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

Donna Halper dlh at donnahalper.com
Thu Sep 20 22:48:39 PDT 2018

On 9/21/2018 12:07 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> 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

For what it's worth, I find the first version ("As years come in and 
years go out")  mentioned on p. 236 of "The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 
Vol II: 1937-1943: From Novelist to Playwright," edited by Barbara 
Reynolds (via Google Books).  It references a 3 March 1941 letter in 
which Sayers says she doesn't believe that morals can be reduced to who 
went to bed with whom. Reynolds, in a footnote, refers back to the "as 
years come in and years go out" version of the quote.  And Reynolds also 
cites comments from Sayers herself, about that specific version of the 
quote and why she wrote it like that, on p. 363 of "Dorothy L. Sayers: 
Her Life and Soul," p. 363 (also via Google Books).  Ralph Hone quotes 
this version of the poem as well in his "The Poetry of Dorothy L. 
Sayers" (p. 152).   But for whatever reason, newspapers do not quote 
this version.  The other version, about "as I grow older and older" is 
often repeated by newspaper columnists in the 1980s and 1990s.

Donna L. Halper, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication & Media Studies
Lesley University, Cambridge MA

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