The Gondoliers

Act I

Till then, enjoy your dolce far niente – delightful idleness

With pleasure, nobody contradicente – if nobody disagrees

Ben venuti – welcome

Gondolieri carissimi!  Siamo contadine! – Dear gondoliers!  We are peasant girls!

servitori umilissimi! – most humble servants!

Per chi questi fiori bellissimi? – For whom are these most beautiful flowers?

Per voi, bei signori, O eccellentissimi! – For you, dear gentlemen, oh most excellent ones!

O ciel! – Oh, heaven!

Buon giorno, cavalieri – Good morning, gentlemen

Siamo gondolieri / poveri gondolieri – We are gondoliers / poor gondoliers

Signorina, io t’amo! / Contadine siamo. – Lady, I love you! Peasant girls are we.

Since we were short-coated – wearing children’s cloths

Castilian Hilalgo of 95 quarterings – Spanish nobleman, with 95 families in his heraldic shield, representing a fabulous array of noble ancestry.

The halberdiers are mercenary people – Guardsmen armed with ax-like spears

Married by proxy – with someone acting on your behalf, in your absence

very knowing, overflowing, easygoing Paladin – heroic, chivalrous knight of old

To men of grosser clay – of less distinguished and noble blood (clay = body)

Jimp, isn’t she – Slender and elegant

teach him the trade of a Timoneer – from the French “timonier,” helmsman or steersman

lying a corpse on his humble bier – the stand on which a corpse or coffin is placed

your objections are not insuperable – impossible to overcome

’tis a glorious thing, I ween, to be a regular Royal Queen! – I fancy, or believe

She’ll bear away the bell – take first prize; win the contest

the Chancellor in his peruke – powdered wig

Aristocrat who banks with Coutts – old London bank, used by royalty

the noble lord who cleans the plate – silver or gold tableware or ornaments

Act II

Of happiness the very pith in Barataria you may see – essence

This form of government we find the beau ideal of its kind – model of excellence

we may hold a Royal Levée – a court reception, in morning or early afternoon

spend an hour in titivating all our Gentlemen-in-Waiting – sprucing up

the Garter or the Thistle or the Bath – high orders of knighthood

toddle off in semi-state – dressed for ordinary ceremonial occasions; no crown, etc.

having passed the Rubicon – point of no return; river Caesar significantly crossed

Take a pretty little cot – cottage

Dance a cachuca, fandango, bolero – lively Spanish dances

Xeres we’ll drink Manzanilla, Montero – Xeres is sherry; others are varieties of it

Tuck in his tuppenny – schoolboy slang used in leapfrog, meaning “duck his head,” tuppenny meaning two-penny coin, referring to the head

at junket or at jink – words for merrymaking

must be content with toddy – drink of distilled spirits, sugar, and hot water.  Rich people drank wine, while beer and spirits were drunk by the less well-off

Lord Chancellors were cheap as sprats – small fish, like anchovies or sardines

up goes the price of shoddy – cheap fabric made from reclaimed wool

I tried to tame your great progenitor – father

with double-shotted guns and colours nailed unto the mast – cannons loaded with twice the usual shot and flag nailed so it cannot be lowered in surrender

MPs baronetted, sham colonels gazetted – Members of Parliament raised to the rank of baronet (above knight); The London Gazette listed government appointments

Quote me as their great double-barrel – one with a hyphenated name, signifying status

I sit … upon the direction of several Companies bubble – a delusive scheme

merrily crying our “premé,” “stalì” – calls gondoliers use, to avert collisions