The last roses of summer here in my Lewes garden.

It is a glorious day here in Lewes in Southern England but tonight we are promised our first frost. My roses don’t want to know this so I am keeping quiet  about it but just in case, I thought I would take a photograph of my small town garden that really doesn’t want to stop flowering yet. It will be especially sad seeing my beautiful Falstaff rose wither on the branch. So I shall enjoy it whilst it lasts.

So here is that song, The Last Rose Of Summer – sung by the American soprano Renee Fleming. It is very beautiful and, of course, sad, as it is used by the German composer Friedrich von Flotow (1812-1883) in his opera Martha (1847):

Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone,
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
No flow’r 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’ll 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 wither’d
And fond ones are flow’n
Oh! Who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

I would have played Joan Sutherland’s 1961 performance of this song before now if she hadn’t always done it without the last verse but now I have said that, I can hardly leave the great soprano out of this blog (I try to include her wherever I can because I have never been able to hear too much of her) so here she is with that incomparable accompanist Gerald Moore.

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