Trial by Jury


Writers: W.S. Gilbert Arthur Sullivan

Dramatis Personæ

The Learned Judge

The Counsel for the Plaintiff

The Defendant

Foreman of the Jury


The Plaintiff


Gentlemen of the Jury

Act I

Scene. -- A Court of Justice.

Barristers, Attorneys, Jurymen and Public discovered.


Hark, the hour of ten is sounding;

Hearts with anxious fears are bounding,

Hall of Justice crowds surrounding,

Breathing hope and fear --

For to-day in this arena,

Summoned by a stern subpœna,

Edwin, sued by Angelina,

Shortly will appear.

Enter Usher.

SOLO -- Usher.

Now, Jurymen, hear my advice --

All kinds of vulgar prejudice

I pray you set aside:

With stern judicial frame of mind

From bias free of every kind,

This trial must be tried.


From bias free of every kind,

This trial must be tried.

During Choruses, Usher sings fortissimo, 'Silence in Court!'


Oh, listen to the plaintiff's case:

Observe the features of her face --

The broken-hearted bride.

Condole with her distress of mind:

From bias free of every kind,

This trial must be tried!


From bias free, etc.


And when amid the plaintiff's shrieks,

The ruffianly defendant speaks --

Upon the other side;

What he may say you needn't mind --

From bias free of every kind,

This trial must be tried!


From bias free, etc.

Enter Defendant.

RECITATIVE -- Defendant.

Is this the Court of the Exchequer?


It is!

Defendant (aside).

Be firm, be firm, my pecker,

Your evil star's in the ascendant!


Who are you?


I'm the Defendant!

Chorus of Jurymen (shaking their fists).

Monster, dread our damages.

We're the Jury,

Dread our fury!


Hear me, hear me, if you please,

These are very strange proceedings --

For permit me to remark

On the merits of my pleadings,

You're at present in the dark.

Defendant beckons to Jurymen -- they leave the box
and gather round him as they sing the following

That's a very true remark --

On the merits of his pleadings

We're entirely in the dark!

Ha! ha! Ho! ho!

Ha! ha! Ho! ho!

SONG -- Defendant.

When first my old, old love I knew,

My bosom welled with joy;

My riches at her feet I threw --

I was a love-sick boy!

No terms seemed too extravagant

Upon her to employ --

I used to mope, and sigh, and pant,

Just like a love-sick boy!

Tink-a-Tank -- Tink-a-Tank.

But joy incessant palls the sense;

And love, unchanged, will cloy,

And she became a bore intense

Unto her love-sick boy!

With fitful glimmer burnt my flame,

And I grew cold and coy,

At last, one morning, I became

Another's love-sick boy.

Tink-a-Tank -- Tink-a-Tank.

Chorus of Jurymen (advancing stealthily).

Oh, I was like that when a lad!

A shocking young scamp of a rover,

I behaved like a regular cad;

But that sort of thing is all over.

I am now a respectable chap

And shine with a virtue resplendent,

And, therefore, I haven't a scrap

Of sympathy with the defendant!

He shall treat us with awe,

If there isn't a flaw,

Singing so merrily -- Trial-la-law!

Trial-la-law -- Trial-la-law!

Singing so merrily -- Trial-la-law!

(They enter the Jury-box.)

RECITATIVE -- Usher (on Bench).

Silence in Court!

Silence in Court, and all attention lend.

Behold your Judge! In due submission bend!

Enter Judge on Bench.


All hail, great Judge!

To your bright rays

We never grudge

Ecstatic praise.

All hail!

May each decree

As statute rank

And never be

Reversed in banc.

All hail!


For these kind words accept my thanks, I pray.

A Breach of Promise we've to try to-day.

But firstly, if the time you'll not begrudge,

I'll tell you how I came to be a Judge.


He'll tell us how he came to be a Judge!


Let me speak!


Let him speak.


Let me speak!


Yes, let him speak, etc.
Hush! hush! He speaks.

SONG --- Judge.

When I, good friends, was called to the bar,

I'd an appetite fresh and hearty,

But I was, as many young barristers are,

An impecunious party.

I'd a swallow-tail coat of a beautiful blue --

A brief which I bought of a booby --

A couple of shirts and a collar or two,

And a ring that looked like a ruby!


He'd a couple of shirts, etc.


In Westminster Hall I danced a dance,

Like a semi-despondent fury;

For I thought I never should hit on a chance

Of addressing a British jury --

But I soon got tired of third-class journeys,

And dinners of bread and water;

So I fell in love with a rich attorney's

Elderly, ugly daughter.


So he fell in love, etc.


The rich attorney, he jumped with joy,

And replied to my fond professions:

"You shall reap the reward of your pluck, my boy,

"At the Bailey and Middlesex Sessions.

"You'll soon get used to her looks," said he,

"And a very nice girl you'll find her!

"She may very well pass for forty-three

In the dusk, with a light behind her!"


"She may very well", etc.


