Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

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

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This exquisite song, by Charles Kingsley, occurs in his novel of "Alton Locke." The hero says: " After singing two or three songs. Lillian began fingering the keys, and struck into an old air, wild and plaintive, rising and falling like the swell of an iEolian harp upon a distant breeze. 'Ah! now/ she said, 'if I could get words for that! What an exquisite lament somebody might write to it.' * * * My attention was caught by hearing two gentlemen, close to me, discuss a beautiful sketch by Copley Fieiding, if I recollect rightly, which hung on the wall—a wild waste of tidal sands, with here and there a line of stake-nets fluttering in the wind—a gray shroud of rain sweeping up from the westward, through which low, red cliffs glowed dimly in the rays of the setting sun—a train of horses and cattle splashing slowly through shallow, desolate pools and creeks, their wet, red and black hides glittering in one long line of level light. One of the gentle­men had seen the spot represented, at the mouth of the Dee, and began telling wild stories of salmon-fishing and wild-fowl shooting—and then a tale of a girl, who, in bringing her father's cattle home across the sands, had been caught by a sudden flow of the tide, and was found next day a corpse hanging among the stake-nets far below. The tragedy, the art of the picture, the simple, dreary grandeur of the scenery, took possession of me, and I stood gazing a long time, and fancying myself pacing the sands. * * * As I lay castle-building, Lillian's wild air still rang in my ears, and combined itself somehow with the picture of the Cheshire Sands, and the story of the drowned girl, till it shaped itself into a song.''
Lillian's fancied " wild air" could hardly have been finer or more delicately appropri­ate than this one, composed for the poem by Fbancis Boott. Mr. Boott has produced many fine songs by writing music for lyrics of Tennyson, Longfellow, Scott, Byron, Campbell, and others.
By special permission of Messrs. Oliver Ditson & Co.