Instant Monologues
Gilbert Sullivan Pirates Penzance Instant Monologue


PIRATES OF PENZANCE
by William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan

The MAJOR-GENERAL

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical

From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,

I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,

About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,

With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

 

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;

I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

 

I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's;

I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox,

I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,

In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;

I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,

I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes!

Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,

And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

 

Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,

And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus's uniform:

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

 

In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin",

When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin,

When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at,

And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat",

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,

When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery-

In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy,

You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

 

For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,

Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;

But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.






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