Yesterday, I woke up thinking of this, so...
"Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms" is a popular song written in 1808 by Irish poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) using a traditional Irish air. Moore's young wife had been stricken and worried that she would lose her looks. He wrote the words to reassure her.
The tune to which Moore set his words is a traditional Irish air, first printed in a London songbook in 1775. Sir John Andrew Stevenson has been credited as responsible for the music for Moore's setting.
It is thought that after Moore's wife, Elizabeth, was badly scarred by smallpox, she refused to leave her room, believing herself ugly and unlovable. To convince her his love was unwavering, Moore composed the ‘Endearing’ poem which he set to an old Irish melody and sang outside her bedroom door. He later wrote that this restored her confidence and re-kindled their love.
Edwin Henry Lemare (9 September 1865 – 24 September 1934) was an English organist and composer who lived the latter part of his life in the United States. He was the most highly regarded and highly paid organist of his generation, as well as the greatest performer and one of the most important composers of the late Romantic English-American Organ School.
After apparently treating church services in London as concerts, he left for a hundred-recital tour of the United States and Canada from 1900/01, and stayed in North America for most of the remainder of his life, and died in Hollywood, California.
This little arrangement is anything but easy! it requires a light touch, and quick reflexes, with lots of work for feet and hands. Lemare is never easy, and this little gem is no exception.
If you look at the score and listen carefully, you'll see that this arrangement is a masterpiece in itself!
Please see First Comment for the text of the poem.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Edwin Lemare, and a painting of the author, Thomas Moore.