Ruddigore

Act I

what took place, I ween shook his composure boasted – believe

and thus with sinning cloyed – fed up; usually with something sweet (but not here)

I shipped… in a revenue sloop – I sailed … in a medium-sized Customs patrol boat

she proved to be a frigate and she up with her ports, and fires with a thirty-two – the well-armed fighting ship opened her gun-ports (shutters) and fired a 32 pound cannon shot

which paralyzed the Parley-voo … only a darned MounseerFroggee answers with a shout … to fight a French fal-lal – slang terms for a Frenchman, or in this case, a French ship.  Fal-lal suggests foppery.

she is sartin for to strike – certain to strike her colors, i.e. lower her flag in surrender

we up with our helm and we scuds before the breeze – turned, to sail with the wind

belay … “Vast heavin” – stop … Stop sighing

and a Barrowknight to boot, if all had their rights – slang for Baronet

A Crichton of early romance – James Crichton (1560-1583) brilliant Scottish adventurer

stir it and stump it – boast, as in making stump speeches (campaign speeches)

From Ovid and Horace to Swinburne and Morris – Ovid and Horace are famous classical Roman poets; Swinburne a Victorian aesthetic poet; William Morris was a poet as well as a designer of wallpaper and household furnishings, of the Pre-Raphaelite school.

Is it meet that a stranger should so express himself? – proper

…be permitted to salute the flag I’m a-goin’ to sail under? – salute also means kiss

a better hand at turning-in a dead-eye don’t walk a deck – applying tension to a kind of crude block-and-tackle apparatus for tightening the shrouds of a mast

Hearts often tack – change direction

Cheerily carols the lark over the cot – cottage

Cytherean posies – lovers’ bouquets (the island of Cythera is associated with Aphrodite)

With flattery sated, high-flown and inflated – filled to capacity

from charms intramural to prettiness rural – literally, between (city) walls

the sudden transition is simply Elysian – the heaven-like part of the Greek underworld

Come Amaryllis, come Chloe and Phyllis – poetic names of rustic Arcadian maidens

stone from a strong catapult (a trice) – rope-and-pulley arrangement (for a catapult?)

ought you to stand off-and-on – nautical for tack in and out along a shore; hence, to dither

His rightful title I have long enjoyed – in the sense of “had the use of”

but when completely rated, Bad Baronet am I – established

When I’m a bad Bart I will tell taradiddles – short for Baronet; taradiddles are fibs

adieu with good grace to my morals sententious – expressed as maxims or clichés

Act II

without the elision – without skipping anything (e.g. his first name), and pronounced fully

Valley-de-sham – valet-de-chambre, or personal servant (gentleman’s gentleman)

When the night-wind howls in the chimney cowls – hooded chimney-tops

when the footpads quail – robber or highwayman (to quail is to recoil in fear)

away they go with a mop and a mow – gestures and grimaces

with his ladye-toast – lady to whom toasts are drunk

With a kiss, perhaps, on her lantern chaps – long thin jaws, looking hollow-cheeked

On Thursday I shot a fox – Fox-hunting country gentlemen protected foxes assiduously so their sport would be better.  Shooting one was considered outrageous.

suffering much from spleen and vapours – melancholy and nervous weakness

Now I’m a dab at penny readings – an expert at a wholesome kind of “improving” entertainment with music, recitations, and readings

In fact we rule a National School – church-connected school for the poor

a gentle district visitor – church worker who helps clergymen in pastoral visits

Eschew melodrama – abstain from

give them tea and barley-water – thin barley broth used medicinally

Basingstoke – a prosaic town southwest of London (on the rail line to Cornwall)

pure and blameless ratepayer – taxpayer

When the tempest ‘gan to lower – (rhymes with sour) threaten

help him… like the mousie in the fable – a mouse helped a lion in one of Aesop’s tale

why I do not pipe my eye – cry