The Purple Cow (John Kilpatrick)

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  • (Posted 2003-04-08)  CPDL #04722:  Network.png PDF, MIDI & Overture files
Editor: John Kilpatrick (submitted 2003-04-08).   Score information: A4, 16 pages, 171 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score.

General Information

Title: The Purple Cow
Composer: John Kilpatrick
Lyricist: Gelett Burgesscreate page, The Burgess Nonsense Book

Number of voices: 8vv   Voicing: SSAATTBB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Piano

(or a cappella) A version with wind quintet is included in Cuttings from a Nonsense Book

First published: 2003

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The Purple Cow - Gelett Burgess

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!

The Purpil Cowe - Gelett Burgess

A mayde there was, semely and meke enow,
She sate a-milken of a purpil Cowe:
Rosy hire Cheke as in the Month of Maye,
And sikerly her merry Songe was gay
As of the Larke uprist, washen in Dewe;
Like Shene of Sterres, sperkled hire Eyen two.
Now came ther by that Way a hendy Knight
The Mayde espien in morwening Light.
A faire Person he was - of Corage trewe
With lusty Berd and Chekes of rody Hewe:
Dere Ladye (quode he) far and wide I've straied
Uncouthe Aventure in straunge Contrie made
Fro Berwicke unto Ware. Pardé I vowe
Erewhiles I never saw a purpil Cowe!
Fayn wold I knowe how Catel thus can be?
Tel me I pray you, of yore Courtesie!
The Mayde hire Milken stent - Goode Sir she saide,
The Master's Mandement on vs ylaid
Decrees that in these yclept gilden Houres
Hys Kyne shall ete of nought but Vylet Floures!

Confession - Gelett Burgess

Ah, Yes! I Wrote the "Purple Cow" -
I'm Sorry, now, I Wrote it!
But I can Tell you Anyhow,
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!