[PW] Request help tracing Dorothy L. Sayers quote: As years come in and years go out / I totter toward the tomb

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 21:07:33 PDT 2018

A list member who has access to the book below would be able to
determine the precise wording of a humorous verse ascribed to the
renowned mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers. An instance of the verse is
contained in several important quotation books, e.g., The Yale Book of
Quotations, Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations, The New Beacon
Book of Quotations by Women, The Macmillan Dictionary of Quotations,
Cassell's Humorous Quotations, and more.

Yet, uncertainty remains because multiple versions of the verse are
circulating. The book below apparently contains a letter written by
Sayers clarifying the topic.

Year: 2000
Title: The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1951-1957
Volume 4: In the Midst of Life
Author: Dorothy L. Sayers (Dorothy Leigh Sayers)
Editor: Barbara Reynolds
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, London
Alternate Publisher: The Dorothy L. Sayers Society
Quote Page 80
Database: Google Books Snippet; data may be inaccurate and must be
verified with hardcopy or scans

[Begin excerpt]
But [in] the original the first two lines are less jaunty, and the
first rhymes with the third, giving (to my mind) a more lapidary

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.
[End excerpt]

If you are willing to help please let me know on-list or off-list. The
goal is to obtain a complete and accurate citation. Scans showing the
metadata and a few pages providing context would be helpful. If the
key text is in a letter then it would be helpful to see the full
letter and to know these important facts: the date, the sender, and
the recipient.

FYI: Below is a different version of the verse that has achieved wide

Year: 1976 (1975 Copyright)
Title: Such a Strange Lady: A Biography of Dorothy L. Sayers
Author: Janet Hitchman
Chapter 12: Final Chapters
Quote Page 179
Publisher: Avon, New York.
Verified with scans

[Begin excerpt]
Her devouring interest in books continued and she was still reading
almost everything that was published, except modern novels. When asked
why she avoided these, she replied wearily,

As I grow older and older
And totter towards the tomb,
I find that I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom.
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

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