So yes….this was actually quite a tough theme. I found a famous song that features the word”modern” though. It is an incredibly fast paced tongue twister of a song, full of satire. It is from the musical “Pirates Of Penzance”.
If you know your history you may notice the song is packed with references that all add up to the “education” of the 19th century “modern” major general.
The actual song that I have chosen starts at 2:40 on the YouTube video below. Can you keep up with him?
I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical; I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical, About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news, With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. I'm very good at integral and differential calculus; I know the scientific names of beings animalculous: In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General. I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's; I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox, I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus, In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous; I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies, I know the croaking from The Frogs of Aristophanes! Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore, And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore. Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform, And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus's uniform: In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General. In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin", When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a Javelin, When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at, And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat" When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery, When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee. For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury, Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century; But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral, I am the very model of a modern Major-General. Written by: W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan