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The lyrics for a song written by in 1985.

Do you think life is like a video-recording?

Verse 1

One night I dreamed that far from earth
in some strange place before my birth,
They offered me complete reviews
of future lives that I might choose,
the pictures passed successively,
just like a strip cut from Eternity.
I looked and saw much to be feared
I quailed, but soon fear disappeared;
I heard my voice
       decide the choice;
And as I spoke,
       in awe I woke;
And now let’s see,
       if you agree;

Refrain 1

Do you think life is like a video-recording,
the whole thing pre-recorded on the tape?
And can you run it through, a preview thus affording
of how your future life is going to shape,
every tiny detail of experience,
the ups and downs that you will meet,
a panorama without variance,
the cup that you will drink complete?
And do you find the tape permits no cancellation?
It’s fixed and that is what you will go through;
no alternatives, no cosy alterations to make things easier:
will you then accept that life for you,
with the somewhat dubious consolation that you knew?

Verse 2

And as I dreamed,
       that’s how it seemed
my lives all there,
       were dull and bare.
But one I saw
       offered much more.

Refrain 2

I scanned this life, and saw my progress and preferment.
I saw what pains and problems would abound.
I reached with interest my decease and my interment.
I read the stone memorial on the ground.

But in searching through the tape before me,
my one particular intent
was could the record reassure me
against one dread presentiment;
That I’d not find you there,
not even in the distance,
no joyous close-up ever would befall.

But I found you were to star in my existence,
for just a short while;
but it was to thrill and to enthral;
we’d enjoy the sweetest brief encounter, but that’s all.

Verse 3

My dream has paled, long, long ago.
       Life without you has seemed so slow.
The years marched on,
       Things come were gone.

Time almost past,
You’re here at last,
       and fate’s decree
can briefly be
       reality,
for you and me.

Refrain 3

And now we’re here together,
I can say, my dearest,
I saw it all before it could come true
But I must also tell you it is but the merest of moments, – 
Soon the ending follows too
So let’s make our time the loveliest and the fairest before it passes,
since I chose this life because I knew
that some day I’d have a blissful hour or two with you;
and perhaps you also pre-viewed me, and chose this too!

© Cambridge University Library MS.Tranchell.1.120. Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Library