Thursday, 25 October 2012

Show Me the Way to Go Home


My last blog was about the class duality found in the English language, the one that comes from its Germanic / Latin roots. What I should have remembered to mention was an old song devised to illustrate these very points.Recall, Noble Reader, the song that featured in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws", which goes:

Show me the way to go home,
I'm tired and I want to go to bed,
I had a little drink about an hour ago,
And it went right to my head.
Wherever you may go,
On land or sea or foam,
You will always hear me singing this song,
Show me the way to go home.

A catchy ditty, if ever there was one, and probably all the catchier due to its use of "low" English. Not much Latin there. But an unknown wit then wrote a parody, which goes like this:

Indicate the approach to my abode,
I'm fatigued and I desire to retire,
I imbibed a soupcon of beverage some sixty minutes ago,
And it went immediately to my cerebellum.
The context in which I perambulate:
Terra firma, ocean or atmospheric vapor,
You can always hear me cantillating this anthem,
Indicate the approach to my abode.

It doesn't scan quite as well as the original, and it makes the singer out to be a very superior personage indeed. In the world of creative writing it's as well to avoid any hint of pomposity, so you may like to bear this in mind when editing your next draft.

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