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About "Aura Lee"

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Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
Aura Lee
George R. Poulton

Two voices and piano.
American song with words by W. W. Fosdick.

mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml 2014/02/14
Aura Lee
George R. Poulton

Guitar quintet.
Arrangement by Tom Potter for 5 guitars.

mus  pdf  mid  mp3  xml 2014/02/14

Composer: George R. Poulton

Title: "Aura Lee"

History

"Aura Lee", published in 1861, is an American song that was popular during the Civil War. The composer was George R. Poulton (1828-1867) and the lyricist was William W. Fosdick (1825-1862).  The 1956 song "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley and Vera Matson used the tune of "Aura Lee", with only slight modifications.  However, the words of "Love Me Tender" are completely different from those of "Aura Lee".

Text

Aura Lee

As the blackbird in the Spring
    'Neath the willow tree
Sat and piped, I heard him sing,
    Singing Aura Lee.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
    Maid with golden hair,
Sunshine came a long with thee,
    And swallows in the air.

In thy blush the rose was born,
    Music when you spake:
Through thine azure eye the moon
    Sparkling seem'd to break.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
    Birds of crimson wing
Never song have sung to me
    As in that bright, sweet spring.

Aura Lee, the bird may flee,
    The willow's golden hair
Swing thro' winter fitfully,
    On the stormy air.
Yet if thy blue eyes I see,
    Gloom will soon depart;
For to me, sweet Aura Lee
    Is sunshine thro' the heart.

When the mistletoe was green,
    'Midst the winter's snows,
Sunshine in thy face was seen,
    Kissing lips of rose.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
    Take my golden ring;
Love and light return with thee,
    And swallows with the spring.

Remarks

Published versions of the song exhibit variability in the tune, the words, and the musical setting.  Even the song's title has two common renderings: "Aura Lee" and "Aura Lea".

References

Goodale, G F.  The New Yale Song-Book: A Collection of Songs in Use by the Glee Club and Students of Yale University. New York: G. Schirmer, 1918, p. 72. In Google books.  [This is my source for the words of the song, but is not my source for the tune. The tune in Goodale's book is different from most other versions.]

Hills, William H.  Students' Songs: Comprising the Newest and Most Popular College Songs As Now Sung at Harvard, Yale, Columbia ... Union, Etc. Cambridge, Mass: M. King, 1887, p. 43. See Google books. [This is my source for the music of the song.]

Wikipedia article on "Aura Lea".

Wikipedia article on "Love Me Tender".

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