D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY


A Many Years Ago Lyrics

A many years ago,
When I was young and charming,
As some of you may know,
I practised baby-farming.

ALL. Now this is most alarming!
When she was young and charming,
She practised baby-farming,
A many years ago.

BUT. Two tender babes I nursed:
One was of low condition,
The other, upper crust,
A regular patrician.

ALL (explaining to each other).
Now, this is the position:
One was of low condition,
The other a patrician,
A many years ago.

BUT. Oh, bitter is my cup!
However could I do it?
I mixed those children up,
And not a creature knew it!

ALL. However could you do it?
Some day, no doubt, you'll rue it,
Although no creature knew it,
So many years ago.

BUT. In time each little waif
Forsook his foster-mother,
The well born babe was Ralph--
Your captain was the other!!!

ALL. They left their foster-mother,
The one was Ralph, our brother,
Our captain was the other,
A many years ago.

SIR JOSEPH. Then I am to understand that Captain
Corcoran
and Ralph were exchanged in childhood's happy hour --
that Ralph
is really the Captain, and the Captain is Ralph?
BUT. That is the idea I intended to convey, officially!
SIR JOSEPH. And very well you have conveyed it.
BUT. Aye! aye! yer 'onour.
SIR JOSEPH. Dear me! Let them appear before me, at
once!

[Ralph enters as Captain; Captain as a common sailor.
Josephine
rushes to his arms

JOS. My father -- a common sailor!
CAPT. It is hard, is it not, my dear?
SIR JOSEPH. This is a very singular occurrence; I
congratulate you both. (To Ralph.) Desire that
remarkably fine
seaman to step forward.
RALPH. Corcoran. Three paces to the front -- march!
CAPT. If what?
RALPH. If what? I don't think I understand you.
CAPT. If you please.
SIR JOSEPH. The gentleman is quite right. If you
please.
RALPH. Oh! If you please. (Captain steps forward.)
SIR JOSEPH (to Captain). You are an extremely fine
fellow.
CAPT. Yes, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. So it seems that you were Ralph, and Ralph
was
you.
CAPT. So it seems, your honour.
SIR JOSEPH. Well, I need not tell you that after this
change in your condition, a marriage with your daughter
will be
out of the question.
CAPT. Don't say that, your honour -- love levels all
ranks.
SIR JOSEPH. It does to a considerable extent, but it
does
not level them as much as that. (Handing Josephine to
Ralph.)
Here -- take her, sir, and mind you treat her kindly.
RALPH and JOS. Oh bliss, oh rapture!
CAPT. and BUT. Oh rapture, oh bliss!

SIR JOSEPH. Sad my lot and sorry,
What shall I do? I cannot live alone!
HEBE. Fear nothing -- while I live I'll not desert you.
I'll soothe and comfort your declining days.
SIR JOSEPH. No, don't do that.
HEBE. Yes, but indeed I'd rather--
SIR JOSEPH (resigned). To-morrow morn our vows shall
all be
plighted,
Three loving pairs on the same day united!

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Record Label(s): 2011 Stage Door Records

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