Quartet Erotica
Life Begins At 8:40, (1934)
Quartet Erotica
Ira Gershwin & E. Y. Harburg (w), Harold Arlen (m)
Life Begins At 8:40, 1934
VERSE 1
We once won all the glories
For writing dirty stories—
Sophisticated people thought our bawdiness immense.
We once stopped all the traffic
With stories pornographic—
But we can see the handwriting on the fence.
REFRAIN 1
Rabelais, De Maupassant, Boccaccio, Balzac—
Once we were quite the lads;
We thought that our erotica
Was very, very hotica,
But now we’re only four unsullied Galahads,
Rabelais, Balzac, De Maupassant, Boccaccio—
Babes in the wood are we.
The dirt we used to dish up,
Sad to say,
Wouldn’t shock a bishop
Of today;
A volume like Ulysses
Makes us look like four big sissies—
Rabelais, De Maupassant, Boccaccio, Balzac—
Lost all our T.N.T.—
We’re not what we used to be!
VERSE 2
When parents could contrive it,
They read our books in private,
But now we’re sold in Liggetts’ and the kids think we’re a bore;
Because it seems that latterly
They’re reading Lady Chatterly
And The Life and Loves of Evelyn Nesbit they adore.
REFRAIN 2
Rabelais, De Maupassant, Boccaccio, Balzac—
We’ve reached the bitter end.
We’ve staged the final fade-out;
Those happy days are played out
When a Lesbian was an islander and not your wife’s best friend.
Rabelais, Balzac, De Maupassant, Boccaccio—
Babes in the wood are we.
For even with the censors
And Mr. Hays,
The kids know all the enswers
Nowadays.
We’ll go back to our rockers
For we’re just four alter kockers!
Rabelais, De Maupassant, Boccaccio, Balzac—
Lost our virility—
We’re not what we used to be!
Notes
Alter Kicker or Alter Kocker (Yid., ??????? ???????) – a lecherous old man; an old fart (from German Alter "old" and kacker "crapper")?
William Harrison Hays, Sr. (November 5, 1879 – March 7, 1954), was the namesake of the Hays Code for censorship of American films, chairman of the Republican National Committee (1918–1921) and U.S. Postmaster General from 1921 to 1922.
Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967) was an American artists' model and chorus girl, noted for her entanglement in the murder of her ex-lover, architect Stanford White, by her first husband, Harry Kendall Thaw.
2010
Aug 5OFAM 2010Where Did Robinson Crusoe GoJaqua
YearTitleMediumTypeUsage
1934Life Begins At 8:40stagestage originalintroduced
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