Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Princess Ida

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Ejaculate [And piously ejaculate]

Blurt out.

Hungary [Oh, doughty sons of Hungary!]

Why has Gilbert dragged Hungary into the proceedings at this advanced point? Perhaps because Hungarians are traditionally known as fierce warriors. Berlioz's stirring and popular Rákózy March (written in 1846) exemplifies the martial association. Kravetz (181) says that Berlioz averred that the theme came from "an old Hungarian war song of unknown authorship." These characters may not be real Hungarians, but they are every bit as war-like. Bradley (48) shows a second verse that appeared in the American first edition. Here it is:

But if our hearts assert their sway,
    (And hearts are all fantastical)
We shall be more disposed to say
These words enthusiastical
Oh prosper, Prince Hilarion!
    In mode complete
    May you defeat
Each meddlesome Hungarian!

Chambers (72) suggests that Gilbert may have composed the second verse before composing the first. In the second verse he dragged in Hungarian simply to rhyme with Hilarion, leading him then in the first verse to drag in ironmongery to rhyme with Hungary. On the other hand, it is conceivable that Hungary was introduced simply to rhyme with ironmongery (48). Clearly, Gilbert was not at his most facile in these verses.


Hardware; in this case weapons and armor.

Meet [it's meet that we consult the great Potential Mysteries]


Subjunctive [The five Subjunctive Possibilities]

Pertaining to the mood (or mode) of a verb implying a condition, doubt, wish, or hypothesis. This served as the inspiration for Lady Blanche's song "Come, mighty Must!"

Abjure [abjure tyrannic Man!]


Staunch [I alone am staunch!]

Pronunciation: Rhymes with launch.

Firm, constant, loyal, and trustworthy. See also HMS Pinafore.

Experiments [Experiments are made on humble subjects]

Knight (178) suggests that this derives from Fiat experimentum in corpore vile, a saying that arose from the experience of Murat, a French humorist who, in a trance, narrowly escaped dissection.

Clay [try our grosser clay]

In the context, read "less precious raw material."

We will walk this world …

These noble lines are in quotation marks because Gilbert took them from Tennyson's poem The Princess.

Owning [The love I'm owning]