The Anchor's Weigh'd

Melody - John Braham

Samuel James Arnold

The tear fell gently from her eye
When last we parted on the shore;
My bosom heav'd with many a sigh,
To think I ne'er might see her more.
"Dear youth," she cried,
"And canst thou haste away.
My heart will break, - a little moment stay;
Alas, I cannot, I cannot part from thee."
"The anchor's weigh'd, the anchor's weigh'd,
Farewell! farewell! remember me."
  "Weep not, my love," I trembling said,
"Doubt not a constant heart like mine;
I ne'er can meet another maid
Whose charms can fix that heart like thine!"
"Go, then," she cried,
"But let thy constant mind
Oft think of her you leave in tears behind."
"Dear maid, this last embrace my pledge shall be!
The anchor's weigh'd, the anchor's weigh'd,
Farewell! farewell! remember me."

John Braham sang in the first performances of Weber's Der Freischütz and Oberon and caused a furore wherever he appeared. Even his sternest critic, Sir Walter Scott, had to admit that although he was 'a devil of an actor' he was 'an angel of a singer'. 'The Death of Nelson' was undoubtedly his most popular song and it was his stock encore on almost every musical occasion. His other sea songs, however, were also enormously loved, as J. C. Byrne remembers: 'The great singer knew his public and that he would not be let off without one of his popular songs; the orchestra struck up " 'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay" and even before he had opened his lips the very symphony was applauded to the echo. This spirited and pathetic song touched the hearts of the audience and their shouts for a second encore were so persistent that it was in vain the singer tried to pacify them with bows and smiles. No - it was a marine audience, and a sea song they were determined to have.-. Whatever Braharn's intention may have been, there was nothing for it but compliance.'

One of the best known of Braham's sea songs, 'The Anchor's Weigh'd', is typical of the Georgian songs that were so much in vogue in the early part of the nineteenth century. Sensitively sung, it can still be very effective and, unlike many of Braham's songs, it does not rely on the composer's own rendering to make it palatable. The words were written by Samuel James Arnold - a dramatist who was responsible for many musical productions in the early nineteenth century both at the Haymarket and Drury Lane. He was also the author of 'The Death of Nelson'

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