Dorothy L. Sayers? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Gossip mongers are obsessed with identifying and publicizing the latest carnal pairings of celebrities. The acclaimed mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers composed a short poem expressing disinterest in this subject, and I have seen two distinct versions of her humorous four lines. Would you please help me to find a citation?
Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in a letter written by Dorothy L. Sayers in 1953. She was responding to John Betjeman who inquired about the poem. Sayers recognized that different versions were circulating, and she presented the following text as genuine: 1
As years come in and years go out
I totter toward the tomb,
Still caring less and less about
Who goes to bed with whom.
Sayers highlighted the rhyme between the first and third lines, and said that the “alliteration in the second line lends, I feel, a kind of rickety dignity to the whole”. The third and fourth lines are spoken together without a pause; referred to as enjambment in poetry. Sayers commented that the rhyme and flow “seem to usher in the final pronouncement with a more breathless solemnity.”
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 2000 Copyright, The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: Volume Four: 1951-1957: In the Midst of Life by Dorothy L. Sayers (Dorothy Leigh Sayers), Chosen and Edited by Barbara Reynolds, Letter from Dorothy L. Sayers to John Betjeman, Letter dated February 2, 1953, Quote Page 80, Published by The Dorothy L. Sayers Society, Carole Green Publishing, Cambridge, England. (Verified with scans from Wheaton College, Buswell Library) ↩