"to sweat [something] out" -- 146-year antedating, I hope

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 25 02:00:50 UTC 2013

I don't see much similarity either. Different meter, different rhyme
scheme, different subject, different tone - the only connection seems to be
"not in summer."


On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> <
JJJRLandau at netscape.com> wrote:

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> Poster:       "James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com>"
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> Subject:      Re: "to sweat [something] out" -- 146-year antedating, I hope
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, 23 Feb 2013 14:23:38 +0000 "Baker, John" <JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM>
> wrote:
> <quote>
> This obscure poem has a striking resemblance to If Ever I Would Leave
> You, from Camelot.  I wonder if Alan Jay Lerner was somehow aware of it.
> Or was there some kind of literary tradition of writing poems or songs
> in this style?
> <snip>
> [Begin excerpt]
> I Would Not Die at All
> (Second stanza)
> I would not die in summer,
> When trees are filled with fruit
> And every sportsman has a gun,
> The little birds to shoot,
> The girls then wear the bloomer dress,
> And half distract the men,
> It is the time to sweat it out,
> I would not perish then.
> <end quote>
> I doubt there is a connection between the two.  The only similarity is
> that both first stanzas specify not doing something in summer.  The quoted
> poem goes on to give details much more relevant to the season tan does
> Lerner's lyrics:
> If ever I would leave you
> It wouldn't be in summer;
> Seeing you in summer, I never would go.
> Your hair streaked with sunlight...
> Your lips red as flame...
> Your face with a luster
> That puts gold to shame.
> Stylistically, Lerner had the intention of writing lyrics that sounded
> medieval, or compatible with medieval personalities.  The other poem is
> much more comtemporary to the date it was written, referring to "the
> bloomer dress"
> Alan Jay Lerner _The Street Where I Live_ (New York: W. W. Norton and
> Company, 1978, ISBN 0-393-07532-X, page 205) states that he was working on
> the lyrics to this song when his then-wife walked out on him.
>      - Jim Landau
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