The Major General's Song

by Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan (1879)
The Pirates of Penzance


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.

With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse;
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse;
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypote- potenuse.

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.

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is 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 elegaic 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 coaking 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.

And whistle all the airs, etc.

Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you every detail of Caractacus's uniform;
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is 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 had never sat a gee. -

You'll say a better, etc.

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.

But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Major-General!