"Let Thy Loveliness Fade As It Will"
Context: Moore's Irish Melodies are not properly poetry to be read, but rather lyrics intended to be sung. Moore sang the songs himself, in a true Irish tenor, and his personal performances did much to make them popular in his day. The songs had their origin in 1797 when Moore's attention was drawn to Edward Bunting's General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music (1796). In 1807 Moore contracted with a publisher to supply words to Irish airs, the accompaniments to be written by Sir John Stevenson. Initially, he was paid five hundred pounds a year, and he continued to supply words for music for many years. The line quoted is from a song more notable for melody and sentiment than for depth of thought. The theme can be summed up in a sentence: I shall continue to love you, my dear, even when you are old and your charms have faded. The song begins:
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,Like fairy-gifts fading away,Thou wouldst still be ador'd, as this moment thou art,Let thy loveliness fade as it will,And around the dear ruin each wish of my heartWould entwine itself verdantly still.