When I Was a Lad

by Gilbert & Sullivan

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

As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk.
I served all the writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand —
I copied all the letters in a hand so free
That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

In serving writs I made such a name
That an articled clerk I soon became;
I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
For the pass examination at the Institute.
And that pass examination did so well for me,
That now I am the ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership.
And that junior partnership, I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen.
But that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament.
I always voted at my party’s call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen’s Navee!

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree,
If your soul isn’t fettered to an office stool,
Be careful to be guided by this Golden Rule —
Stick close to your desks and never go to see,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen’s Navee!

[Suggested by Timothy Lane] __________________________________________________
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One Response to When I Was a Lad

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I suggested this because the Honourable Joseph Porter impresses me (to paraphrase another famous G&S song) as the very model of a modern Democrat — unqualified for his office and unthinkingly obedient to the Party.

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