Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

When I went to Greece with my father, right after graduating from law school, before moving to New Orleans to work at the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, I brought a single book, The Library of America's American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Volume 2.

One of the things that I liked about the book was that it included songs, American standards and old blues songs.

One night, drunk on white wine and vinsanto, my father and I sang the old Lorenz Hart song, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, from the pages of the book. I couldn't remember how the melody of the first bit - "After one whole quart of brandy" - went but my dad pulled it back from times long past. When the familiar melody started at "I'm wild again, Beguiled again," I was on steady ground. I didn't really sing, but read, the parts between the refrains and my father, a man not afraid to sing, play the trumpet, whistle, or express his musical nature at any place or time, would then belt out, "Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I."

Lorenz Hart, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

After one whole quart of brandy,
Like a daisy I awake
With no Bromo Seltzer handy,
I don't even shake.
Men are not a new sensation;
I've done pretty well, I think.
But this half-pint imitation
Put me on the blink.

I'm wild again, Beguiled again,
A simpering, whimpering child again-
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
Couldn't sleep
And wouldn't sleep
Until I could sleep where I shouldn't sleep
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
Lost my heart but what of it?
My mistake I agree.
He's a laugh, but I love it
Because the laugh's on me.
A pill he is,
But still he is,
All mine and I'll keep him until he is
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered
Like me.

Seen a lot-
I mean a lot-
But now I'm like sweet seventeen a lot-
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
I'll sing to him,
Each spring to him,
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.
When he talks, he is seeking
Words to get off his chest.
Horizontally speaking,
He's at his very best.
Vexed again,
Perplexed again,
Thank God I can be over-sexed again
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.

Sweet again,
Petite again,
And on my proverbial seat again-
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered am I.
What am I?
Half shot am I.
To think that he loves me
So hot am I-
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered am I.
Though at first we said, "No, sir."
Now we're two little dears.
You might say we are closer
Than Roebuck is to Sears.
I'm dumb again
And numb again,
A rich, ready, ripe little plum again-
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.


  1. What is it about Greece? My two most vivid memories of Greece involve music: one, singing Hank Williams' "Jambalaya (On The Bayou)" with my friend Ellen at the top of our lungs as we taxied through Athens looking for a restaurant I'm not sure we ever found; the other, singing Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" on my 21st birthday, again with Ellen and again at the top of our lungs, in a tiny bar on Milos.

    That was a long, long time ago; I haven't been back to Greece in years, and my dear friend Ellen took her own life 13 years and two weeks ago.

    Thanks for your post, and for bringing back some happy memories.

  2. What a wonderful memory.
    Reading through the lyrics I was struck by how many different variations have been recorded - with very different lyrics!
    Many thanks.
    - Lee

  3. I love stories dealing with fathers and their children. I just love fathers. You are lucky to have the memory of your father traveling with you, and adore the memories of my frustratingly funny debates with my Dad. He was a cool father to my siblings and me when we were growing up. Nice story. Thanks for allowing me to remember my past with my dad. It was nice.

  4. Have you ever heard the Rod Stewart and Cher version of that song? It is on one of his "American Song Book" CDs. Its better than anything she ever did with Sony by a long shot, bless his heart. Sometimes when I have a warm fire in the old stove on a cool night with a cold beer I put that on the stereo with a couple of those scented candles burning and remember the glory days of radio. You would have to be old and somewhat romantic to understand but it is worth visiting again.

  5. Hey there, surfed over after Rachel Maddow's recommendation on Twitter.

    Love that song. There are some great versions of it out there on the interwebs.

  6. Thanks for the comments. I plan on writing more about my old man. Even from that trip to Greece, there are so many stories.

    About the song, I think that some of the lines were excluded in various recording because they are a little racy. "Horizontally speaking, he's at his very best." "Thanks God I can be oversexed again." In addition to the classic version of the song by singers like Ella Fitzgerald, I like Rufus Wainwright's rendition: You Tube

  7. One of my favorite tunes - one I play by heart.

    P.S. I have volume I of that set and will gladly lend it to you. You are far more gifted with language (and its appreciation) than I.

    P.P.S. Simply delightful blog.

  8. Thanks for checking it out, Laurel Street. And for the book loan offer. I liked Volume 2 so much that I bought Volume 1 a couple of years back. Though it didn't grab me the same way. Maybe I need to be in the Mediterranean?

  9. Bernard ProfitendieuDecember 22, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    A version at the Goodman in Chicago in the '80s included the line:

    Slipped again,
    Flipped again,
    My chastity belt is unzipped again.

    Here's a fascinating analysis of the ever shifting lyric of this classic song: