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(learned from Song Fest and at Teton Tea Parties; written by Newman Levy in 1923)

(music to go here)

Oh, once in Alexandria, in wicked Alexandria
Where nights are wild with revelry, and life is but a game,
There lived, so the report is, and adventuress and courtezan,
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 built a refuge there,
And in the desert's solitude, they spurned all earthly folly to d-
Evote 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 with him,
At grand and lofty praying he could do the course in par.

One night while sleeping heavily from 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 an-
Alyzed in the well-known style of Drs. Jung and Brill.

He dreamed of Alexandria, of wicked Alexandria,
A crowd of men were shouting in a manner rather rude
At 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 o' me, to see that girl's anatomy;
I'll go to Alexandria, to save her soul from hell.

So, pausing not to wonder where he'd put his winter underwear
He quickly packed his evening clothes, a toothbrush, and a vest;
To guard against exposure, he put in some woolen hosiery,
Then bidding all the boys goodbye he started on his quest.

The monk, though he was fortified, was deeply shocked and mortified,
To find on his arrival wild debauchery in sway;
While some lay in a stupor sent by booze of more than two percent
The others were behaving in a most immoral way.

Says he to Thais, Pardon me, although this job is hard on me
I got to put you wise to what I come down here to tell;
What's all this sousin' gettin' you? cut out this pie-eyed retinue,
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 mouthful, Bo,
This burg's a frost, I'm telling you, the brand of hooch they're selling 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 burning sands they go, beneath the blazing sun,
Till Thais, parched and sweltering, finds refuge in the sheltering
Seclusion of a convent and the habit of a nun.

But 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 agony
I'd sell my soul to see her do the shimmy once again.

But, alas, his pleading clamorous, though passionate and amorous,
Has come too late, the courtezan has danced her final dance;
Says he, Now, that's a joke on me, for that there dame to croak on me;
I hadn't oughta passed her up the time I had the chance.

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)