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Clementine Lyrics

Clementine by Tom Lehrer  

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Clementine [NOTE: Words in bBOLD/b are spoken]

bI should like the consider the folk song, and consider briefly on a theory,
to the effect that the reason that most folk songs are so atrocious is that
they were written by the people. If professional songwriter had written
them instead, things might've turned out considerably differently. For exmple,
consider the old favorite, with which I'm sure you're all familiar, Clementine;
y'know, "In a cavern, in a canyon, da dada, dah dadah duh..." - song with
no recognizable merit whatsoever, and imagine what might've happened
if, for example, Cole Porter had tried writing the song. The first verse
might've come out like this./b

[iCole Porter Style/i]
In a cavern...
In a canyon...
Excava-hay-hay-hehting for...
a mine.
Far away from the BOOM-BOOM-BOOM...
of the city-
She was so pretty,
What a pity - Clementine!
Oh, Clementine...
Can't you tell from the howls of me...
This love of mine,
Calls to you from the bowels of me...
Are, you, dis-CERning
the reTURning
of this CHURning,
YEARning for you... and -

bWell, supposing at this point, that Mozart... or, one of that crowd...
had tried writing a verse, the next one might've come out as a baritone
aria from an Italian opera - somewhat along these lines./b

Era legera e come un fairy {It was light and [she was] like a fairy}
E suo shoes numero nine, {And her shoes [were] number nine}
Herring bo-ho-ho-hoxes sans-a to-ho-ho-hopses, {Herring bo-ho-ho-hoxes without to-ho-ho-hopses}
Sandalae per Clementina si, {Sandals for Clementine}
Per Clementina si, {For Clementine}
Per Clementina sandalae, {Sandals for Clementine}
Per Clementina sandalae {Sandals for Clementine}
Per Clementina. {For Clementine}

Clementina, Clementina, Cleh-eh-eh-ehmentina... {Clementine x3}
Herring boxes sans-a topses sandalae per Clementina, {Herring boxes without topses, sandals for Clementine}
Herring boxes sans-a topses sandalae per Clementina, {Herring boxes without topses, sandals for Clementine}
Che sciagura Clementina, {What a disaster, Clementine}
Che sciagura Clementina, {What a disaster, Clementine}
Cara Clementina, {Beloved Clementine}
Cara Clementina-na-na-na-na-na-na-na! {Beloved Clementine}

bSupposing, at this rather dramatic juncture in the narrative, one of
our modern "cool school" of composers had tried writing a verse, the
next one might've come out... a-like this.../b

[whispered]A-one, A-two, A-three
Drove those ducklings to the water, yprach!
Doodilehdoodoot, yah-hah...
Every mornin', like nine a.m., awhoopah
Doodileh doo-doo, doodilidah.
Got a-hung upon a splinter,
Got a-hung upon a splinter, klooglimah!
Hoo, hoot!
Fell into the foamy brine-
Dig that crazy Clementine, man!

bTo end on a happy note, one can always count on Gilbert & Sullivan
for a rousig finale - full of words and music, and signifying nothing./b

That I missed her depressed her young sister named Esther.
This mister to pester the tried -
Now a pestering sister's a festering blister;
You're best to resist her, say I!

The mister resisted,
The sister persisted,
When I kissed her, all loyalty slipped.
When she said I could have her,
Her sister's cadaver
Must surely have turned in its crypt!
Yes, yes, yes, yes!

But I love she, and she loves me,
and raptured are the both of we.
Yes, I love she and she loves I...
and will through all eterni-ty!
See what I mean?

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