Alma Songtext
von Tom Lehrer

Alma Songtext

(Introduction, spoken:)
Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest,
Spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read.
It was that of a lady named Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, who had,
In her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of
The top creative men in central Europe. And, among these lovers,
Who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which is what made
It so interesting, there were three whom she went so far as to
Marry: One of the leading composers of the day, Gustav Mahler,
Composer of "Das Lied von der Erde" and other light classics,
One of the leading architects, Walter Gropius, of the "Bauhaus
School of Design", and one of the leading writers, Franz Werfel,
Author of the "Song of Bernadette" and other masterpieces.
It's people like that who make you realize how little you've
Accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when
Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years!
It seemed to me, on reading this obituary, that the story
Of Alma was the stuff of which ballads should be made,
So here is one:

The loveliest girl in Vienna
Was Alma, the smartest as well,
Once you picked her up on your antenna,
You'd never be free of her spell.
Her lovers were many and varied
From the day she began her beguine.
There were three famous ones whom she married,
And God knows how many between...

Alma, tell us,
All modern women are jealous,.
Which of your magical wands
Got you Gustav and Walter and Franz?

The first one she married was Mahler
Whose buddies all knew him as Gustav.
And each time he saw her he'd holler,
"Ach, that's the fraulein I must have!"
Their marriage, however, was murdah.
He'd scream to the heavens above,
"I'm writing Das Lied von der Erde,
And she only wants to make love!"

Alma, tell us,
All modern women are jealous,
You should have a statue in bronze
For bagging Gustav and Walter and Franz.

While married to Gus she met Gropius,
And soon she was swinging with Walter.
Gus died and her teardrops were copious.
She cried all the way to the altar.
But he would work late at the Bauhaus
And only came home now and then.
She said, "What am I running, a chow house?
It's time to change partners again!"

Alma, tell us,
All modern women are jealous!
Though you didn't even use Ponds,
You got Gustav and Walter and Franz.

While married to Walt she met Werfel,
And he too was caught in her net.
He married her but he was careful,
'Cause Alma was no Bernadette.
And that is the story of Alma
Who knew how to receive and to give.
The body that reached her embalmah
Was one that had known how to live!

Alma, tell us,
How can they help being jealous?
Ducks always envy the swans
Who get Gustav and Walter,
You never did falter
With Gustav and Walter and Franz!

I know some people feel that marriage as an institution
Is dying out, but I disagree. And the point was driven
Home to me rather forcefully not long ago by a letter
I received which said: "Darling, I love you, and I cannot
Live without you. Marry me, or I will kill myself."
Well, I was a little disturbed at that until I took
Another look at the envelope, and saw that it was
Addressed to occupant...
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more
Frequently these days, in books and plays and movies,
Is the inability of people to communicate with the people
They love: husbands and wives who can't communicate,
Children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on.
And the characters in these books and plays and so on,
And in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the
Fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a
Person can't communicate, the very least he can do
Is to shut up!

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