George Grossmith

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!

Prose, Poems & Parodies of Percy French, 1980, Helicon Limited, Dublin.


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The 16th Percy French Festival

Our Great Disconnect

17th, 18th, 19th July 2024

At Castlecoote House

The Percy French Festival 2024 acknowledges the major support of Excel Industries; Whyte’s; CastleAcre; C&F Quadrant Ltd; Davies Group; Hidden Ireland.

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