Monday, 22 October 2012

When You're Lying Awake

When life gets too much, and you can't sleep because of all the doom and gloom flying around the internet - try learning this song. It should be sung, or read aloud, very fast - until the very last line. Worth a try.

When You’re Lying Awake

From Iolanthe
Libretto by William S. Gilbert, Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Sung by Lord Chancellor

When you’re lying awake
With a dismal headache,
And repose is taboo’d by anxiety,
You conceive you may use
Any language you choose
To indulge in, without impropriety;

For your brain is on fire—
And the bedclothes conspire
Of your usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counterpane goes,
And uncovers your toes,
And your sheet slips demurely from under you;

Then the blanketing tickles—
You feel like mixed pickles—
So terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you’re hot, and you’re cross,
And you tumble and toss
Till there’s nothing ’twixt you and the ticking.

Then the bedclothes all creep
To the ground in a heap,
And you pick ’em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns
And politely declines
To remain at its usual angle!

Well, you get some repose
In the form of a doze,
With hot eye-balls and head ever aching.
But your slumbering teems
With such horrible dreams
That you’d very much better be waking;

For you dream you are crossing
The Channel, and tossing
About in a steamer from Harwich—
Which is something between
A large bathing machine
And a very small second-class carriage—

And you’re giving a treat
(Penny ice and cold meat)
To a party of friends and relations—
They’re a ravenous horde—
And they all came on board
At Sloane Square and South Kensington Stations.

And bound on that journey
You find your attorney
(Who started that morning from Devon);
He’s a bit undersized,
And you don’t feel surprised
When he tells you he’s only eleven.

Well, you’re driving like mad
With this singular lad
(By the by, the ship’s now a four-wheeler),
And you’re playing round games,
And he calls you bad names
When you tell him that “ties pay the dealer”;

But this you can’t stand,
So you throw up your hand,
And you find you’re as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks
(The black silk with gold clocks),
Crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle:

And he and the crew
Are on bicycles too—
Which they’ve somehow or other invested in—
And he’s telling the tars
All the particulars
Of a company he’s interested in—

It’s a scheme of devices,
To get at low prices
All goods from cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors),
By treating retailers
As though they were all vegetables—

You get a good spadesman
To plant a small tradesman
(First take off his boots with a boot-tree),
And his legs will take root,
And his fingers will shoot,
And they’ll blossom and bud like a fruit-tree—

From the greengrocer tree
You get grapes and green pea,
Cauliflower, pineapple, and cranberries,
While the pastrycook plant
Cherry brandy will grant,
Apple puffs, and three corners, and Banburys—

The shares are a penny,
And ever so many
Are taken by Rothschild and Baring,
And just as a few
Are allotted to you,
You awake with a shudder despairing—

You’re a regular wreck, with a crick in your neck, and no wonder you snore, for your head’s on the floor, and you’ve needles and pins from your soles to your shins, and your flesh is a-creep, for your left leg’s asleep, and you’ve cramp in your toes, and a fly on your nose, and some fluff in your lung, and a feverish tongue, and a thirst that’s intense, and a general sense that you haven’t been sleeping in clover;

But the darkness has passed, and it’s daylight at last, and the night has been long—ditto ditto my song—and thank goodness they’re both of them over!


No comments:

Post a Comment