Here you will find the Long Poem The Periwinkle Girl of poet William Schwenck Gilbert
I've often thought that headstrong youths Of decent education, Determine all-important truths, With strange precipitation. The ever-ready victims they, Of logical illusions, And in a self-assertive way They jump at strange conclusions. Now take my case: Ere sorrow could My ample forehead wrinkle, I had determined that I should Not care to be a winkle. "A winkle," I would oft advance With readiness provoking, "Can seldom flirt, and never dance, Or soothe his mind by smoking." In short, I spurned the shelly joy, And spoke with strange decision - Men pointed to me as a boy Who held them in derision. But I was young - too young, by far - Or I had been more wary, I knew not then that winkles are The stock-in-trade of MARY. I had not watched her sunlight blithe As o'er their shells it dances - I've seen those winkles almost writhe Beneath her beaming glances. Of slighting all the winkly brood I surely had been chary, If I had known they formed the food And stock-in-trade of MARY. Both high and low and great and small Fell prostrate at her tootsies, They all were noblemen, and all Had balances at COUTTS'S. Dukes with the lovely maiden dealt, DUKE BAILEY and DUKE HUMPHY, Who ate her winkles till they felt Exceedingly uncomfy. DUKE BAILEY greatest wealth computes, And sticks, they say, at no-thing, He wears a pair of golden boots And silver underclothing. DUKE HUMPHY, as I understand, Though mentally acuter, His boots are only silver, and His underclothing pewter. A third adorer had the girl, A man of lowly station - A miserable grov'ling Earl Besought her approbation. This humble cad she did refuse With much contempt and loathing, He wore a pair of leather shoes And cambric underclothing! "Ha! ha!" she cried. "Upon my word! Well, really - come, I never! Oh, go along, it's too absurd! My goodness! Did you ever? "Two Dukes would Mary make a bride, And from her foes defend her" - "Well, not exactly that," they cried, "We offer guilty splendour. "We do not offer marriage rite, So please dismiss the notion!" "Oh dear," said she, "that alters quite The state of my emotion." The Earl he up and says, says he, "Dismiss them to their orgies, For I am game to marry thee Quite reg'lar at St. George's." (He'd had, it happily befell, A decent education, His views would have befitted well A far superior station.) His sterling worth had worked a cure, She never heard him grumble; She saw his soul was good and pure, Although his rank was humble. Her views of earldoms and their lot, All underwent expansion - Come, Virtue in an earldom's cot! Go, Vice in ducal mansion!