W. S. Gilbert Quotes

It isn’t so much what’s on the table that matters, as what’s on the chairs.

Oh, wouldn’t the world seem dull and flat with nothing whatever to grumble at?

It’s love that makes the world go round.

He did nothing in particular, and did it very well.

When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.

I’m really very sorry for you all, but it’s an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances.

Life’s a pudding full of plums.

Deerstalking would be a very fine sport if only the deer had guns.


No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have; and I think he’s a dirty little beast.

Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative.

Oh, don’t the days seem lank and long When all goes right and nothing goes wrong, And isn’t your life extremely flat With nothing whatever to grumble at!

I am the Captain of the Pinafore ; And a right good captain too! . . . . And I’m never, never sick at sea! What, never? No, never! What never? Hardly ever! He’s hardly ever sick at sea! Then give three cheers, and one cheer more, For the hardy Captain of the Pinafore!

Faint heart never won fair lady!
Nothing venture, nothing win
Blood is thick, but water’s thin
In for a penny, in for a pound
It’s Love that makes the world go ’round!


As is gloriously sung in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta “H.M.S. Pinafore,” in the words of W. S. Gilbert: “Things are seldom as they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream.”

When in that House MPs divide/If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too/They’ve got to leave that brain outside/And vote just as their leaders tell ’em to.

Saturday afternoon, although occurring at regular and well-foreseen intervals, always takes this railway by surprise.

Life is a joke that’s just begun.

Wherever valor true is found, true modesty will there abound.

It’s true I’ve got no shirts to wear;
It’s true my butcher’s bill is due;
It’s true my prospects all look blue –
But don’t let that unsettle you.

Strike the concertina’s melancholy string!
Blow the spirit-stirring harp like any thing!
Let the piano’s martial blast
Rouse the Echoes of the Past

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.

No good play is a success; fine writing and high morals are useless on the stage. I have been scribbling twaddle for thirty-five years to suit the public taste, and I should know.


I know everybody’s income and what everybody earns,
And I carefully compare it with the income-tax returns

In short, whoever you may be, To this conclusion you’ll agree, When every one is somebodee, Then no one’s anybody!

Man is nature’s sole mistake.