The Magpie (Ponsonby Tottenham Lucas)

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Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-11-10).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 697 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Magpie
Composer: Ponsonby Tottenham Lucas
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1902 Vincent Music Co.
Description: “Composed for and dedicated to the Stafford “Magpies.”

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The birds that twitter or sing or howl,
The ouselcock, and barndoor fowl,
The nightjar lark, and horned owl
With the nightingale and vie;

A contest keen they embarked upon,
Where a good referee was a sine quâ non,
But they firmly rejected the dying swan,
They chose a magpie pie.

“O judge, sir, which of us sings the best,
Award first place, don’t mind the rest,
For each will stand a searching test
And his finest notes will try.”

The magpie said, “Are you ready? Go!”
But each new song was pronounced so-so,
For he said, there is nobody here, you know,
To beat the magpie pie.

So the rooster bold and the shrill peahen,
The corncrake harsh, the dainty wren,
With plenty more beyond my ken
To their former haunts did fly.

This one reflection kept them calm
As an anti-suicidal balm,
’Tis a prejudiced mind that awards the palm
To a tuneful magpie pie!