Arab Futsal Championship

William Schwenck Gilbert (18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911) was an English dramatist and librettist best known for his operatic collaborations with the composer Arthur Sullivan.


  • A popular speaker, however unpopular and insignificant, has only to wind up his speech with half-a-dozen lines of Shakespeare (and to make it clearly understood that they are Shakespeare's) and he will sit down amid thunders of applause.
    • "Unappreciated Shakespeare", Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Christmas Number, 9 December 1882

Trial by Jury (1875)

  • She may very well pass for forty three
    In the dusk with the light behind her.

  • But I submit, my lord, with all submission,
    To marry two at once is Burglaree!

The Sorcerer (1877)

  • Oh! my name is John Wellington Wells,
    I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
    In blessings and curses
    And ever-filled purses,
    In prophecies, witches, and knells.

    If you want a proud foe to "make tracks"--
    If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax--
    You've but to look in
    On our resident Djinn,
    Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

Mr Wells' song, Act I

"Simmery Axe" is the traditional pronunciation of "St. Mary Axe", a road in the City of London.
In Gilbert's day, the last building was number 68, though number 70 was built later.

  • Either you or I must yield up his life to Ahrimanes. I would rather it were you.

H.M.S. Pinafore (1878)

  • From such a face and form as mine, the noblest sentiments sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination!
    It's human nature! I'm resigned.
  • What, never? / No, never! / What, never? / Well, hardly ever!
  • Things are seldom what they seem;
    Skim milk masquerades as cream.

The Pirates of Penzance (1879)

  • When your process of extermination begins, let our deaths be as swift and painless as you can conveniently make them.

  • Against our wills, papa—against our wills!

  • Yes, but you don't go!

Patience (1881)

  • Art stopped short at the cultivated court of the Empress Josephine.

  • An attachment à la Plato for a bashful young potato, or a not-too-French French bean!

  • Yes, I am the Apostle of Simplicity. I am called Archibald the All-Right, for I am infallible.

  • Archibald: To understand this, it is not necessary to think of anything at all.
    Saphir: Let us think of nothing at all!

  • I know what love is. There was a happy time when I didn't, but bitter experience has taught me.

  • A pallid and thin young man,
    A haggard and lank young man,
    A greenery-yallery, Grosvenor Gallery,
    Foot-in-the-grave young man!

Iolanthe (1882)

  • The Law is the true embodiment
    Of everything that’s excellent.
    It has no kind of fault or flaw,
    And I, my Lords, embody the Law.

  • The House of Peers, thoughout the war
    Did nothing in particular
    And did it very well.

Princess Ida (1884)

  • I can tell a woman's age in half a minute -- and I do!

  • ...a Man, however well-behav’d,
    At best is only a monkey shav’d!

The Mikado (1885)

  • I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can’t help it. I was born sneering.

  • …in the first place, self decapitation is an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt; and, in the second, it’s suicide, and suicide is a capital offence.

  • Pooh Bah: This professional conscientiousness is highly creditable to you, but it places us in a very awkward position.
    Koko: Your position is grace itself compared to that of a man in the act of chopping off his own head!

  • To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
    In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
    Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

  • (Koko is negotiating the terms by which he can behead Nanki-Poo in his place, and they involve letting the latter be married to his fiance until he is executed)
Koko: But my position during the next month will be most unpleasant, most unpleasant!
Nanki-Poo: Not nearly so unpleasant as mine at the end of it.

  • I have a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness. People come miles to see it. My right elbow has a fascination that few can resist.

  • Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

  • It's an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical productions.

  • The idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
    All centuries but this and every country but his own.

  • If someday it should happen that a victim must be found
    I've got a little list, I've got a little list
    Of society offenders who might well be underground,
    Who never would be missed - who never would be missed!

The Gondoliers (1889)

  • I should have preferred to ride through the streets of Venice; but owing, I presume, to an unusually wet season,
    the streets are in such a condition that equestrian exercise is impractical.

  • In enterprise of martial kind,
    When there was any fighting,
    He led his regiment from behind—
    He found it less exciting.

  • Of that there is no manner of doubt -
    No probable, possible shadow of doubt -
    No possible doubt whatever.

  • Oh, philosophers may sing
    Of the troubles of a King,
    But of pleasures there are many and of worries there are none;
    And the culminating pleasure
    That we treasure beyond measure
    Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done.

  • When everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody.

Utopia Limited (1893)

  • Great Britain is that monarchy sublime,
    To which some add (but others do not) Ireland.
Final chorus, concluding lines


  • Humour is a drug which it's the fashion to abuse.

  • I suppose he expected to see me kissing all the carpenters
    • Comment on a (possibly apocryphal) conversation between Gilbert and a French designer during the first night of Princess Ida

  • No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have--and I think he is a dirty little beast.

  • Take my daughters, most of whom are beauties
    • Modified libretto for the finale of Act II of The Pirates of Penzance in response to his not choosing the female chorus for a revival

  • Beautiful Mabel, I'd sing if I could but I am not able!
    • Shouted from the stalls during rehearsals for The Pirates of Penzance when the actor playing Frederic was not present

  • (During the period after the debut of Ruddigore, which was far less successful at the box office than its predecessor The Mikado)
Gentleman: How is Bloodygore doing?
Gilbert: The title is Ruddigore.
Gentleman: Surely that's the same thing.
Gilbert: Then it is the same to say "I admire your ruddy countenance" -- which I do -- as "I like your bloody cheek" -- which I don't.
Quoternity © 2020. All rights reserved.