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Familiar Guitar Quotations

. . . or maybe (Not So) Familiar Guitar Quotation (singular), as per the World Wide Web Truth in Titling Act, Berne, Sept. 9, 1886, 828 U.N.T.S. 221.

 
There's an electronic version of John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations out on the web. (Go to www.columbia.edu/acis/bartleby/bartlett - but not now!) This is the book's 9th edition, published 1901. Its full title is "Familiar Quotations: a collection of passages, phrases, and proverbs traced to their sources in ancient and modern literature".

In its 1158 pages, there is exactly one quote with the word "guitar" in it.

It goes like this (let me clear my throat, ahem, ahem, ahem):

Gayly the troubadour
Touched his guitar.

(Bravo! Hoorah! clap clap clap.)

This was written by Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) in a work (a song?) called "Welcome Me Home".

According to Bartlett, Thomas Bayly is also responsible for other such chestnuts as:

We met,--'t was in a crowd.

and,

Why don't the men propose, Mamma?
Why don't the men propose?

All right, I'll admit I haven't used those much lately.

Kidding aside, Bayly has for me, personally, a sentimental connection with the guitar. He was the man who wrote these words:

Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, long ago, long, long ago.

My understanding is he wrote the tune, as well, to the song Long, Long Ago. The arrangement by Mel Bay in Volume 1 of his Classic Guitar Method (page 25) was one of the very first pieces I ever played with independent melody and bass lines. When I got them going, I just couldn't believe this incredible thing coming out of my guitar. It was a buzz (and I'm not talking about the bass strings rattling against the frets.)

And I can't imagine a sweeter song to have been working on at that historic moment in my life. Thank you for that, Thomas! It will always have a nice, warm spot in my heart.

 


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