The rich attorney was good as his word;

The briefs came trooping gaily,

And every day my voice was heard

At the Sessions or Ancient Bailey.

All thieves who could my fees afford

Relied on my orations,

And many a burglar I've restored

To his friends and his relations.


And many a burglar, etc.


At length I became as rich as the Gurneys --

An incubus then I thought her,

So I threw over that rich attorney's

Elderly, ugly daughter.

The rich attorney my character high

Tried vainly to disparage -

And now, if you please, I'm ready to try

This Breach of Promise of Marriage!


And now if you please, etc.


For now I'm a Judge!


And a good Judge too!


Yes, now I'm a Judge!


And a good Judge too!


Though all my law be fudge,

Yet I'll never, never budge,

But I'll live and die a Judge!


And a good Judge too!

Judge (pianissimo).

It was managed by a job --


And a good job too!


It was managed by a job!


And a good job too!


It is patent to the mob,

That my being made a nob

Was effected by a job.


And a good job too!

Enter Counsel for Plaintiff. He takes his place in front row of Counsel's seats.

RECITATIVE -- Counsel.

Swear thou the Jury!


Kneel, Jurymen, oh, kneel!

All the Jury kneel in the Jury-box, and so are hidden from audience.


Oh, will you swear by yonder skies,

Whatever question may arise,

'Twixt rich and poor, 'twixt low and high,

That you will well and truly try?

Jury (raising their hands, which alone are visible).

To all of this we make reply,

To all of this we make reply,

By the dull slate of yonder sky:

That we will well and truly try.

(All rise with the last note.)

Def., Coun., Judge and Usher. Jury

They will well and truly try! We'll try!

RECITATIVE -- Counsel.

Where is the Plaintiff?

Let her now be brought.


Oh, Angelina! Come thou into Court!

Angelina! Angelina!!

Enter the Bridesmaids.

Chorus of Bridesmaids.

Comes the broken flower --

Comes the cheated maid --

Though the tempest lower,

Rain and cloud will fade!

Take, O maid, these posies:

Though thy beauty rare

Shame the blushing roses,

They are passing fair!

Wear the flowers till they fade;

Happy be thy life, oh maid!

The Judge, having taken a great fancy to First Bridesmaid, sends her a note by Usher, which she reads, kisses rapturously, and places in her bosom.

Enter Plaintiff.

SOLO -- Plaintiff.

O'er the season vernal,

Time may cast a shade;

Sunshine, if eternal,

Makes the roses fade!

Time may do his duty;

Let the thief alone --

Winter hath a beauty,

That is all his own.

Fairest days are sun and shade:

I am no unhappy maid!

The Judge having by this time transferred his admiration to Plaintiff, directs Usher to take the note from First Bridesmaid and hand it to Plaintiff, who reads it, kisses it rapturously, and places it in her bosom.

Chorus of Bridesmaids.

Wear the flowers, etc.


Oh, never, never, never, since I joined the human race,

Saw I so exquisitely fair a face.

The Jury (shaking their forefingers at him).

Ah, sly dog! Ah, sly dog!

Judge (to Jury).

How say you? Is she not designed for capture?

Foreman (after consulting with the Jury).

We've but one word, my lord, and that is -- Rapture!

Plaintiff (curtseying).

Your kindness, gentlemen, quite overpowers!


We love you fondly, and would make you ours!

The Bridesmaids (shaking their forefingers at Jury).

Ah, sly dogs! Ah, sly dogs!


We love you fondly, and would make you ours!

(Shaking their fists at the Defendant.)

Monster! Monster! dread our fury!

There's the Judge and we're the Jury,

Come, substantial damages!

Substantial damages!


Dam --


Silence in Court!

RECITATIVE -- Counsel for Plaintiff.

May it please you, my lud!
Gentlemen of the Jury!


With a sense of deep emotion,

I approach this painful case;

For I never had a notion

That a man could be so base,

Or deceive a girl confiding,

Vows, etcetera, deriding.


He deceived a girl confiding,

Vows, etcetera, deriding.

Plaintiff falls sobbing on Counsel's breast and remains there.


See my interesting client,

Victim of a heartless wile!

See the traitor all defiant

Wear a supercilious smile!

Sweetly smiled my client on him,

Coyly woo'd and gently won him.


Sweetly smiled, etc.


Swiftly fled each honeyed hour

Spent with this unmanly male!

Camberwell became a bower,

Peckham an Arcadian Vale,

Breathing concentrated otto! --

An existence à la Watteau.


Breathing concentrated otto! etc.


Picture, then, my client naming,
And insisting on the day:

Picture him excuses framing

Going from her far away:

Doubly criminal to do so,

For the maid had bought her trousseau!


Doubly criminal, etc.

Counsel (to Plaintiff, who weeps).

Cheer up, my pretty -- oh, cheer up!


Cheer up, cheer up, we love you!

