Monthly Archives: March 2016


20 March 2016

Where are the Visions from National Airs Number 5
Where are the Visions from National Airs Number 5

In our previous blog we mentioned that a total of 72 songs were published across the 6 Numbers of the National Airs.  The origin of all but two of the airs used is identified i.e. Slumber, Oh! Slumber and Where are the visions, both from Number 5.  Our previous blog was about Slumber, Oh! Slumber, and today’s blog is about Where are the visionsWhere are the visions is set in the key of F major and in 3/8 time.  Following a 16 bar piano introduction the singer begins in bar 17.  Each of the four verses is divided by a piano interlude.  The piano accompaniments for all songs in Number 5 were composed by Henry R. Bishop.  Many of the National Airs include an option for more than one voice and are listed in the index in Power’s early editions as ‘Harmonised Airs’.  As can be seen in the photograph Where are the visions may be performed by one singer or as a duet; the duet is set in thirds.  The words of the song are transcribed below:

“Where are the visions that round me once hover’d,

Forms that had grace in their shadows alone,

Looks, fresh as light from a star just discover’d,

And voices that music might take for her own?”

Time, while I spoke, with his wings resting o’er me,

Heard me say “where are those visions, oh, where?”

And, pointing his wand to the sunset before me,

Said, with a voice like the hollow wind, “There!”

Fondly I look’d, when the wizard had spoken,

On to the dimshining [sic] ruins of Day,

And there, in that light, like a talisman broken,

Saw the bright fragments of Hope melt away.

“Oh! Lend me thy wings, Time” I hastily utter’d,

Impatient to catch the last glimmer that shone;

But scarcely again had the dark wizard flutter’d

His wing o’er my head, ere the light all was gone.

If you know the origin of the air for Where are the vision please let us know in the comments.

Image Courtesy of Special Collections, The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast


10 March 2016

Image blog Post 5
Slumber, Oh! Slumber
Moore’s National Airs Number 5

While examining copies of Moore’s National Airs extant in Special Collections at the McClay Library, QUB, I was amazed at the number of different countries and cultures which inspired the poet-songwriter.  The song series includes airs from Spain, India, Hungary, Russia, Denmark and Malta.  There are 12 songs in each of the 6 Numbers.  That makes a total of 72 songs in the National Airs series.  Slumber, Oh! Slumber from Number 5 is one of only two songs in the whole series where the origin of the air is not identified.  The song is in the key of B flat major, set in 2/4 time and has two verses.  The singer begins in bar 11 after a 10 bar piano introduction.  The two verses are divided by a 6 bar piano interlude.  I’ve transcribed the words below:

“Slumber, oh! Slumber if, sleeping thou mak’st

My heart beat so wildly, I’m lost, when thou wak’st!

Thus sung I to a maiden, Who slept one summer’s day,

And like a flow’r o’er laden With noontide sunshine, lay.

Breathe not, oh, breathe not, ye winds, o’er her cheeks,

If mute thus she charm me, I’m lost when she speaks.

Thus sing I, while awaking, She murmurs words, that seems,

As if her lips were taking Farewell of some sweet dream.”

Perhaps some of our readers might know the origin of the air.

Let us know in the comments.

Image Courtesy of Special Collections, The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast