This one still gets laughts, if only from my grandson. Does anyone recall another many-versed novelty number, "Thais?" Dedicated to an old friend, Jon Adams, who taught it to me in 1958 or '59. It stuck.
One time in Alexandria,
In wicked Alexandria;
Where nights were wild with revelry
And life was but a game.
There lived, so the report is,
An adventuress and courtesan;
The pride of Alexandria
And Thais was her name.
Nearby, in peace and piety,
Avoiding all society,
There dwelt a band of holy men,
Who'd taken refuge there.
And, in the desert's solitude,
They spurned all earthly folly
To devote their lives to holy works,
To fasting and to prayer.
Now, one monk whom I solely mention,
Of this band of holy men,
Was known as Athanael,
He was famous, near and far.
At fasting bouts or prayer, with him,
No other could compare to him,
At grand and lofty praying
He could do the course in par.
One night, while sleeping heavily,
While wrestling with the Devil he
Had gone to bed exhausted
While the sun was shining still.
He had a vision Freudian,
And, though he was annoyed he
Analyzed it in the well-known style
Of doctors Jung and Brill.
He dreamed of Alexandria,
Of wicked Alexandria.
A crowd of men was cheering,
In a manner rather rude;
As Thais, who was dancing there
And Athanael glancing there,
Observed her do the shimmy
In what artists call the nude.
Says he, this dream fantastical
Disturbs my thoughts monastical!
Some unsuppressed desire, I fear
Has found my monkish cell.
I blushed up to the hat of me,
To view that girl's anatomy!
I'll go to Alexandria,
And save her soul from hell!
So, pausing not to wonder where
He'd left his summer underwear,
He quickly packed his evening clothes,
His toothbrush and his vest.
To guard against exposure he
Threw on some woolen hosiery,
And, bidding all the boys goodbye,
He started on his quest.
The monk, though warned and forified,
Was deeply shocked and mortified
To find, on his arrival
Wild debauchery in sway!
While some were in a stupor sent
By booze of over two percent,
The others were behaving
In a most immoral way.
He says, to Thais, "Pardon me,
Although this job goes hard on me
I've got to put wise
To what I've come down here to tell.
Cut out this pie-eyed retinue,
What's all this sousin' gettin' you?
Let's hit the trail together, kid
And save your soul from hell!"
Although this bold admonishment
Caused Thais some astonishment,
She coyly answered, "Say,
You said a heaping mouthfull, beau!
This burg's a drag, I'm tellin' you,
The brand of hooch they're sellin' you
Ain't like the stuff we used to get,
So, let's pack up and go."
So, forth from Alexandria,
From Wicked Alexandria,
Across the desert's sands they go,
Beneath the rising sun,
Till Thais, parched and sweltering,
Finds refuge in the sheltering,
Seclusion of a convent -
In the habit of a NUN!
And, now the monk is terrified,
To find his fears are verified.
His holy vows of chastity
Have CRACKED beneath the strain.
Like one who has a jag on,
He cries out in grief and a-gon-y,
"I'd sell my soul to see her do the shimmy once again!"