Washington. -- A million poets and preachers, novelists and nightriders have tried since the beginning of time to define "being in love." No one has ever done it perfectly, but no one has come closer than our popular songwriters.
I give you today my 10 choices of the best lyrics that describe that heavenly state of surrendering to someone of the opposite sex.
You're in it when you hum Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern's great 1930s lines from Broadway's "Very Warm for May":
Someday my happy arms will hold you, and
Someday I'll know that moment divine
When All The Things You Are are mine.
That's when the simplest touch makes your heart sing with Dinah Washington:
When we walk hand in hand,
The world becomes a wonderland, It's Magic.
How else can I explain
Those rainbows when there is no rain? It's Magic.
Ah, yes, those are the days and nights and months and years when you remember a 1950s movie, and every pulse beat tells you that:
Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
Love is nature's way of giving a reason to be living,
The golden crown that makes a man a king . . .
They say that love is blind. Well, lovers love everything they see. And no one ever expressed this better than Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers with their immortal song:
My Funny Valentine, sweet comic valentine . . .
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak, or you smile?
Don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me . . .
Each day is Valentine's Day.
No, you don't need a glamour girl, or a rich guy, or anything extraordinary when you're in love. So your heart melts to Frank Sinatra crooning the great lyric:
I need no soft lights to enchant me
If you'll only grant me the right
To hold you ever so tight,
And to feel in the night The Nearness of You.
Yes, you know you're lucky in love. You remember the days of doubt and longing. And then Rita Hayworth in the movie "Cover Girl." And now you can sing that memorable lyric:
Long Ago And Far Away
I dreamed a dream one day,
The dream I dreamed was not denied me.
Just one look and then I knew
That all I longed for Long Ago was you.
You're acutely aware that These Foolish Things like tinklin' pianos, stumbling words and airplane trips weakened you to admitting:
You came, you saw, you conquered me.
When you did that to me, I knew somehow
Love had to be.
And whether you're male or female, you know there's nothing sexist about the 1932 advice as to how to sustain love:
It's not just sentimental, she has her grief and her care.
And a word that's soft and gentle makes it
Easier to bear. You won't regret it, women don't
Forget it. Love is their whole happiness.
It's all so easy. Try A Little Tenderness.
In these majestic times, all parties are fun, and when the band plays The Last Dance your feet sing:
They're aware of us, the pair of us,
Alone on the floor, still I want to hold you
Like this, forever and more . . .
When you're in this glorious state, it won't matter whether you're 40 or 80; you can rejoice in singing Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne's great song from the 1947 film "It Happened In Brooklyn":
I only know what I know.
The passing years will show.
You've kept my love so young, so new.
And Time After Time you'll hear me say that I'm
So lucky to be loving you.
Yes, those are the 10 best.
Mr. Rowan and the editor suggest that the reader may wish to present this column, suitably underlined and annotated, to an appropriate person.