A Little Priest

A Little Priest


“A Little Priest” is a song from the renowned musical “Sweeney Todd.” In this dark and humorous number, the characters Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd discuss the idea of using human meat for their meat pies. The song highlights their macabre sense of humor as they explore the different flavors and qualities of various professions, ultimately deciding to offer a wide variety of pies to their customers. Let’s delve into the details of this intriguing and slightly unsettling song.

The Shameful Waste

The song begins with Mrs. Lovett lamenting, “Seems a downright shame…” Sweeney Todd, curious about her statement, asks her to clarify. Mrs. Lovett explains that it is an awful waste not to make use of the bodies of the deceased. She suggests that they could use the flesh of these individuals in their meat pies, ensuring that it doesn’t go to waste. She also mentions the difficulty in tracing the origin of the meat, which adds to the appeal of their plan.

A Business Opportunity

Mrs. Lovett further proposes that using human meat would not only prevent waste but also provide a lift to their struggling business. They have debts to be erased, and she suggests that incorporating human flesh into their pies could be seen as a form of thrift and a gift to their customers. By doing so, they would attract more patrons and increase their profits.

A Delectable Proposition

Sweeney Todd, initially skeptical, starts to warm up to the idea. He acknowledges the practicality and appropriateness of Mrs. Lovett’s proposition. He expresses his astonishment at how he managed to live without her ideas for so many years. Sweeney Todd finds the notion of using human meat delectable, as it offers a unique and undetectable taste. He remarks on its choice and rarity, appreciating the culinary possibilities it presents.

Exploring Professions

Engaged in their dark humor, Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd discuss the various professions they can use for their meat pies. They mention Mrs. Mooney and her pie shop, which has been thriving by using only cats and toast. However, they suggest that cats can only provide six or seven pies at most, and the taste cannot compare to that of human flesh. They then delve into the idea of incorporating the meat of different professions, discussing the flavors and qualities each would bring to their pies.

The Priest

The characters focus on the potential of using the meat of a priest. Mrs. Lovett emphasizes that priests do not commit sins of the flesh, making their meat particularly fresh. Sweeney Todd raises concerns about the fat content, to which Mrs. Lovett replies that the fat only remains where it sat and assures him that they could find other options if he preferred something leaner.

The Lawyer and Other Professions

Mrs. Lovett suggests the idea of using the meat of a lawyer, which Sweeney Todd considers if the price is right. However, she advises against having it as the main course, suggesting something else to follow. They joke about not wanting customers to swallow the same profession’s meat twice. Sweeney Todd then asks about options that are leaner, and Mrs. Lovett suggests the meat of a Royal Marine for the British and loyal customers, highlighting its cleanliness.

A Disturbing Menu

The characters continue to playfully explore different professions for their meat pies. They suggest using the meat of a grocer, which Sweeney Todd mistakes for a squire or vicar due to its appearance. Mrs. Lovett insists it is indeed grocer meat, pointing out its green color. They discuss how their unique menu could save graves and do favors for relatives, highlighting the dark irony of serving those below who are now serving those above.

The Fop, the Friar, and the Actor

Mrs. Lovett then suggests using the meat of a fop, which Sweeney Todd finds appealing. They also consider the meat of a friar, but Sweeney Todd dismisses it as too coarse and mealy. Mrs. Lovett proposes the meat of an actor, which is compact and always arrives overdone. They joke about waiting for a judge to be on the menu before Sweeney Todd expresses his satisfaction with being able to serve anyone and everyone.

Charity and Non-Discrimination

Sweeney Todd urges Mrs. Lovett to have charity towards the world, emphasizing that they should not discriminate between high-born and low-born customers. They decide to serve anyone who walks through their doors, disregarding social status. The characters revel in the idea that they can serve anyone, regardless of their profession or background, highlighting the twisted nature of their business.


“A Little Priest” showcases the dark humor and twisted perspectives of Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd. Through their discussion of using human flesh in their meat pies, they explore the flavors and qualities of various professions. Their macabre jokes and playful banter create a chilling yet intriguing atmosphere. This memorable song leaves audiences with a mix of unease and fascination as they witness the characters’ descent into their twisted culinary world.