The Last Rose of Summer

Last rose of summer--photo copyright Anne Underwood EnslowLast month I walked past one of the statelier houses on Hudson Street in Hoboken, NJ, my hometown, and was touched by the sight of one last rose in the garden, where the rose bushes had been thick with blossoms just weeks before. It reminded me of the song ‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer, which I recorded in 2009 (singing and playing hammered dulcimer). Click on this link to hear it: ‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer–copyright Anne Enslow and Ridley Enslow (2009).

The melody and lyrics were originally published in Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies, which was issued in “numbers” between 1807 and 1834. The tune was one of 10 on Mary Todd Lincoln’s music box, which is now in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. My husband and I included it on our third CD, Music for Abraham Lincoln: Campaign Songs, Civil War Tunes, Laments for a President.

‘Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one to pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead.

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