Song Lyric Sunday — “The Last Rose of Summer”

Most weeks, when Helen Vahdati announces the theme for Song Lyric Sunday, I have trouble deciding on a song. Either I have too many ideas to choose from or cannot think of even one. This week, as soon as I saw the theme, Last, I didn’t think twice. The only choice for me is “The Last Rose of Summer” written by Irish poet Thomas Moore in 1805. Published as a song in 1813, the poem was paired with a traditional Irish tune published in 1792.

This haunting song has been recorded by many diverse artists over the past century, but my favorite version is sung by John McDermott, one of the three original Irish Tenors. I was happy to find a video of  the PBS performance that introduced me to the song.  McDermott was not participating in the full performance with the Irish Tenors that night, as his mother had recently passed away, but performed this, his parent’s favorite song, in honor of them. Although he sang only the first and last verses at that time, I have provided all three verses of Moore’s lyrics. (I love McDermott’s rendition so much that I can’t resist posting a second video that is a studio version of all three verses. If I knew how, I would also post audio from McDermott’s 2005 album “A Time To Remember” of his father, Peter McDermott, singing it.)



“The Last Rose of Summer”

‘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.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?



Song Lyric Sunday — “Home From The Sea”

One of my all-time favorite singing groups is Celtic Thunder. It just so happens that a song on their sixth album, “Heritage”, fits the bill for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, search.  Phil Coulter wrote “Home from the Sea” in honor of his brother, who was lost at sea. The song tells a tale of a lifeboat crew’s search for a lost fishing boat. You’ll have to take a listen (or read the lyrics) to see how it works out. Note that the video features George Donaldson, one of the original Celtic Thunder members who I wrote about a couple weeks ago for the SLS “glass” theme.


Home From The Sea

On a cold winters night
With a storm at its height
The lifeboat answered the call.
They pitched and they tossed
Till we thought they were lost
As we watched from the harbor wall.
Though the night was pitch black,
There was no turning back,
For someone was waiting out there,
But each volunteer
Had to live with his fear
As they joined in a silent prayer.
Home, home, home from the sea
Angels of mercy, answer our plea
And carry us home, home, home from the sea
Carry us safely home from the sea.
As they battled their way
Past the mouth of the bay,
It was blowing like never before.
As they gallantly fought,
Every one of them thought
Of loved ones back on the shore.
Then a flicker of light
And they knew they were right.
There she was on the crest of a wave.
She’s an old fishing boat
And she’s barely afloat.
Please God, there are souls we can save.


And back in the town
In a street that runs down
To the sea and the harbor wall,
They’d gathered in pairs
At the foot of the stairs
To wait for the radio call.
And just before dawn
When all hope had gone
Came a hush and a faraway sound.
‘Twas the coxswain he roared
All survivors on board
Thank God and we’re homeward bound.