What are the lyrics to the song ‘Modern Major General’?

Do you know all the lyrics to 'Modern Major General' one of Gilbert and Sullivan's most famous songs?

Modern Major General lyrics

‘Modern Major General’ is perhaps one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous songs. The patter song ‘Modern Major General’ was written  by Gilbert in 1878-9 as part of the duo’s comic opera or operetta  The Pirates of Penzance.

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Who is the Modern Major General?

The Modern Major general is believed to be a  caricature of general Sir Garnet Wolseley, one of Britains most famous 19th century generals who served as s Commander-in-Chief of the Forces from 1895 to 1900. Or the character could have been  inspired by General Henry Turner, an uncle of Gilbert’s wife who Gilbert disliked – or perhaps a bit of both generals reside in Gilbert’s general.

What are the lyrics to ‘Modern Major General’?

I am the very model of a modern Major-Gineral,
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-Gineral.

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-Gineral.

In fact, when I know what is meant by “mamelon” and “ravelin”,
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin,[e]
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.[f]

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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-Gineral.