If I Loved You

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If I Loved You

Lyrics By Oscar Hammerstein II  Music By Richard Rodgers

Tacitly, Julie and Billy understand they do not belong together, but a simple, hypothetical, conditional conversation opens them up to the realization that a genuine bond exists between them. As blossoms fall, this scene/song ends with a passionate embrace.

Like a sequence in opera, “If I Loved You” is a musical conversation – a massive revelation in musical comedy at the time of Carousel’s premiere. Stephen Sondheim has referred to this scene as “probably the singular most important moment in the evolution of contemporary musicals.”

The year Carousel premiered, four different recordings of “If I Loved You” climbed the popular music charts: Perry Como at No. 3 in March, Frank Sinatra at No. 7 in July, and Bing Crosby and Harry James, both at No. 8 that same August. The song returned to the charts in 1954 with a single by Roy Hamilton, and in April 1965, Chad & Jeremy’s recording of “If I Loved You” peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 100.

Later in the show, when Billy returns to earth for a day, he sings a reprise of this song in an attempt to reconnect with the woman he once loved.

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“If I Loved You” LYRICS

Billy: [spoken]
That your name? Julie? Julie somethin’?

Julie: [sung]
Julie Jordan.

Billy: [sung]
You’re a queer one, Julie Jordan.
Ain’t you sorry that you didn’t run away?
You can still go, if you wanta—

Julie:
I reckon that I keer t’choose t’stay.

You couldn’t take my money
If I didn’t hev any,
And I don’t hev a penny, that’s true!
And if I did hev money
You couldn’t take any
’Cause you’d ask, and I’d give it to you!

Billy:
You’re a queer one, Julie Jordan.
Have y’ever had a feller you give money to?

Julie:
No.

Billy:
Ain’t y’ever had a feller at all?

Julie:
No.

Billy:
Well y’musta had a feller you went walkin’ with—

Julie:
Yes.

Billy:
Where’d you walk?

Julie:
Nowhere special I recall.

Billy:
In the woods?

Julie:
No.

Billy:
On the beach?

Julie:
No.

Billy:
Did you love him?

Julie: [spoken]
No! Never loved no one—I told you that!

Billy: [spoken]
Say, you’re a funny kid.
Want to go into town and dance maybe? Or—

Julie: [spoken]
No. I have to be keerful.

Billy: [spoken]
Of what?

Julie: [spoken]
My character.
Y’see, I’m never goin’ to marry.

[sung]
I’m never goin’ to marry.
If I was goin’ to marry,
I wouldn’t hev t’be sech a stickler.
But I’m never goin’ to marry,
And a girl who don’t marry
Has got to be much more pertickler!

Billy:
Suppose I was to say to you that I’d marry you?

Julie:
You?

Billy:
That scares you, don’t it?
You’re thinkin’ what that cop said.

Julie:
No, I ain’t. I never paid no mind to what he said.

Billy:
But you wouldn’t marry anyone like me, would you?

Julie:
Yes, I would, if I loved you.
It wouldn’t make any difference what you—even if I died fer it.

Billy:
How do you know what you’d do if you loved me?
Or how you’d feel—or any thin’?

Julie:
I dunno how I know.

Billy:
Ah—

Julie:
Jest the same, I know how I—how it’d be—if I loved you.

[sung]
When I worked in the mill, weavin’ at the loom
I’d gaze absentminded at the roof,
And half the time the shuttle’d tangle in the threads,
And the warp’d get mixed with the woof…
If I loved you—

Billy: [spoken]
But you don’t.

Julie: [spoken]
No, I don’t…

[sung]
But somehow I ken see
Jest exackly how I’d be…

If I loved you,
Time and again I would try to say
All I’d want you to know.

If I loved you,
Words wouldn’t come in an easy way—
Round in circles I’d go!

Longin’ to tell you, but afraid and shy,
I’d let my golden chances pass me by.

Soon you’d leave me,
Off you would go in the mist of day,
Never, never to know
How I loved you—
If I loved you.

Billy: [spoken]
Well, anyway—you don’t love me. That’s what you said.

Julie: [spoken]
Yes…I can smell them, can you?
The blossoms. The wind brings them down.

Billy: [spoken]
Ain’t much wind tonight. Hardly any.

[sung]
You can’t hear a sound—not the turn of a leaf,
Nor the fall of a wave, hittin’ the sand.
The tide’s creepin’ up on the beach like a thief,
Afraid to be caught stealin’ the land.
On a night like this I start to wonder what life is all about.

Julie: [sung]
And I always say two heads are better than one, to figger it out.

Billy: [spoken]
I don’t need you or anyone to help me.
I got it figgered out for myself. We ain’t important. What are we?
A couple of specks of nothin’. Look up there.

[sung]
There’s a helluva lot o’ stars in the sky,
And the sky’s so big the sea looks small,
And two little people—
You and I—
We don’t count at all.

[spoken]
You’re a funny kid. Don’t remember ever meetin’ a girl like you.
You—are you tryin’ t’get me to marry you?

Julie: [spoken]
No.

Billy: [spoken]
Then what’s puttin’ it into my head?
You’re different all right.
Don’t know what it is.
You look up at me with that little kid face like—like you trusted me.
I wonder what it’d be like.

Julie: [spoken]
What?

Billy: [spoken]
Nothin’.
I know what it’d be like.
It’d be awful.
I can just see myself—

[sung]
Kinda scrawny and pale, pickin’ at my food,
And lovesick like any other guy—
I’d throw away my sweater and dress up like a dude
In a dickey and a collar and a tie…
If I loved you—

Julie: [spoken]
But you don’t.

Billy: [spoken]
No I don’t.

[sung]
But somehow I can see
Just exactly how I’d be.

If I loved you,
Time and again I would try to say
All I’d want you to know.

If I loved you,
Words wouldn’t come in an easy way—
Round in circles I’d go!

Longin’ to tell you, but afraid and shy,
I’d let my golden chances pass me by.

Soon you’d leave me,
Off you would go in the mist of day,
Never, never to know
How I loved you—
If I loved you.

[spoken]
I’m not a feller to marry anybody.
Even if a girl was foolish enough to want me to, I wouldn’t.

Julie: [spoken]
Don’t worry about it—Billy.

Billy: [spoken]
Who’s worried!

Julie: [spoken]
You’re right about there bein’ no wind.
The blossoms are jest comin’ down by theirselves.
Jest their time to, I reckon.