Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Last Rose of Summer

Wiki: The Last Rose of Summer is a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore, who was a friend of Byron and Shelley. Moore wrote it in 1805 while at Jenkinstown Park in County Kilkenny, Ireland. It is set to a traditional tune called "Aislean an Oigfear" or "The Young Man's Dream",[1] which had been transcribed by Edward Bunting in 1792 based on a performance by harper Donnchadh Ó hÁmsaigh (Denis Hempson) at the Belfast Harp Festival.[2] The Poem and the tune together were published in December 1813 in volume 5 of a collection of Moore's work called A Section of Irish Melodies.

Wiki: Ludwig van Beethoven composed a Theme and Three Variations for flute and piano, Op. 105, based on the song, late in his life.

Ludwig Van Beethoven, Op. 105, 6 Themes and Variations for flute and piano, 4 - Scottish Air in E flat (composed 1818-1819)

Wiki: Felix Mendelssohn composed a Fantasia in E major, Op. 15, based on the song (1827?, publ. London, 1830).

Wiki: Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst wrote a set of variations for the violin on the song; these are considered extremely difficult to play.

Wiki: Benjamin Britten composed an arrangement in E flat major.

Benjamin Britten, The Last Rose of Summer


'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flow'r of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one,
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o'er thy bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie wither'd.
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?