Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

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

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Thomas Moore sang his own songs with such effect, that singer and listener often wept together. He had selected the sweetest airs of his country, and had versified senti­ments that would suit them, in a mood suggested by them, and it was a great trial to him that choking sobs would overwhelm him when he most longed for self-control. After the loss of his children he was often afraid to attempt pathetic music. The song of his which follows commemorates the love and sorrow of a beautiful girl, and her lover. The lady was Miss Sarah Curran, and the lover was Robert Emmet. Washington Irving thus tells the story:
"Every one must recollect the tragical story of young E--------, the Irish patriot; it
was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the trOURles in Ireland, he was tried, con­demned, and executed, on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy. He was so young—so intelligent—so generous—so brave—so everything that we are apt to like in a young man. His conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country—the eloquent vindication of his name—and his pathetic appeal to posterity, in the hopeless hour of condemnation—all these entered deeply into every generous bosom, and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution.
" But there was one heart, whose anguish it would be impossible to describe. In hap­pier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the disinterested fervor of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him; when blasted in fortune, and disgrace and danger darkened around his name, she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes, what must have been the agony of her whose whole soul was occupied by his image! Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth—who have sat at its thresh­old, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed.
"To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachment, and was an exile from the paternal roof. The Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society, and they tried by all kinds of occupation and amusement to dis­sipate her grief, and wean her from the tragical story of her love. But it was all in vain.