Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote words to a traditional Irish tune in 1808, to comfort his wife Elizabeth who had been scarred by smallpox, and thought herself unlovely and unloveable. Moore wrote this poem and sang it to his wife through their bedroom door, which restored her confidence and rekindled their love. Italian born trombone and euphonium virtuoso Simone Mantia utilized the melody to compose a theme and variations that is still part of the euphonium solo literature. Mantia was a highly skilled player, who performed as a nationally as a soloist with the bands of John Philip Sousa and Arthur Pryor. He also performed with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brooklyn Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and many other distinguished groups. Mantia was born in Sicily in 1873, and died in New York in 1951. In addition to his remarkable skill as a player, he also served as the manager for the Metropolitan Opera and the Arthur Pryor Band.
The first stanza of the poen reads as follows:
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, which I gaze on so fondly today
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms, like fairy gifts fading away
Thou wouldst still be adored, at this moment thou art, let thy loveliness fade as it will;
And around the dear wound, each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still!
Notes by Thomas Bough
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