July
The Wanderer’s Lullaby
Eliza Flower (1803–1846)
for solo voice and piano
performed by
Kezia Robson – Soprano
Frances M Lynch – Piano

Words by Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848)
You can follow the text on the video above

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Kezia Robson

a young white girl with long brown hair is sitting at the foot of a gree surrounded by greenery and white flowers. In the back ground are more trees and a blue sky

Kezia is a London based freelance soprano who recently took part in the ELECTRIC VOICE THEATRE Young Singers Programme. Whilst studying anthropology and sociology at Durham University, she discovered a love of singing and opera and took a postgraduate course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. Kezia enjoys long walks with her overgrown English Pointer, Fingal (named after the legendary Celtic hero, but sadly very unheroic himself, being scared of Chihuahuas). She also enjoys reading, watching musicals, running and attempting different dance genres including Flamenco, Salsa and 80s aerobics.

Sepia drawing of the head of the composer surrounded by flowers

Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846)

Tinted lithograph of a drawing by Mrs E Bridell Fox, 1898/99 courtesy of Conway Hall Ethical Society

In nature the flower of this month is Larkspur also known as delphinium, which represents love and joy.

spikes of brilliant blue flowers rise above deep green foliage

July
The Wanderer’s Lullaby

from
“Songs of the Months”
published by A J Novello, December 1834

The short editorial introduction explains that each song appeared throughout 1834 in the Monthly Repository – a publication associated with South Place Chapel where Flower’s life and work was based.

We are releasing each song in its allotted month during 2023. Please go to our Flower of the Month page for more information and to hear all of the songs we’ve recorded so far.

July
“The Wanderer’s Lullaby”
 Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848)

“She succeeded in securing the cradle-basket to the bough, so that it would rock with a gentle touch, she then began tenderly to move it, and at the same time to sing in a low lulling tone, an Air, which at first recalled the well known “Rising of the lark” but as it went on proved to be of an entirely different character”……………

Verse 1

Sleep, my child! And take they rest
Sleep! As on thy mother’s breast
Sleep! My bird within thy nest,
Nor restless move.
God will guard thee with his care, –
All things good and all things fair
Bless thee in thy leafy lair,
With looks of love.
Sleep, my child! O take they rest
Sleep! As on thy mother’s breast
Sleep! My bird within thy nest,
Nor restless move.

Verse 2

Things that fly on gauzy wing,
Lulling thee, forget their sting!
Airs come sweetly whispering,
And cool the grove!
Though the sun, with scorching heat,
Try to pierce thy green retreat,
Like soft wings the branches meet
To shade my dove.
Then sleep, my child! O take they rest
Sleep! As on thy mother’s breast
Sleep! My bird within they nest,
Nor restless move.

Tinted lithograph after Margaret Gillies, courtesy of Conway Hall Ethical Society

The words of the song were written by Eliza’s sister

Sarah Flower Adams (1805-1848)
Poet, Singer and Actor

It is one of many songs the sisters wrote together, but there is something particularly poignant about this lullaby written by two childless women, yet describing, not a romantic idyll but the very real scenario of a mother trying to find a way of getting her baby to sleep in scorching hot July weather (unlike this year!) with insects rather annoyingly flying around (probably rather more of them than sadly we have now).

As with most of the other songs in the volume, the score has the 1st verse written out with an indication to sing the 2nd verse to the same music – the full text appears on a separate page. However, echoing Flower’s scene setting in her Musical Illustrations of the Waverley Novels (Sir Walter Scott), there is an added introduction which only appears on the score, seemingly intended to be spoken before the song begins – we’ve added an extra piano chorus underneath. It depicts a woman, a traveller, who ties her baby’s cradle to a tree, and as she rocks it she sings and improvises on a well-known song.

Did Sarah actually see this happen or was it perhaps a scene from one of their favourite novels? The “well known tune Rising of the Lark” bears no relation to the Welsh folk song of the same name (Haydn made a setting of that one), so perhaps there was another, even possibly one of Eliza’s own tunes.
Whatever the truth behind this gorgeous lullaby, it is certainly one which should be well known once more.

the electric voice theatre logo - just the words on some spikes of colour

raising the profile of music by women