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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

There lived a King



DON AL. There lived a King, as I've been told,
  In the wonder-working days of old,
  When hearts were twice as good as gold,
   And twenty times as mellow.
  Good-temper triumphed in his face,
  And in his heart he found a place
  For all the erring human race
   And every wretched fellow.
  When he had Rhenish wine to drink
  It made him very sad to think
  That some, at junket or at jink,
   Must be content with toddy.

MAR. and GIU. With toddy, must be content with toddy.

DON AL. He wished all men as rich as he
  (And he was rich as rich could be),
  So to the top of every tree
   Promoted everybody.

MAR. and GIU. Now, that's the kind of King for me.
  He wished all men as rich as he,
  So to the top of every tree
   Promoted everybody!

DON AL. Lord Chancellors were cheap as sprats,
  And Bishops in their shovel hats
  Were plentiful as tabby cats--
   In point of fact, too many.
  Ambassadors cropped up like hay,
  Prime Ministers and such as they
  Grew like asparagus in May,
   And Dukes were three a penny.
  On every side Field-Marshals gleamed,
  Small beer were Lords-Lieutenant deemed,
  With Admirals the ocean teemed
   All round his wide dominions.

MAR. and GIU. With Admirals all round his wide dominions.

DON AL. And Party Leaders you might meet
  In twos and threes in every street
  Maintaining, with no little heat,
   Their various opinions.

MAR. and GIU. Now that's a sight you couldn't beat--
  Two Party Leaders in each street
  Maintaining, with no little heat,
   Their various opinions.

DON AL. That King, although no one denies
  His heart was of abnormal size,
  Yet he'd have acted otherwise
   If he had been acuter.
  The end is easily foretold,
  When every blessed thing you hold
  Is made of silver, or of gold,
   You long for simple pewter.
  When you have nothing else to wear
  But cloth of gold and satins rare,
  For cloth of gold you cease to care--
   Up goes the price of shoddy.

MAR. and GIU. Of shoddy, up goes the price of shoddy.

DON AL. In short, whoever you may be,
  To this conclusion you'll agree,
  When every one is somebodee,
   Then no one's anybody!

MAR. and GIU. Now that's as plain as plain can be,
  To this conclusion we agree--

ALL.  When every one is somebodee,
   Then no one's anybody!

From: The Gondoliers / Gilbert and Sullivan


This is usually quoted as:

"When every one is somebody, Then no one's anybody!"

See also:

Balderdash: Against Equality Again
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