“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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Posted in Music, Poetry Tagged permalink

About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, From Portraits to Puddles, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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