I was just listening to a programme on Elgar and not paying complete attention missed the title of a beautiful poem by his wife.I will try to get the programme on playback if it is on a staion that...

I was just listening to a programme on Elgar and not paying complete attention missed the title of a beautiful poem by his wife.

I will try to get the programme on playback if it is on a staion that provides this option but any help would be gratefully received.

Asked on by pugwash

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jeromeleo | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I think you are speaking of a poem from a collection called the Lute Song. The writer of the lyrics is C. Alice Elgar, the daughter of Henry Roberts; she was born in India.  She marries Elgar and contributes a number of her poems to his music. Her influence on him was very strong as she becomes his inspiration and partner.

 

I am guessing the poem in question is "Love Alone Will Stay," written in three stanzas of three lines with each line rhyming within the stanza.  I include it below.  It is a simple, yet beautiful verse, and if you find the music, you may also find that this is the work in question.  It comes from a song cycle originally called Sea Pictures, and renamed Lute Song.

According the the Elgar Society:

"This collection of five poems [Lute Song] set to music by Elgar has been criticised on a number of pretexts : the poems now seem rather dated; apart from the rather superficial link of the sea, there is no thematic interconnection between the poems, so that the cycle as a whole lacks a coherent structure; and Elgar's settings make little attempt at a grand portrayal of the sea as other composers have successfully attempted.

 

"Fortunately, the listening public pay little heed to such criticisms, for the song cycle remains one of the most popular of Elgar's - and indeed any composer's - vocal works. The second song is of particular interest. .... Elgar set the poem some three years earlier, publishing it separately under the title Love Alone but later incorporated it into the song cycle, in which it is undoubtedly the most charming of the five songs."

Alice Elgar did, however, write other pieces used by her husband, including: "O Happy Eyes" (1889), "The Snow" (1894), and "Fly Singing Bird" (1894).

"Elgar honed in on “Love Alone Will Stay" [Lute Song], a short song for piano and voice that he had composed two years earlier. ... his wife, Caroline Alice Elgar, had written after a long-ago holiday on the Italian island of Capri. After she made slight adjustments to the text, he orchestrated the song as “In Haven.” Alice’s revised poem gave rise to the underlying maritime metaphor that links Sea Pictures...."

Here is the poem; I hope this is the work for which you were searching:

Closely cling, for winds drive fast,

Blossoms perish in the blast,

Love alone will last.

Closely let me hold thy hand,

Storms are sweeping sea and land,

Love alone will stand.

Kiss my lips, and softly say,

"Joy may go and sunlit day,

Love alone will stay."

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