Counsel leads Plaintiff fondly into Witness-box; he takes a tender leave of her, and resumes his place in Court. Plaintiff reels as if about to faint.


That she is reeling
Is plain to see!


If faint you're feeling
Recline on me!

She falls sobbing on to the Foreman's breast.

Plaintiff (feebly).

I shall recover
If left alone.

All (shaking their fists at Defendant).

Oh, perjured lover,
Atone! atone!


Just like a father
I wish to be. (Kissing her.)

Judge (approaching her).

Or, if you'd rather,
Recline on me!

She jumps on to Bench, sits down by the Judge, and falls sobbing on his breast.


Oh! fetch some water
From far Cologne!


For this sad slaughter
Atone! atone!

Jury (shaking fists at Defendant).

Monster, dread our fury --
There's the Judge, and we're the Jury!
Monster, monster, dread our fury.


Silence in Court!

SONG -- Defendant.

Oh, gentlemen, listen, I pray,

Though I own that my heart has been ranging,

Of nature the laws I obey,

For nature is constantly changing.

The moon in her phases is found,

The time and the wind and the weather,

The months in succession come round,

And you don't find two Mondays together.

Consider the moral, I pray,

Nor bring a young fellow to sorrow,

Who loves this young lady to-day,

And loves that young lady to-morrow.

Bridesmaids (rushing forward, and kneeling to Jury).

Consider the moral, etc.

You cannot eat breakfast all day,

Nor is it the act of a sinner,

When breakfast is taken away,

To turn his attention to dinner;

And it's not in the range of belief,

To look upon him as a glutton,

Who, when he is tired of beef,

Determines to tackle the mutton.

But this I am willing to say,

If it will appease her sorrow,

I'll marry this lady to-day,

And I'll marry the other to-morrow!

Bridesmaids (rushing forward as before).

But this he is willing to say, etc.


That seems a reasonable proposition,

To which, I think, your client may agree.


But, I submit, m'lud, with all submission,
To marry two at once is Burglaree!

(Referring to law book.)

In the reign of James the Second,
It was generally reckoned
As a rather serious crime
To marry two wives at a time.

(Hands book up to Judge, who reads it.)


Oh, man of learning!

Usher and Jury.

Oh, man of learning!



A nice dilemma we have here,
That calls for all our wit,
For all our wit:


And at this stage, it don't appear
That we can settle it.

Defendant (in Witness-box).

If I to wed the girl am loth
A breach 'twill surely be --


And if he goes and marries both,
It counts as Burglaree!


A nice dilemma, etc.

DUET -- Plaintiff and Defendant.

Plaintiff (embracing him rapturously).

I love him -- I love him -- with fervour unceasing,
I worship and madly adore;
My blind adoration is always increasing,
My loss I shall ever deplore.
Oh, see what a blessing, what love and caressing
I've lost, and remember it, pray,
When you I'm addressing, are busy assessing
The damages Edwin must pay!
Yes, he must pay!

Defendant (repelling her furiously).

I smoke like a furnace -- I'm always in liquor,
A ruffian -- a bully -- a sot;
I'm sure I should thrash her, perhaps I should kick her,
I am such a very bad lot!
I'm not prepossessing, as you may be guessing,
She couldn't endure me a day;
Recall my professing, when you are assessing

The damages Edwin must pay!


Yes, he must pay!

She clings to him passionately; after a struggle, he throws her off into arms of Counsel.





| |

We would be fairly acting,
But this is most distracting!
If, when in liquor; he would kick her,
That is an abatement.


She loves him and madly adores him, etc.



The question, gentlemen - is one of liquor,
You ask for guidance - this is my reply:
He says, when tipsy, he would thrash and kick her,
Let's make him tipsy, gentlemen, and try!


With all respect
I do object!

I do object!

I don't object!


With all respect
We do object!

Judge (tossing his books and papers about).

All the legal furies seize you!
No proposal seems to please you,
I can't sit up here all day,
I must shortly get away.
Barristers, and you, attorneys,
Set out on your homeward journeys:
Gentle, simple-minded Usher,
Get you, if you like, to Russher;
Put your briefs upon the shelf,
I will marry her myself!

He comes down from Bench to floor of Court. He embraces Angelina.



Oh, joy unbounded,
With wealth surrounded,
The knell is sounded
Of grief and woe.


With love devoted
On you he's doated.
To castle moated
Away they go.


I wonder whether
They'll live together
In marriage tether
In manner true?


It seems to me, sir,
Of such as she, sir,
A judge is he, Sir,
And a good judge too.


Oh, joy unbounded, etc.


Yes, I am a Judge.


And a good Judge too!


Yes, I am a Judge.40


And a good Judge too!


Though homeward as you trudge,
You declare my law is fudge,
Yet of beauty I'm a judge.


And a good Judge too!


 Though defendant is a snob.


 And a great snob too!


Though defendant is a snob.


And a great snob too!
Though defendant is a snob,
He'll reward him from his fob.
So we've settled with the job,
And a good job too!