The Pirates of Penzance
Posted on September 19, 2010 at 10:00 am
Celebrate “Talk Like a Pirate Day” by talking like these delightful rascals!
February 29 (Leap Day) comes only once every four years, a calendrical adjustment that is of the utmost importance in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. It seems that Frederic, mistakenly apprenticed to pirates (his hard-of-hearing nurse misunderstood when his parents told her to take him to be apprenticed to pilots), is pleased to be out of his indentures when he turns 21. But then it turns out that while he has lived 21 years, because he was born on Leap Day, he has only celebrated his 4th birthday.
For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don’t know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February,
twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
Through some singular coincidence – I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing to the
agency of an ill-natured fairy –
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year,
on the twenty-ninth of February;
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover,
That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays,
you’re only five and a little bit over!
Celebrate this quadrennial occasion with a viewing of the delightful The Pirates of Penzance.