Now don’t get me wrong – I do feel very deeply about the following songs and arias, but still, they can be overheard in a completely inappropriate way.
#1 Of course, Purcell’s “When I am laid … am laid ….” in earth. from “Dido and Aeneas.” I was so relieved when Stephen Fry and Tim Lihoreau mentioned the ambiguity of this line as well in their wonderful “Incomplete and Utter History of Classical Music” – it comforted me, not only as I wasn’t the only one with a dirty mind, but also because for Fry/Lihoreau, perceiving the utter hilarity of the isolated “When I am laid” is in no way detrimental to the very sincere love for the piece either.
Here the immortal piece is performed by the incomparable Jessye Norman:
#2 “[fa:k me] … cruce custodiri” from Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater” (“Inflammatus et accensus”). (Often the “e” is tainted very lightly into the [i] direction, which makes the impression even more unavoidable for me.) Plus, the specific ‘fac me’ is set to music not only as a plea (the latin “fac me” means “make me” or “let me”), but as an enthusiastic exclamation.
Here the wonderful piece is performed by Céline Scheen and Damien Guilllon.
#3 Since recently, the first lines from “Pizzica di San Vito”, an Italian folk song.
“Non c’era da vinì, non c’era da vinì,
non c’era da vinì e so’ vinutu.”
(Word-for-word: “I shouldn’t have come, I shouldn’t have come, I shouldn’t have come, and (yet) I came.”) That it was the lover’s sighs which caused it as is clarified in the following lines is not actually a big help. (Of course, the intended meaning is closer to ‘I shouldn’t have gone there/come to you, but nevertheless, I did.)
In case you don’t know the song; here it is performed splendidly I find, by Spakka-Neapolis 55:
Please add to the list!