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Antihymeneal Hymns
"Songs Against Marriage"

Written 1964

 

Background:  In high school, I wrote a script for a proposed musical play called Follow Your Star.  For more details, click the logo.

The musical numbers were, in general, not original.  The score was a pasticcio of all sorts of existing music, from Bach to polkas, with lyrics that could be made to fit the plot.  (The title came from a Rodgers and Hammerstein song, "Hello, Young Lovers" from The King and I.)

Here are three cases, however, where I wrote original lyrics to existing music.  Perhaps to offset the conventional love-and-marriage mindset of the rest of the songs, these parodies took an opposing view.

 

First, the characters Fred and George proclaim their steadfast bachelorhood.

When girls chase you, don't give in;
They can't catch stouthearted men.
Such a girl will never win.

 
And then to the martial 1927 tune of Sigmund Romberg's operetta song, "Stouthearted Men," they sing not Oscar Hammerstein's words, but mine.


FRED (in minor key):
Men!
Take your stand!
Valiant men!
Be not dismayed!

Though
Near at hand
Danger lurks,
Be not afraid!

GEORGE:
Though your way be hard and oppressive,
Never give up hope, never fail.

FRED (in major key):
You
Can be free!
There's a way:
Follow me!

(back to minor)
For a harried man
Is the married man.
(modulation to refrain)

GEORGE:
Show me ten men
Who are stouthearted men,
Who endure all the terrors of wars;
Show me ten men
Who are stouthearted men,
And I'll show you ten bachelors!

FRED:
But I would bet
You can't show me ten men
Who are stouthearted men.

GEORGE:
Not today.

BOTH:
Yes,
The fairer sex
Can make men do whate'er they say,
But when
Stouthearted men
Stand firm, the girls are kept away!


Update:  In 2002 I discovered two additional verses that I wrote for a reprise of this song.  A couple named Albert and Henrietta, who seem to be having marital troubles, take turns coming downstage and singing to the audience.

ALBERT:
Men!
Let's rebel!
To your wives
No longer cling.

You
Cannot tell
All the cares
And woes they bring.

Wives are selfish, and they're oppressive;
They complain and nag all the time.

You
Can be free!
There's a way:
Follow me!

For the married man
Is a harried man.

HENRIETTA:
Wives!
Let them go!
Men are cads,
Selfish and cruel.

You
Surely know
How they use
You as a tool.

Husbands want to make all decisions;
They impose on you their own will.

You
Can be free!
Have a thrill;
Follow me!

There is no worse life
Than to be a wife.

But then other characters interrupt:  Eeney, Meeney, Miney, and Jane.  Pretending to be gipsies who are "always happy like a meadowlark in Budapest," Jane and her friends sing and ultimately dance the following.

Children, hush!  When two are wed,
     Selfishness expires;
Put your spouse's int'rests ahead
     Of your own desires.

Marriage should be free from hate.
     Spite should be sent winging.
When your wife's a little bit late,
When he says that you're overweight,
Laugh it off!  Forgive your mate;
     Be glad he's yours, and sing . . .

How naynee naynee now!
How naynee naynee now,
How naynee naynee now,
     How naynee now;
Alaykee leedy bord,
Alaykee leedy cord,
Alaykee leedy dord,
     How naynee now!

Johoo dehay de boe,
Johoo dehay de coe,
Johoo dehay de doe,
     How naynee now;
Pow haydee saydee bot,
Pow haydee saydee cot,
Pow haydee saydee dot,
     How naynee now!  Olé!

The first half of this piece is set to Tchaikovsky's Chanson Triste, Opus 40, Number 2.  But when I wrote that chorus, I must have been "speaking in tongues."  Or perhaps I was anticipating the musical Hair, which came out a few years later and included these lyrics in the song "Good Morning Starshine":

Gliddy glub gloopy
Nibby nabby noopy
La la la lo lo
Sabba sibby sabba
Nooby abba nabba
Le le lo lo
Tooby ooby walla
Nooby abba naba
Early morning singing song


The second song showed women in favor of independence, at least until Mr. Right comes along.  The character Marianne sings "Bidin' My Time" as originally written in 1930 by George and Ira Gershwin.  But for the character Mrs. Faversham, I also wrote a counter-melody, a simple, gently swinging tune with its own words.  (At least I think I wrote this melody; I could well have heard it somewhere.)

After an introduction consisting of a single note, Mrs. Faversham sings my first verse; her part is given in red.  Then Marianne (in blue) comes in with the Gershwin tune while Mrs. Faversham continues.  Finally for the last chorus, both join with Marianne's friend Jeannette to jazz up the Gershwin version.  I had been influenced by watching jazzed-up Gershwin like this on TV.


