(Died March, 1912)

Lay down the pipe and the tabor,

Set the bell tolling instead,

He is resting at last from his labour

George Grossmith is dead!

The mirth and the melody blended,

The laughter that ran with it all!

Ring down the curtain – ‘tis ended

The player can take no recall.

‘Twas first as an actor we found you

Filling the little Savoy

The Prince of the Jesters we crowned you –

And wasn’t your ‘Koko’ a joy!

I see you First Lord on the ocean,

Surrounded by beautiful belles;

I can see you concocting a potion

As ‘Mr. John Wellington Wells.’

I can see you as Bunthorne sounding

The deeps of aesthetic despair;

I can see you when pirates were hounding

You home to their poisonous lair.

But though you were quite the Top-liner,

As many a playbill has shown;

To me you were funnier – finer,

When “Piano and I” were alone.

How my neighbour would dig all ,y ribs in,

And bellow ‘Bravo!’ and ‘Encore!’

When you acted that skit upon Ibsen,

Or sang of ‘The babe on the shore.’

From everything laughter extracting,

What millions you’ve made to rejoice

At the biograph’s views on your acting,

The gramophone’s gibes at your voice.

The lady and gentleman shopping –

Irascible folk in the train –

The dentist who finds he’s been stopping

The tooth that had never a pain!

I have laughed at them times without number,

I know I could laugh at them still;

But the bright brain is dulled in Death’s slumber,

The stage is for others to fill.

And who is there now of us mummers,

To take up the mantle you threw;

Ten minutes we give the new comers

– We spent the whole evening with you.

Farewell! My old friend, when we find you

In garments celestial clad,

We will gather around and remind you

Of all the gay laughs we have had.

I can fancy the harps ringing sweeter,

– Can fancy the cherubims’ glee,

Can picture the smile of St. Peter,

When wecoming good old G. G.

Farewell! you were ever the one light

That beamed like a beacon ahead;

– Ah me! there’s a chill in the sunlight,

George Grossmith is dead!


French, Percy. (1980) ‘Prose, Poems & Parodies.’  Dublin, Helicon Limited