Trial by Jury

William Schwenck Gilbert 1836 – 1911



SCENE - A Court of Justice, Barristers, Attorney, and Jurymen


  Hark, the hour of ten is sounding:
  Hearts with anxious fears are bounding,
  Hall of Justice, crowds surrounding,
  Breathing hope and fear--
  For to-day in this arena,
  Summoned by a stern subpoena,
  Edwin, sued by Angelina,
  Shortly will appear.

Enter Usher


  Now, Jurymen, hear my advice--
  All kinds of vulgar prejudice
  I pray you set aside:
  With stern, judicial frame of mind
  From bias free of every kind,
  This trial must be tried.


  From bias free of every kind,
  This trial must be tried.

[During Chorus, Usher sings fortissimo, "Silence in Court!"]

USHER Oh, listen to the plaintiff's case:
  Observe the features of her face--
  The broken-hearted bride.
  Condole with her distress of mind:
  From bias free of every kind,
  This trial must be tried!

CHORUS From bias free, etc.

USHER And when, amid the plaintiff's shrieks,
  The ruffianly defendant speaks--
  Upon the other side;
  What he may say you needn't mind---
  From bias free of every kind,
  This trial must be tried!

CHORUS From bias free, etc.

Enter Defendant


  Is this the court of the Exchequer?
ALL. It is!
DEFENDANT (aside) Be firm, be firm, my pecker,
  Your evil star's in the ascendant!
ALL. Who are you?
DEFENDANT. I'm the Defendant.

  CHORUS OF JURYMEN (shaking their fists)

  Monster, dread our damages.
  We're the jury!
  Dread our fury!

DEFENDANT Hear me, hear me, if you please,
  These are very strange proceedings--
  For permit me to remark
  On the merits of my pleadings,
  You're at present in the dark.

[Defendant beckons to Jurymen--they leave the box and gather around
  him as they sing the following:

  That's a very true remark--
  On the merits of his pleadings
  We're at present in the dark!
  Ha! ha!--ha! ha!


  When first my old, old love I knew,
  My bosom welled with joy;
  My riches at her feet I threw--
  I was a love-sick boy!
  No terms seemed too extravagant
  Upon her to employ--
  I used to mope, and sigh, and pant,
  Just like a love-sick boy!
  Tink-a-tank! Tink-a-tank!

  But joy incessant palls the sense;
  And love, unchanged, will cloy,
  And she became a bore intense
  Unto her love-sick boy!
  With fitful glimmer burnt my flame,
  And I grew cold and coy,
  At last, one morning, I became
  Another's love-sick boy.
  Tink-a-tank! Tink-a-tank!

  CHORUS OF JURYMEN (advancing stealthily)

  Oh, I was like that when a lad!
  A shocking young scamp of a rover,
  I behaved like a regular cad;
  But that sort of thing is all over.
  I'm now a respectable chap
  And shine with a virtue resplendent
  And, therefore, I haven't a scrap
  Of sympathy with the defendant!
  He shall treat us with awe,
  If there isn't a flaw,
  Singing so merrily--Trial-la-law!
  Trial-la-law! Trial-la-law!
  Singing so merrily--Trial-la-law!

  [They enter the Jury-box.]

  RECIT--USHER (on Bench)

  Silence in Court, and all attention lend.
  Behold your Judge! In due submission bend!

Enter Judge on Bench


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Submitted on May 13, 2011


William Schwenck Gilbert

Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist librettist poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan of which the most famous include HMS Pinafore The Pirates of Penzance and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre The Mikado These as well as most of their other Savoy operas continue to be performed regularly throughout the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies repertory companies schools and community theatre groups Lines from these works have become part of the English language such as short sharp shock What never Well hardly ever and Let the punishment fit the crime 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 According to The Cambridge History of English and American Literature Gilberts lyrical facility and his mastery of metre raised the poetical quality of comic opera to a position that it had never reached before and has not reached since Source - Wikipedia more…

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