“Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” by Thomas Moore

NIneteenth-century poetry and exploding Looney Tunes villains.

Thomas Moore set foot on the road to fame and a regular income in 1808, with the publication of the first of ten volumes of Irish Melodies. Among the hundred-odd lyrics that Moore set to folksongs is “The Minstrel Boy,” a tribute to a dying young warrior who rips the strings off his harp so that it can’t be used to glorify his nation’s conquerors. See my St. Patrick’s Day post.

“Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” is another song that has lasted two centuries. John McDermott does a beautiful version (as he did for “Minstrel Boy“).

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!

The same tune turns up as the melody of Harvard’s alma mater, sung with impeccable harmony by the Harvard University Choir.

While I was prowling around YouTube looking for those, I found a compilation of Looney Tunes snippets whose moral (for Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, and Wily Coyote) is clearly, “It’s better not to play ‘Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms’ correctly.”


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