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Gilbert & Sullivan - Things Are Seldom What They Seem Lyrics

Song details
TitleThings Are Seldom What They Seem
ArtistGilbert & Sullivan
AlbumHMS Pinafore [1999], Track 18
Rank6,780 (−1,496) history »
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Song lyrics
Things are seldom what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream;
Highlows pass as patent leathers;
Jackdaws strut in peacock's feathers.

Captain. (puzzled)
Very true,
So they do.

Black sheep dwell in every fold;
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.

Captain. (puzzled)
So they be,

Drops the wind and stops the mill;
Turbot is ambitious brill;
Gild the farthing if you will,
Yet it is a farthing still.

Captain. (puzzled)
Yes, I know.
That is so.
Though to catch your drift I'm striving,
It is shady — it is shady;
I don't see at what you're driving,
Mystic lady — mystic lady.

Both. (aside)
Stern conviction's o'er me/him stealing,
That the mystic lady's dealing
In oracular revealing.

Yes, I know —

That is so!

Though I'm anything but clever,
I could talk like that for ever:
Once a cat was killed by care,
Only brave deserve the fair.

Very true,
So they do.

Wink is often good as nod;
Spoils the child who spares the rod;
Thirsty lambs run foxy dangers;
Dogs are found in many mangers.

I agree.

Paw of cat the chestnut snatches;
Worn-out garments show new patches;
Only count the chick that hatches;
Men are grown-up catchy-catchies.

Yes, I know,
That is so.
(aside)Though to catch my drift he's striving,
I'll dissemble — I'll dissemble;
When he sees at what I'm driving,
Let him tremble — let him tremble!

Tho' a mystic tone I/you borrow,
He will/I shall learn the truth with sorrow;
Here today and gone tomorrow.

Yes, I know.

That is so!

(Exit Little Buttercup.)


Incomprehensible as her utterances are, I nevertheless feel
that they are dictated by a sincere regard for me. But to what
new misery is she referring? Time alone can tell!

(Enter Sir Joseph.)

Sir Joseph.
Captain Corcoran, I am much disappointed with your daughter.
In fact, I don't think she will do.

She won't do, Sir Joseph!

Sir Joseph.
I'm afraid not. The fact is, that although I have urged my suit
with as much eloquence as is consistent with an official utterance,
I have done so hitherto without success. How do you account for this?

Really, Sir Joseph, I hardly know. Josephine is of course sensible of
your condescension.

Sir Joseph.
She naturally would be.

But perhaps your exalted rank dazzles her.

Sir Joseph.
You think it does?

I can hardly say; but she is a modest girl, and her social position
is far below your own. It may be that she feels she is not worthy of you.

Sir Joseph.
That is really a very sensible suggestion, and displays more knowledge
of human nature than I had given you credit for.

See, she comes. If your lordship would kindly reason with her and
assure her officially that it is a standing rule at the Admiralty that
love levels all ranks, her respect for an official utterance might
induce her to look upon your offer in its proper light.

Sir Joseph.
It is not unlikely. I will adopt your suggestion. But soft, she is here.
Let us withdraw, and watch our opportunity.
submitted on August 7th, 2005

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