An Autumn Song

Eliza Flower (1803–1846)

for soprano, mezzo and piano
performed by

Maxence Marmy – Soprano
Samantha Houston – Mezzo
Frances M Lynch – Piano

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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 Morning Glory which it seems the Victorians believed represented unrequited love, and indeed death. 4 white flowers with broad open petals and a yellow stamen on a mossy bank of autumn colours

Maxence Marmy

A close up photo of the singers with her hand cradling her cheek. She is wearing a frilly off the shoulder white top and her hair is dark and piled on her head

Maxence is a London-based Swiss student who is completing her degree in Musical Theatre at the London College of Music while taking part in the ELECTRIC VOICE THEATRE Young Singers Programme  – including our June Workshops and the June Song of the Month.
She began music with piano lessons, but soon discovered her passion for singing through opera. She particularly enjoys using her voice to create characters and cherishes versatility in her work.
As well as her passion for music, Maxence enjoys dancing, spending time with friends and family, travelling and meeting new people and their cultures.

“An Autumn Song”
Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

Summer waneth night and morning,
Night and morning, waneth!
Flowers are fading on the lea,
Leaves are changing on the tree,
Gossamer is silv’ry bright,
Thistle-down is floating white,
Every blossom’s leaf is shed,
Fruits are hanging ripe and red
Singing birds have flown away,-
After this can summer stay?
No, no,
The year must go,
Summer has departed now.


Autumn cometh night and morning,
Night and morning, cometh!
By the nightly rising moon,
By the splendours of the noon,
By the flowers that have no fellow,
Purple, crimson, gold, and yellow;
By the pattering drily down
Of the nuts and acorns brown,
By the silent forest bough,
All may know ‘tis autumn now.
Fast or slow,
The year must go,
And ‘tis gorgeous autumn now.

Samantha Houston

A close up photo of the singer who is wearing a dark top. She is smiling broadly. Her hair is black and curly, cut above her neck and she is wearing glasses

Samantha has been working with ELECTRIC VOICE THEATRE for the past 2 years, when most of our performances have been live on ZOOM (see some of the videos here). As a result she has become a bit of a tech whizz while singing at her computer – an inconceivable prospect pre-pandemic that is now a vital life skill.
A keen baker, cinema-goer, language learner, and amateur interior designer (with an eye for anything Art Deco), she has just wandered into the world of writing and producing and, after a reading at the Cockpit Theatre, London on Oct 1st, will be looking to stage her play at a small theatre or festival in 2024.

The words of the song were written by Mary Howitt (1799-1888) an English poet and author who is best know for her children’s poem  “The Spider and the Fly

“Will you walk into my parlour?”
said the Spider to the Fly,
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;

The painting below, created in 1846, shows her with her husband William, another author. The artist, Margaret Gillies also made a portrait of Eliza’s sister, the poet Sarah Flower Adams which you can see on the July Flower of the Month Page

A painting of 2 people. The man on the left is standing. He has grey hair which is bald on top and his hand is on his hip. He wears a black frock coat. The woman is seated on the right in a red upholstered and elaboratiely carved chair. She has black hair in ringlets and is wearing a black dress with a white collar. She is writing with a white quill pen in a book

William Howitt (1792–1879) and Mary Howitt (1799–1888), by Margaret Gillies (1803–1887)
Photo Credit: Nottingham City Museums and Galleries (CC BY-NC)

“An Autumn Song”
“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.

By 1897, this publication had become South Place Magazine, which in September that year included an article about Eliza’s transformational work with the choir at the Chapel:-

South Place was at this time (1833) like other Unitarian chapels, until Miss Flower, under the inspiration of Purcell, commenced a reformation in the musical part of the services, which Mary Howitt declares, in her autobiography, “rivalled the attraction to the chapel of its excellent Minister”.

Howitt contributed at least one other text for Flower to set – a hymn “The earth is thine and it thou keepest “, which she arranged to an air of Hummel’s.

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.

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