Town of Titipu – Actually, such a town exists (now the cement capital of Japan). It is a few hours northwest of Tokyo by train.
Serried ranks assembled – shoulder to shoulder
and a rumbelow – nonsense word used in many sea-chanties
Her anchor’s a-trip and her helm’s a-lee – A-trip means clear of mud and ready to be hauled aboard. A-lee means away from the wind; ready for making sail.
to lay aloft – to climb up into the rigging in order to raise or lower sails.
unless connubially linked – matrimonially (i.e., unless married)
Pre-Adamite ancestry – before Adam (and Eve)
I, a salaried minion! – servile underling
you very imperfect ablutioner – The implication is that the person addressed has not done a good job of washing himself (Okay, it does rhyme with “executioner”).
cut a dash on their wedding day – put on a showy display, to dance
she’ll toddle away, as all aver – declare
who dresses like a guy – Effigies of “gunpowder-plot” conspirator Guy Fawkes are burned each November 5; they are dressed in old clothes (like a scarecrow), i.e. bizarrely.
freed from its genius tutelary – guardian spirit, guiding influence
the Marine Parade – sea-side promenade, analogous to “the boardwalk” in America
Tremendous Swell – a very impressively distinguished person, a VIP
my father, the Lucius Junius Brutus of his race – A Roman consul (500 B.C.) who condemned his two sons to death, for their plotting to restore the monarchy
to embrace you thus con fuoco – Italian for “with fervor”
and for yam I should get toco – “Toco” is schoolboy slang for punishment; “toco for yam” is an expression meaning getting something bad in exchange for something good.
interrupted an apostrophe – an exclamatory address to a person or thing
with grief condign – suitable
in a dull, dark dock - small enclosed space, or cell (originally, an animal cage)
a cheap and chippy chopper – the headsman’s axe, apparently not of the best quality
perform the Happy Dispatch – suicide
Oh blind, that seest no equipoise – counterbalancing factor
O ni! bikkuri shakkuri to! – This choral outburst is variously translated, but might mean “Demon, you surprise and shock us!” – Some think that “hiccup” is involved somehow.
I’ll spoil your gay gambado – caper, from the French gambade, a leap or spring
He glories all effulgent – Giving off a flood of light
though the tocsin sound ere long – a warning bell
I never even killed a blue-bottle – a large fly
Miya sama, miya sama / On n’m-ma no mayé ni / Pira-Pira suru no wa / Nan gia na / Toko tonyaré tonyaré na? – This is a legitimate Japanese song and was of fairly recent composition when Gilbert appropriated it for The Mikado. A war song of the Japanese Imperial Army, it was sung by the loyalist troops who put down a rebellion in 1877. Translations vary.
Make each prisoner pent – locked up
Mystical Germans who preach from ten till four – evangelical German Lutherans who had recently been touring England
to ride on a buffer in Parliamentary trains – The buffer is the shock-absorbing bumper on British railroad cars. When an act of Parliament in 1844 required that at least one train a day run to every station on a line, these slow trains were “Parliamentary trains.”
in fitless finger stalls – protective covering for an injured finger
I drew my snickersnee – a long knife or small sword (from the Dutch)
give artistic verisimilitude – appearance of truth