Have Some Madeira M'Dear

"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 plying a teenager with alcohol in order to sexually assault her, containing complex and witty wordplay.

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

The lyrics[3] tell of an elderly rake who "slyly inveigles" an attractive girl of 17 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, he offers her another glass, 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, she wakes 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 February 21, 1976.

Notes and referencesEdit

  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


  • 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.

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