Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, Make me a child again, just for to night! Mother, come back from the echoless shore, Take me again to your heart, as of yore; Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care, Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair, Over my slumbers your loving watch keep, Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears,
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,
Take them and give me my childhood again;
I have grown weary of dust and decay,
Weary of flinging my soul-wealth away;
Weary of sowing for others to reap,
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue, Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you; Many a summer the grass has grown green, Blossomed and faded, our faces between, Yet, with strong yearning and passionate pain, Long 1 to-night for your presence again. Come from the silence so long and so deep, — Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
Over my heart, in days that are flown, No love like mother-love ever has shone; No other worship abides and endures Faithful, unselfish, and patient, like yours ; None like a mother can charm away pain From the sick soul and the world-weary brain ; Slumber's soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep,— Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,. Fall on your shoulders again, as of old; Let it drop over my forehead to-night, Shading my faint eyes away from the light, For with its sunny-edged shadows once more Haply will throng the sweet visions of yore ; Lovingly, softly, its bright billows sweep,— Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
Mother, dear mother, the years have been long Since I last listened your lullaby song; Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem Womanhood's years have been only a dream. Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace, With your light lashes just sweeping my face, — Never hereafter to wake or to weep, — Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep.
The words of this sweet song are very characteristic of their author, Felicia Hemans. The second stanza commemorates the death of her brother, Claude Scott Browne, who was deputy commissary-general at Kingston, Canada, and died there in 1821. The song was a favorite with the Barker family, who gave popular concerts throughout the United States, forty years ago, and the music was arranged by Nathan Barker, one of the quartette.