[Smt-talk] Looking for bad text settings

David K Feurzeig mozojo at gmail.com
Fri Aug 22 14:17:03 PDT 2014

Recent contributions reminded me of this classic, from Handel's Messiah:

     All we like sheep

     (…have gone astray)

It's not exactly bad scansion, but no native English speaker would have put that pause before completing the simile. (German does not have a homonym that can mean both "resemble" and "are fond of".)

This lick has occasioned adolescent chorister twittering for decades--perhaps centuries?

So has this one, from Mendelssohn's Saint Paul:

He watching over Israel,
Slumbers not nor sleeps.    (read: "slumber, snot, snore, sleep")

Again, nothing "wrong", but one imagines only a non-native speaker could have written it.

David Feurzeig
Associate Professor, Composition and Theory
Department of Music and Dance
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405

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