Sunday, September 2, 2007

Musical diagnosis

Unlikely songs have been running through my mind — and my vocal cords. "Easter Bonnet," "Sweet Caroline." From whence?

Elaine has an explanation. To the tune of "Auld Lang Syne":

I think you've lost your mind, my dear
I think you've lost your mind
I think you've lost your mind, my dear
I think you've lost your mind

comments: 6

JuliaR said...

There's something I've been wondering (about) - the word whence. I thought it meant "from where". Is it redundant to say "from whence"? But you couldn't just write "whence" with a question mark. You'd have to write something like "whence comes this?" or something.

Michael Leddy said...

I thought it'd be funny to use the word whence, and I had the same question. Merriam-Webster give one meaning for whence and from whence: "from what place, source, or cause." There's an example of from whence from Graham Greene: "no one could tell me from whence the gold had come." Some people don't like from whence (see The Whence Offense), but whence by itself, I agree, looks odd as a question.

stefan said...

Thanks, Michael and Juliar. I've wondered about this too, since coming across "whence" years ago in the Yeats poem, "A Stick of Incense." I haven't found a better use of the word since (and I'd quote the short poem here, but it's a bit naughty and irreverent--for those interested, it's easy to find on line).

Eustace Bright said...

Easter Bonnet -- Irving Berlin? That's as happy a song as any to have stuck in the head.

Michael Leddy said...

Oops. I goofed on the link above, so here it is: The Whence Offense.

I haven't thought of that poem for a long time. Thanks for bringing it back, Stefan.

Michael Leddy said...

Eustace -- it's a beautiful song. But after the fourth or fifth trek through "And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure," it feels like an earworm, at least in my ear.