One of my favorite secular Christmas carols is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Just recently, I realised the phrase if the fates allow in the song.
A penny for your thoughts.
I’ve also heard it as “If the Saint’s allow”
I think it’s simply a poetic way of saying “God willing”.
I stole Fozzie’s piano arrangement (John Denver and the Muppets) when I was doing the yearly Christmas parties at the local nursing homes. When I got to that line, I always sang “…if the Lord allows.”
That’s the way I have seen it handled before.
It’s a literary reference. Good grief, I hardly think Bing Crosby or whoever it was that really wrote it actually believed in the existance of the Fates, Jove, Pallas or any of the other gods of the pagan pantheon.
Exactly my feelings.
We used to be better educated than we are today, and anyone with an eighth grade education had an understanding of the ‘Fates’ and their role in human affairs.
It’s a literary allusion, nothing more. I don’t think its such a great idea to dumb down the lyrics, or blame the Lord for every little circumstance that may prevent us from fullfilling our plans.
I don’t object to that phrase, but in most versions of the song, they’ve replaced “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” with “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” I wish they hadn’t done that. I’ve always felt that this song is sort of a comfort to people who are trying to muddle through. After all, not everyone is “simply having a wonderful Christmas time” (as another song has it). “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is about finding joy in Christmas even in the midst of trouble.
As I recall from a recent interview clip I saw on the Meet Me in St. Louis DVD, the “they” that did that was the songwriter, at Frank Sinatra’s request. Frankie wanted something a little more cheerful.
Okay, so the Chairman of the Board wanted it, but now that’s the only version we hear any more.
Well, he is the Chairman after all…
You can still hear Judy sing the original in Meet Me in St. Louis.
Love the song, love the movie, but never thought they really fit together. Judy Garland’s character in the film is a teenage girl experiencing first love in 1890s Saint Louis, but she sings like a world weary lounge singer from/in the 40s.