Lorenz Hart


Today’s the birthday of
Lorenz Hart (1895), lyricist half of the famed Rodgers & Hart team. 

Hart struggled with his homosexuality, which was a carefully guarded secret for most of his life.  But what he left us was the most amazingly witty, lyrics in songwriting.

His lyrics include the classics  "Blue Moon", "Isn’t It Romantic?", "The Lady is a Tramp", "Manhattan", "Thou Swell", "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", and "My Funny Valentine" and one of my favorites, the lyrical tongue-twister of a treat, "I Wish I Were in Love Again":

I Wish I Were in Love Again, Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

The sleepless nights,
The daily fights,
The quick toboggan when you reach the heights—
I miss the kisses and I miss the bites.
I wish I were in love again!
The broken dates,
The endless waits,
The lovely loving and the hateful hates,
The conversation with the flying plates—
I wish I were in love again!
No more pain,
No more strain,
Now I’m sane, but …
I would rather be gaga!
The pulled-out fur of cat and cur,
The fine mismating of a him and her—
I’ve learned my lesson, but I
Wish I were in love again.
The furtive sigh,
The blackened eye,
The words ‘I’ll love you till the day I die’,
The self-deception that believes the lie—
I wish I were in love again.
When love congeals
It soon reveals
The faint aroma of performing seals,
The double-crossing of a pair of heels.
I wish I were in love again!
No more care.
No despair.
I’m all there now,
But I’d rather be punch-drunk!
Believe me, sir,
I much prefer
The classic battle of a him and her.
I don’t like quiet and I
Wish I were in love again!

Although his lyrics usually dealt with such standard "boy-meets-girl" fare, his own sentiments seem to creep up in a few of his songs, like "Zip" from "Pal Joey" and "Come with Me" from the musical "The Boys from Syracuse" in which Hart exults in the life of the "bachelor" and the freedom to commit the little "sin" away from condemning eyes.

Come with Me, Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

Come with me
Where the food is free
Where the landlord never comes near you
Be a guest in a house of rest
Where the best of fellows can cheer you.
There’s your own little room
So cool, not too much light
Where you’re one man for whom
No wife waits up at night
When day ends
You have lots of friends
Who will guard you well while you slumber
Safe from battle and strife
Safe from the wind and gale
Come with me to jail

You’ll never have to fetch the milk
Or walk the dog at early dawn
There’s no -"Get up- you’re late for work!"
While you rest in the pearly dawn
You’re never bored by politics
You’re privileged to miss a row
Of tragedies by Sophocles
And diatribes by Cicero
Your brother’s wife will never come
On Sunday noon to bring to you
Her little son who plays the lute,
Her little girl to sing to you
You can commit you little "sin"
And relatives won’t yell "Fie!"
You needn’t take the annual trip 
To the oracle at Delphi
You snore and swear and stretch and yawn
In this, your strictly male house
The only way that sinners go to Heaven
Is in the jailhouse!

For more on Lorenz Hart, visit the Lorenz Hart Website!

This entry was also this day’s Gay Wisdom email
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