There's never been a reason
To dispute the mating season;
But you must, with care, remember
This is May, and not September.

You've got your life to live, so don't be in a hurry.
You've got your love to give; you'll find someone, don't worry.
Never ask for trouble but just keep busy
And take it easy and bide your time!

 

I'm                         bidin' my time,                              'cause
     You've got your life     to live, so don't be in a hurry.

That's                  the kinda gal         I'm;
          You've got your love to give;        you'll find someone, don't worry.

While other folks grow dizzy,       I   keep busy
          Never ask for trouble but just keep busy

Bid        -         in' my     time.
      And take it easy and bide your time!

Next year, next year,
Somethin's bound to happen;
This year, this year,
I'll just keep on nappin', and

Bid          -        in'         my time,                                'cause
      So you can see, my dear,     there is advantage to it; 

That's               the kinda gal I'm;
         Just keep on sitting here,

                                There's no       regrettin'
And plan before you do it.  There is opportunity,

When      I'm settin'
Don't use importunity;

Bid         -         in' my     time.
       Just take it easy and bide your time!

 

ALL:  I'm just bidin' my time,
'Cause that is the kinda gal that I'm;
While other folks grow dizzy,
I keep busy
Bidin' my time.

Next year, next year,
Somethin' is bound to happen;
This year, yes, this year,
I will just keep right on nappin',

And bi-bi-bidin' my time,
'Cause that (beat) kinda gal I'm;
There is no regrettin' when I am settin'
Takin' it easy and bidin' my time!

Takin' it easy, takin' it easy,
Takin' it easy and bidin' my time!


The final song, which I like the most, is for men's voices in four parts.  It's set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The music is the seventh movement (Tempo di Borea) from Partita No. 1 in B minor for solo violin, BWV 1002.  You can hear a MIDI version by clicking here.  I must have encountered it in a piano transcription that claimed to be from Bach's "Second Violin-Sonata."  That's apparently inaccurate, and I didn't identify the correct work until 2004.  (Bach wrote a lot of music.)

My arrangement is in G minor and marked Allegro con Spirito.  You can see the manuscript by clicking here.

The words are perhaps a little anti-feminist.


ALL:  They don't make girls the same nowadays.
They don't make girls as they used to do.

Not so sweet,
Oh, no, they're not quite so sweet;
Not so kind,
Oh, no, they're not quite so kind;
Not so sweet, not so kind,
Not the way they used to be.

The maids today aren't olden-time maids,
Not golden-time maids.
Oh, how we yearn for yesteryear's maids,
Pretty maids,
Simple maids,
Lovely maids . . .
Oh, yes!
For, generally speaking,
Girls today are not the same!

 

They don't make girls the same nowadays.
They don't make girls as they used to do.

Not so meek,
Oh, no, they're not quite so meek;
Not so mild,
Oh, no, they're not quite so mild;
Not so meek, not so mild,
Not the way they used to be.

The quiet maids the world used to know,
Oh, where did they go?
Today's bold maidens must run the show.
Gentle?  No.
Charming?  No.
They make dough . . .
Oh, yes!
For, generally speaking,
Girls today are not the same!

 

SOLO:  And folks ask, "Why is chivalry dead?
Why do men not show respect to women?
I wonder why."
It's because the women aren't so tame!
For damsels in distress have a charm
That makes men want to help them all they can,
But today's females have gained all the rights
That the males have, so they don't need any man to help them.
Girls today are not the same!

ALL:  They don't need us, they say;
"Why not throw men away?"
We don't like this attitude,
For it deprives our starving egos of their food
To think that helpless little females
Get along without us long, without us.
We don't like to think they
Can be strong without us long, without us.
We are men, and strong,
And they are wrong,
And they are wrong without us!
(INSTRUMENTAL:  Girls today are not the same!)

ALL:  It is we who are strong!
SOLO:  And our women should be soft and feminine . . .
ALL:  Once they were.
Once they were.
Once they were.
Why not now?

 

They don't make girls the same nowadays.
They don't make girls as they used to do.

Not so sweet,
Oh, no, they're not quite so sweet;
Not so kind,
Oh, no, they're not quite so kind;
Not so sweet, not so kind,
Not the way they used to be.

The maids today aren't olden-time maids,
Not golden-time maids.
Oh, how we yearn for yesteryear's maids,
Pretty maids,
Simple maids,
Lovely maids . . .
Oh, yes!
For, generally speaking,
Girls today are not the same!

They don't make girls the same these days.
They don't make girls the same!

 

TBT

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