Two Madrigals
Home Higher Level Page Monk’s Aria Two Madrigals Choral Christmas Carols Cantata “Blaues Gras”

The lyrics to both of the Two Madrigals from “The Triumphs of Thusnelda” are reprinted below as a public service to those who have had a difficult time understanding them, either on record or in concert, a difficulty exacerbated by the fact that in music of this type the different voices often sing the words at different times, resulting in a phenomenon known as “diction friction.”

Parental Controls

Two different versions of the text for Two Madrigals from “The Triumphs of Thusnelda” exist:  1) the original 18th Century version, as published by P. D. Q. Bach’s drinking companion Jonathan “Boozy” Hawkes and heard on the record album The Stoned Guest;  and 2) a modern 20th Century version as was published by the Theodore Presser Company and can sometimes be heard in high-school choral concerts.  Naturally, as we live in more enlightened times, the modern version has been bowdlerized to remove all of the lyrics which might have been considered offensive in the 18th Century.  Overprotective parents will want to use the following controls to make sure their children only see the 20th Century version of the lyrics.  Others can select lyrics based on whether they are following along with the recording (the 18th Century version, even though it wasn’t recorded until the 20th Century) or reading the sheet music (the 20th Century version).

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The Queen to Me a Royal Pain Doth Give

The Queen to me a royal pain doth give,
Yet were I so to say, I scarce would live
To see the fair Thusnelda once again.
Oy veh, oy veh (etc.)

A queen who reigns, yet keeps her powder dry,
Must power use where love would best apply
To keep me from Thusnelda once again.
Oy veh, oy veh (etc.)

Embedded on her throne, she would instead
Much rather be dethron’d upon her bed,
But once beneath the royal counterpane,
The ruler by her servant, Sleep, is slain,
And I to my Thusnelda fly again.
Oy veh, oy veh (etc.)


My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth

  My bonnie lass she smelleth,
Making the flowers Jealouth.
Fa la la (etc.)

My bonnie lass dismayeth
Me;  all that she doth say ith:
Fa la la (etc.)

My bonnie lass she looketh like a jewel
And soundeth like a mule.
My bonnie lass she walketh like a doe
And talketh like a crow.
Fa la la (etc.)

My bonnie lass liketh to dance a lot;
She’s Guinevere and I’m Sir Lancelot.1
Fa la la (etc.)

My bonnie lass I need not flatter;
What she doth not have doth not matter.
Oo la la (etc.)

My bonnie lass would be nice,
Yea, even at twice the price.
Fa la la (etc.)


1The meaning of this couplet is extinct;  it was last seen in Scotland around the turn of the century.

Lyrics copyright © 1971 Theodore Presser Company and are used with the permission of Theodore Presser Company.  Any other copying by other parties for other uses is not authorized.


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