THE MADMAN'S WILL
( Monologue )
 
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In a work-house ward that was cold and bare,
The doctor sat on a creaking chair,
By the side of a dying madman's bed.
"He can't last much longer," the doctor said.
But nobody cares if a pauper lives,
And nobody cares when a pauper's dead.
The old man sighed, the doctor rose.
And bent his head o'er the ricketty bed,
To catch the weak words one by one,
To smile—as the dying madman said:
"Beneath my pillow when I am gone—
Search—hidden there you will find it still!"
"Find what, old madman?" the doctor asked,
And the old man said, as he died, "My WILL."
How they all laughed at the splendid jest...
A pauper madman to leave a will.
And they straightened him out for his final rest,
In the lonely graveyard over the hill,
And the doctor searched for the paper and found
The red taped parchment—untied it with zest,
Whilst the others laughingly gathered round
To hear the cream of the madman's jest.
Then the doctor with mocking solemnity said,
"Silence, my friends," and the Will he read.
"I leave to the children the green fields,
The fresh country lanes for their play,
The stories of fairies and dragons,
The sweet smell of heather and hay.
I leave to young maidens romantic
The dreaming which all maidens do.
And the wish that some day in the future
Their happiest dreams will come true.
To youth I leave all youth's ambition,
Desire, love, impetuous hate.
And to youth with years I leave wisdom,
And the hope that it comes not too late.
I leave to the lovers the gloaming,
The time when all troubles are old,
When true love, hand in hand, goes aroaming
To the heart of the sunset of gold
To the mother I leave children's voices
And curly heads close on her breast,
The soft whispered prayer that rejoices
Her heart as she puts them to rest.
I leave to old people sweet memories,
And smiles that endure to the last,
With never a fear for the future,
And not a regret for the past.
I die without earthly possessions,
Without the last word of a friend,
To you all I leave good cheer and friendship
That lasts through all time to the end.
I leave to the wide world my blessing
In the hope that the long years will find
That my wishes shall grow like a flower,
And bring God's good peace to mankind".
The ward doctor laid down the parchment,
His smile had gone—turned into pain.
The faces around laughed no longer,
But grew grave with regret that was vain.
No wonder that he looks so happy,
Whilst we who derided are sad,
For the things he has left are the best things in life
"I wonder if he was mad?"
 
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Written and composed by Peter Cheyney and Richard Arpthorp - 1925
Performed by Albert Whelan (1875-1962)
 
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