Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

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

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MY LIFE IS LIKE THE SUMMER ROSE.                                        335
' I, too, had once a brother; he was there
Among the foremost, bravest of the brave; To him this lay was framed with fruitless care;
Sisters for him the sigh in secret gave; For him a mother poured the fervent prayer.
But sigh or prayer availeth not to save A generous victim in a villain's snare:
He found a bloody but inglorious grave,
And never nobler heart was racked by baser glaive.'
The verses, particularly the ' Lament of the Captive/ [the other title for this lyric], were read by the family and some intimate acquaintances; among the rest, the present Secretary of State, and a gentleman, then a student of medicine, now a distinguished physician in Philadelphia, The latter after much importunity procured from me, for a lady in that city, a copy of 'My life is like the summer rose/ with an injunction against publicity,— which the lady herself did not violate; but a musical composer to whom she gave the words for the purpose of setting them, did, and they appeared, I think, first in 1815 or 1816, with my name and addition at full length, to my no small annoyance. Still, I never avowed them; and though continually republished in the newspapers with my name, and a poetical reply, I maintained that newspapers were no authority, and refused to answer further." Mr. Wilde also points to the fact that the description of the " rose" applies to a species of Florida rose, which " opens, fades, and perishes during the summer in less than twelve hours."
The music was composed by Charles Thibault.