To My Bride (Whoever She May Be)

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Oh! little maid! - (I do not know your name
Or who you are, so, as a safe precaution
I'll add) - Oh, buxom widow! married dame!
(As one of these must be your present portion)
Listen, while I unveil prophetic lore for you,
And sing the fate that Fortune has in store for you.

You'll marry soon - within a year or twain -
A bachelor of CIRCA two and thirty:
Tall, gentlemanly, but extremely plain,
And when you're intimate, you'll call him "BERTIE."
Neat - dresses well; his temper has been classified
As hasty; but he's very quickly pacified.

You'll find him working mildly at the Bar,
After a touch at two or three professions,
From easy affluence extremely far,
A brief or two on Circuit - "soup" at Sessions;
A pound or two from whist and backing horses,
And, say three hundred from his own resources.

Quiet in harness; free from serious vice,
His faults are not particularly shady,
You'll never find him "SHY" - for, once or twice
Already, he's been driven by a lady,
Who parts with him - perhaps a poor excuse for him -
Because she hasn't any further use for him.

Oh! bride of mine - tall, dumpy, dark, or fair!
Oh! widow - wife, maybe, or blushing maiden,
I've told YOUR fortune; solved the gravest care
With which your mind has hitherto been laden.
I've prophesied correctly, never doubt it;
Now tell me mine - and please be quick about it!

You - only you - can tell me, an' you will,
To whom I'm destined shortly to be mated,
Will she run up a heavy MODISTE'S bill?
If so, I want to hear her income stated
(This is a point which interests me greatly).
To quote the bard, "Oh! have I seen her lately?"

Say, must I wait till husband number one
Is comfortably stowed away at Woking?
How is her hair most usually done?
And tell me, please, will she object to smoking?
The colour of her eyes, too, you may mention:
Come, Sibyl, prophesy - I'm all attention.

© William Schwenck Gilbert