Thursday, February 23, 2023

Song of the Three Jolly Pigeons


(from She Stoops to Conquer, Act 2)

Let school-masters puzzle their brain
  With grammar, and nonsense, and learning;
Good liquor, I stoutly maintain
  Gives genius a better discerning.
Let them brag of their heathenish gods,
  Their Lethes, and Styxes, and Stygians;
Their Quis, and their Quaes, and their Quods,
  They're all but a parcel of pigeons.
    Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!
When Methodist preachers come down,
  A-preaching that drinking is sinful,
I'll wager the rascals a crown,
  They always preach best with a skinful.
But when you come down with your pence,
  For a slice of their scurvy religion,
I'll leave it to all men of sense,
  That you, my good friend, are the pigeon.
    Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!
Then come put the jorum about,
  And let us be merry and clever,
Our hearts and our liquors are stout,
  Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons forever.
Let some cry woodcock, or hare,
  Your bustards, your ducks, or your widgeons,
But of all the birds in the air,
  Here's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.
    Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!

-Oliver Goldsmith

This is sung by Tony Lumpkin. He's the good-hearted but somewhat incompetent bad lad who'd rather spend his time at the pub; he helps the heroes get married so he won't have to marry the girl himself.

After reading The Vicar of Wakefield in the fall, I went on to She Stoops to Conquer, and have had this in mind ever since. Let us be merry and clever! Toroddle, toroddle, toroll!

You know? There aren't very many words that rhyme with pigeon. Hmm...

You got me down to the pub
  where I swear I'll drink just a smidgen.
Oy! Instead I guzzled a tub:
  that's life at the Three Jolly Pigeons!
-not Oliver Goldsmith

Other possibilities...