentiments
sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination. It is
human nature — I am resigned.

Buttercup. (recit.)
But, tell me — who's the youth whose faltering feet
With difficulty bear him on his course?

Boatswain. (recit.)
That is the smartest lad in all the fleet —
Ralph Rackstraw!

Buttercup. (recit.)
Ralph! That name! Remorse! remorse!

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