If ever I would leave you,
It wouldn’t be in summer.
Seeing you in summer, I never would go.
Your hair streaked with sunlight,
Your lips red as flame,
Your face with a luster
that puts gold to shame.
But if I’d ever leave you,
It couldn’t be in autumn.
How I’d leave in autumn, I never will know.
I’ve seen how you sparkle
When fall nips the air.
I know you in autumn,
And I must be there.
And could I leave you
running merrily through the snow?
Or on a wintry evening
when you catch the fire’s glow?
If ever I would leave you,
How could it be in springtime,
Knowing how in spring I’m bewitched by you so?
Oh, no, not in springtime,
Summer, winter, or fall.
No, never could I leave you at all.
Music by Frederick Loewe and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
from the Broadway musical “Camelot”
Copyright: Chappell & Co. Inc.
The music from the Broadway classic Camelot is as exhilarating today as it was in 1960 when it first took Broadway by storm. Much like its counterpart Brigadoon (which opened in New York in 1949), Camelot is a story about a magical place where the decadence that surrounds our lives today is nonexistent. (Remarkably, but not surprisingly, Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner created the music and lyrics for both Camelot and Brigadoon.)
As everyone knows, the media, ever in search of clever labels, christened the reign of the Kennedy clan as a real-life version of Camelot in the early sixties. (Which, based on later revelations, turned out to be a bit of a stretch.)
Both Camelot and Brigadoon were later made into movies, and if you have not seen either, or both, of them, I highly recommend you do so. Given that we are bombarded by depressing events day in and day out, perhaps it’s healthy to now and then follow the lead of humorist Ashleigh Brilliant, who once remarked, “I have abandoned the search for truth, and am now looking for a good fantasy.” Camelot is a good — a delicious — fantasy!
The lyrics to “If Ever I Would Leave You” provide a feast for hopeless romantics. Who but Alan Jay Lerner could come up with such a slant for expressing a man’s love for a woman? Instead of “I love you, I want to be with you,” his approach was to put Lancelot’s love in the form of a question: “How could I ever leave you?”
Summer? Autumn? Winter? Springtime? No, no, no, and no! Not in springtime,
not in summer, not in winter, not in fall — never could I leave you at all. Trust me, if you can bring yourself to get down on one knee and sing this song to the woman of your dreams (mimicking Robert Goulet’s voice, if at all possible), it would take a hard-hearted women to reject you.
Unfortunately, the only live video of the great Robert Goulet (who played the dashing Lancelot in the original Broadway production of Camelot) singing this elegant love song is in his later years, when his voice was not quite what it was when he took the country by storm with his spine-tingling rendition. Even so, I still associate his booming baritone voice with this ageless love song.
Sadly, Goulet passed away in 2007, at age seventy-three, awaiting a lung transplant. But thanks to modern technology, you can still enjoy listening and watching him sing “If Ever I Would Leave You”:
A special thanks to reader Michael, who managed to locate a video of Robert Goulet, in his role as Lancelot in the original Broadway production of Camelot, singing “If Ever I Should Leave You”: