Thursday 1 December 2022

"Your expression gets warped and destroyed": Or, why Establishment cultists reveal their badness in their faces

From 2:40 onwards

Sir Despard Muratroyd and The Chorus 
From Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan

Oh, why am I moody and sad? 
Can't guess! 
And why am I guiltily mad? 
Because I am thoroughly bad! 
Oh yes – 
You'll see it at once in my face. 
Oh, why am I husky and hoarse? 
Ah, why? 
It's the workings of conscience, of course. 
Fie, fie! 
And huskiness stands for remorse, 
Oh my! 
At least it does so in my case! 

When in crime one is fully employed– 
Like you – 
Your expression gets warped and destroyed: 
It do. 
It's a penalty none can avoid; 
How true! 
I once was a nice-looking youth; 
But like stone from a strong catapult - 
A trice – 
I rushed at my terrible cult – 
That's vice 
Observe the unpleasant result! 
Not nice. 
Indeed I am telling the truth! 

Oh, innocent, happy though poor! 
That's we – 
If I had been virtuous, I'm sure – 
Like me – 
I should be as nice-looking as you're! 
May be... 
You are very nice-looking indeed! 
Oh, innocents, listen in time – 
We do, 
Avoid an existence of crime – 
Just so– 
Or you'll be as ugly as I'm– 
No! No! 
And now, if you please, we'll proceed...

Comment: Aside from the wise moral teaching (concealed in the parody of Victorian melodrama) - more relevant now than ever; this song is a superb example of Gilberts cleverness and wit in the interaction between soloist and chorus. And Sullivan's music gives me goose pimples when the third verse moves into a soaring melody. 

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