This musical piece was written during the period of what was called “the phony war,” from 1939 to 1941, and it recounts an incident during that period in which the U. S. government conducted a test of a new bomb on an isolated island inhabited only by goats

The General and the Goats
Music by Saul Arons
Lyrics by Mike Stratton


Once upon a time, there were fifty goats grazing on a dump (Nyeeh!  Nyeeh!).  
Generally speaking, you’d describe them as pleasingly plump.  (Nyeeh!  Nyeeh!)  
They devoured newspapers and dresses from Klein’s --  
That was a treat – and cans of all kinds –  
And lived in contentment on White Rose and Heinz,  
On the dump.

Spoken:  It was peaceful there on the dump, until one day, along came the army.


Every man an ornamented, decorated officer from West Point!  (Nyeeh!  Nyeeeh!)  
Loaded down with medals, and they said, “This is the best point!   Here!  
And when the goats were surrounded on every flank,  
Up rolled a ten-ton army tank:  
The General!  
With medals up to his chin.

The goats look around and they took the situation in.  (Nyeeh!  Nyeeh!)  
They said, “Glory be, what a peachy collection of tin!”  (Nyeeh!  Nteeh!)  
“Quiet,” said the General.  “I’ll have you drawn and quartered!”  
“Yes,” the goats said meekly, but how their mouths watered!

The General:

Officers of the infantry,  
Realize you’re about to be  
Witnesses to a great experiment to save civilization.   
(Echo): Save civilization.  
The War Department decrees with a smile  
That TNT is now out of style,  
And we’ve got a bomb that’s destined to change the future of the nation.  
(Echo):  The future of the nation.

The Troops:

Remember the stars and stripes forever,  
Remember the fresh green hills of England.

Home of the brave and land of the free,  
Emily Post and the BVD –  
Remember they gave you the Croix de Guerry  
The night you slept with Mata Hari.

Remember your women, remember your children!  
Remember the way they raped your sister –  
Remember the Battle of Waterloo –  
Tippecanoe and Tyler, too –  
Remember the amber waves of grain,  
But most of all, “Remember the Maine!

(A) and (B) are now sung together in counterpoint.

Enter, the Scientist:

The Scientist:

Ever since I can remember,  
I’ve wanted to be a soldier,  
For I know, oh! I know so well  
How the army can mold ya  
Into men –  
But then –  
Although I tried my very best,  
The expansion of my chest  
Was never enough.  
They said I didn’t have the stuff.


They said he didn’t have the stuff. 

I became a microbe hunter.  
Paul DeKruif made people love me.  
Warner Brothers said they might make  
A short subject of me –  
Maybe full length.  
Came the war,  
Oh, bitter was my cup –  
They wouldn’t take my option up,  
And Warner’s got rough –  
They said I didn’t have the stuff.


They said he didn’t have the stuff.

Back I went into my garret –  
DuPont was my example –  
Then one night, one night I had it,  
I fed the first sample  
To my ma.  
(Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!)  
She vanished, alas –  
Became merely gas –  
And left in a huff.  
And then I knew I had the stuff.


Then he knew he had the stuff. .

(The lights go out, there is a tremendous explosion, and when the lights go on ,there are uniforms and weapons strewn about the stage, and only the goats are still there, intact).


That’s what happened to the devastating general and his men.   (Nyeeeh!  Nyeeeh!)  
A matter of record – they were never heard from again.  (Nyeeeh!  Nyeeeh!)  
So listen all you diplomats busy with notes –  
Remember the story of “The General and the Goats.”