The Play [from The Sentimental Bloke]

by C.J.Dennis


“Wot’s in a name?” she sez … an’ then she sighs,

an’ clasps ‘er little ‘ands, an’ rolls ‘er eyes.

“A rose,” she sez, “be any other name

would smell the same.

Oh, wherefore art you Romeo, young sir?

Chuck yer ole pot, an’ change yer moniker!”


Doreen an’ me we been to see a show ---

The swell two-dollar touch. Bong tong, yeh know.

A chair apiece wiv velvit on the seat.

A slap up treat.

The drarmer’s writ be Shakespeare, years ago,

about a barmy goat called Romeo.


"Lady, be yonder moon I swear!” sez ‘e.

An’ then ‘e climbs up on the balkiney:

an’ there they smooge a treat, wiv pretty words

like two love birds.

I nudge Doreen, She whispers, “Ain’t it grand!”

‘er eyes is shinin’; an’ I squeeze ‘er ‘and.


“Wot’s in a name?” she sez. ‘Struth I dunno.

Billo is just as good as Romeo.

She may be Juli-er or Juli-et ---

‘E loves ‘er yet.

If she’s the tart ‘e wants, then she’s ‘is queen,

names never count . . . But, ah, I like “Doreen!”


A sweeter, dearer sound I never ‘eard.

there’s music ‘angs around that little word.

Doreen! . . . but, wot wuz this I starts to say

about the play?

I’m off me beat. But, when a bloke’s in love

‘is thorts turns ‘er way, like a ‘omin dove.


This Romeo ‘e’s lurkin’ wiv a crew ---

A dead tough crowd o’ crooks – called Montague.

‘is cliner’s push – wot’s nicknamed Capulet ---

they ‘as ‘em set.

Fair narks they are, just like them back-street clicks,

Ixcep’ they fight wiv skewers, ‘stid o’ bricks.


Wot’s in a name? Wot’s in a string o’ words?

They scraps in ole Verona wiv the’r swords,

an’ never give a bloke a stray dog’s chance,

an’ that’s romance? ???

But, when they deals it out wiv bricks an’ boots

in Little Lons., they’re low degraded broots.


Wot’s jist plain stoush wiv us, right ‘ere to-day,

Is “valler” if yer fur enough away.

Some time, some writer bloke will do the trick

wiv Ginger Mick

uv Spadger’s Lane. ‘e’ll be a Romeo,

when ‘e’s bin dead  five ‘undred years or so.


Fair Juli-et, she gives ‘er boy the tip,

sez she: “don’t sling that crowd ‘o mine no lip;

an’ if you run agin a Capulet,

jist do a get.”

‘e swears ‘e’s done wiv lash. ‘e’ll chuck it clean.

[Same as I done when I first met Doreen]


They smooge some more at that. Ar, strike me blue!

It gimme Joes to sit an’ watch them two!

‘E’d break away an’ start to say good-bye;

an’ then she’d sigh

“Ow, Ro-me-o!” an’ git a strangle-holt;

an’ ‘ang around ‘im like she feared ‘e’d bolt.


Nex’ day ‘e words a gorspil cove about

a secrit weddin’; an’ they plan it out.

‘E spouts a piece about ‘ow ‘e’s bewitched.

then they get ‘itched. . . .

Now ‘ere’s the place where I fair git the pip!

She’s ‘is for keeps, an’ yet ‘e lets ‘er slip!


Ar! but ‘e makes me sick! A fair gazob!

‘E’s jist the glarssy on the soulful sob,

‘E’ll sigh an’ spruik, an ‘owl a love-sick vow ---

[the silly cow!]

But when ‘e’s got ‘er, spliced an’ on the straight,

‘e crools the pitch an’ tries to kid it’s Fate.


Aw! Fate me foot! Instid of slopin’ soon

as ‘e was wed, orf on ‘is ‘oneymoon,

‘im an’ ‘is cobber, called Mick Curio,

they ‘ave to go

an’ mix it wiv that push o’ Capulets.

they look fer trouble; an’ it’s wot they gets.


A tug named Tyball [cousin to the skirt]

sprags ‘em an’ makes a start to sling off dirt.

Nex’ minnit there’s a real ole ding-dong go ---

‘arf round or so.

Mick Curio, ‘e gits it in the neck,

“Ar rats!”, ‘e sez; an’ passes in ‘is check.


Quite natchril, Romeo gits wet as ‘ell.

“It’s me or you!” ‘e ‘owls, an’ eiv a yell,

plunks Tyball through the gizzard wiv ‘is sword.

‘ow I engcored!

“Put in the boot!”, I sez. “Put in the boot!”

“’ush!”, sez Doreen . . . “Shame!”, sez some silly coot.


Then Romeo, ‘e dunno wot to do.

The cops gits busy, like they allwiz do,

an’ nose around until ‘e gits blue funk

an’ does a bunk.

They wants ‘is tart to wed some other guy,

“Ah, strike!”, she sez. “I wish’t that I could die!”.


Now this ‘ere gorspil bloke’s a fair shrewd ‘ead.

Sez ‘e, “I’ll dope yeh, so they’ll think yer dead.”

[I tips ‘e wus a cunnin’ sort, wot knoo

a thing or two].

She takes ‘is knock-out drops, up in ‘er room.

they think she’s snuffed; an’ plant ‘er in ‘er tomb.


Then things gits mixed a treat an’ starts to whirl.

‘ere’s Romeo comes back an’ finds ‘is girl

tucked in ‘er little coffing, cold an’ stiff,

an’ in a jiff,

‘e swallers Lysol, throws a fancy fit,

‘ead over turkey, an’ ‘is soul ‘as flit.


Then Juli-et wakes up an’ sees ‘im there,

turns on the water-works an’ tears ‘er ‘air.

“Dear Love,” she sez, “I cannot live alone!”

an’ wiv a moan,

she grabs ‘is pocket knife, an’ ends ‘er cares . . .

“Peanuts or lollies!” sez a boy upstairs.



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