The Mikado/Act I/Part III

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The Mikado by W. S. Gilbert
Act I, part III. Our Great Mikado, virtuous man

The song Our Great Mikado, virtuous man was written by W. S. Gilbert for Gilbert and Sullivan's 1885 comic operetta The Mikado. It is the third song in Act I.


Our great Mikado, virtuous man,
When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby
Young men might best be steadied.

So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered or winked
(Unless connubially linked),
Should forthwith be beheaded, beheaded, beheaded
Should forthwith be beheaded.

And I expect you'll all agree
That he was right to so decree.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right as right can be!


And you are right.
And we are right,
And all is right, is right as right can be!
And all is right as right can be!
right as right can be!


This stern decree, you'll understand,
Caused great dismay throughout the land!
For young and old
And shy and bold
Were equally affected.
The youth who winked a roving eye,
Or breathed a non-connubial sigh,
Was thereupon condemned to die—
He usually objected, objected, objected,
He usually objected.

And you'll allow, as I expect,
That he was right to so object.
And I am right,
And you are right,
And everything is quite correct!


And you are right,
And we are right,
And everything is quite, is quite correct,
And everything is quite correct,
All is quite correct!


And so we straight let out on bail
A convict from the county jail,
Whose head was next
On some pretext
Condemned to be mown off,
And made him Headsman, for we said,
"Who's next to be decapited
Cannot cut off another's head
Until he's cut his own off, his own off, his own off.
Until he's cut his own off."

And we are right, I think you'll say,
To argue in this kind of way;
And I am right,
And you are right,
And all is right—too-looral-lay!


And I am right,
And you are right,
And you are right,—too-looral-lay!


And we are right,
And all is right,
And all is right!

[Exeunt CHORUS.]

[Enter POOH-BAH]

NANKI-POO (Spoken) Ko-Ko the cheap tailor, Lord High Executioner of Titipu! Why, that's the highest rank a Citizen can attain!

POOH-BAH (Spoken) It is. Our logical Mikado seeing no moral difference between the dignified judge that condemns a criminal to die, and the industrious mechanic who carries out the sentence, has rolled the two offices into one, and every judge is now his own executioner.

NANKI-POO (Spoken) But how good of you (for I see that you are a nobleman of the highest rank) to condescend to tell all this to me, a mere strolling minstrel!

POOH-BAH (Spoken) Don't mention it. 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. But I struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually. When all the great officers of state resigned in a body, because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitantly accept all their posts at once?

PISH-TUSH (Spoken) And all the salaries attached to them? You did.

POOH-BAH (Spoken) It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buckhounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Archbishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, both acting and elect, all rolled into one. And at a salary! A Pooh-Bah paid for his services! I a salaried minion! But I do it! it revolts me, but I do it!

NANKI-POO (Spoken) And it does you credit.

POOH-BAH (Spoken) But I don't stop at that. I go and dine with middle-class people on reasonable terms. I dance at cheap suburban parties for a moderate fee. I accept refreshment at any hands, however lowly. I also retail State secrets at a very low figure. For instance, any further information on Yum-Yum would come under the head of a State secret. (Aside) Another insult, and, I think, a light one!