The twelfth of never

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 21 19:43:14 UTC 2006

The tune perhaps did. There's a folksong with the line, among others,
"I gave my love a chicken without any bone," a line that I remember
because of the double-entendre. However, I can't remember whether the
folksong contains the phrase, "twelfth of never."

OTOH, I could have it bass-ackwards, since I heard the pop song a
couple of years or more before I heard the folksong. I.e., the
supposed folksong could very well be based on the pop song and not the
other way around, for all that I know.

BTW, I appreciate your use of "dating colleagues" instead of the more
accurate, in my case, at least, "_dated_ colleagues." ;-)


On 9/21/06, Joanne M. Despres <jdespres at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joanne M. Despres" <jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM>
> Subject:      The twelfth of never
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To my dating colleagues:  would any of you happen to know
> whether the phrase "the twelfth of never" (a poeticism for "never")
> preceded the song recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957?
> Thanks,
> Joanne
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Everybody says, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange
complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is knows how deep
a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our
race. He brought death into the world.

--Sam Clemens

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