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Archive for November, 2010

It must be the snow that is giving rise to this nostalgia.  Wasn’t every winter as white and as angelic as this long ago when we all knew our sweet love of youth?  I know that I then first came to meet the sweet Deanna Durbin when I was in my teens and just beginning my rebellion against the order of the day.

Of course, I would never then have admitted to anything more than a musical interest in her ; but lads don’t tell their mates everything, do they?  At any rate, I was surprised and rather disappointed to learn that she had also been a favourite of my elders and betters.  Good grief!  She was old enough to be my mother.  Born in 1921, she retired in 1949 to live in peace (near Paris) with her husband.  As far as I know she is still there.  I hope so, and I hope too that she reflects shamelessly on the pleasure her singing brought to so many.

Thomas Moore (1779 – 1852) wrote the lines that Deanna here sings.  He was Irish and a poet ; what more need we say?  Only that he was much more than that.  He worked for the Admiralty at some stage ; he knew Byron ; he got into the most horrendous debt and had to flee to Paris until he had paid it off.  And he must have known that Miss Durbin was on her way to the world ; for who could sing his poem quite like this?

’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,
To 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?

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Angels guard thee

 

Angels guard thee

Sung by Kenneth McKellar

Beneath the quiv’ring leaves, where shelter comes at last,
All sadness sinks to rest, or glides into the past;
Her sweet eyes prison’d now, in their soft silken bars,
O! my love, calm she sleeps beneath the trembling stars.

Ah! wake not yet from thy repose,
A fair dream spirit hovers near thee,
Weaving a web of gold and rose,
Through dream land’s happy isles to bear thee!
Sleep, love, it is not yet the dawn,
Angels guard thee, sweet love, til morn!

Far from the noisy throng, by song birds lulled to rest,
Where rock the branches high by breezes soft carres’d;
Softly the days go on, by sorrow all unharm’d,
Thus may life be to thee a sweet existence charm’d.

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Hard on the heels of re-discovering Deanna Durbin came my finding of this, the very first recording of hers that I heard : The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.  Well, actually, it isn’t the same recording, but it is the same song.  I hope you enjoy it too, though I doubt if you’ll hear it as I did when just a lad.

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