Have Some Madeira M'Dear

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"Have Some Madeira M'Dear"
Photo of Flanders and Swann singing at the piano
Writers Flanders and Swann
Song by Flanders and Swann
Genre Novelty song
Composer(s) Michael Flanders
Lyricist(s) Donald Swann

"Have Some Madeira M'Dear", also titled "Madeira, M'Dear?",[n 1] is a darkly comic song by Flanders and Swann.[2] It is a song about seduction and alcohol, containing complex and witty wordplay.

Madeira wine

The lyrics[3] tell of an elderly rake who "slyly inveigles" an attractive young girl of seventeen to his flat where he offers her a glass of Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine. The girl enthusiastically drains her glass, becoming slightly drunk in the process. Sensing victory, the rake offers the young girl another glass of wine, which she accepts. However, before raising it to her lips, she recalls her dying mother's warning to avoid red wine. With a cry, the girl drops the glass and flees the apartment, the old roué's pleas for her to remain echoing in her ears. The following morning, however, the young lady awakens in bed with a hangover and a beard tickling her ear.

The song contains three much-quoted instances of syllepsis:[4][5] "And he said as he hastened to put out the cat, the wine, his cigar and the lamps" "She lowered her standards by raising her glass, her courage, her eyes and his hopes" "She made no reply, up her mind and a dash for the door."[6]

The song has been covered by other groups, including most notably The Limeliters (performed by Lou Gottlieb). The lyrics were also recited as a poem by Tony Randall in episode #922 of The Carol Burnett Show which first aired 02/21/1976.

Sam Leith has referred to it as a "hilarious song about date rape".[7]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The shorter title is used on the original LP records of the show; the longer is adopted in the 1977 collected songs of Flanders and Swann, edited by Flanders's widow Claudia.[1]
  1. ^ Parlophone LPs PMC 1033 (1957) and PCS 3001 (1959); and Flanders and Swann, p. 143
  2. ^ Blocker, Jack S.; David M. Fahey; Ian R. Tyrrell (2003). Alcohol and temperance in modern history: an international encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 210. ISBN 978-1-57607-833-4.
  3. ^ http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiMADERA.html
  4. ^ Oliver, A. (2001). "Strategies for a Logic of Plurals". The Philosophical Quarterly. 51 (204): 289. doi:10.1111/j.0031-8094.2001.00231.x.
  5. ^ Everett, Anthony (2005). "Recent Defenses of Descriptivism". Mind & Language. 20: 103. doi:10.1111/j.0268-1064.2005.00279.x.
  6. ^ Flanders and Swann, pp. 143–145
  7. ^ You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama, by Sam Leith; published Oct 20, 2011, by Profile Books; via Google Books


  • Flanders, Michael; Donald Swann; Claudia Flanders (1977). The Songs of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. London: Elm Tree Books and Saint George's Press. ISBN 0241897386.