Sea Slumber Song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sea Slumber Song by Elgar.jpg

"Sea Slumber Song" is a poem by Roden Noel set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the first song in his song-cycle Sea Pictures.


The poem here is as sung in Sea Pictures.[1]

Italicised text indicates lines repeated in the song but not in the original poem.

Sea Slumber Song

Sea-birds are asleep,
The world forgets to weep,
Sea murmurs her soft slumber-song
On the shadowy sand
Of this elfin land;

"I, the Mother mild,
Hush thee, O my child,
Forget the voices wild!
Hush thee, O my child,
Hush thee

Isles in elfin light
Dream, the rocks and caves,
Lull’d by whispering waves,
Veil their marbles
Veil their marbles bright,
Foam glimmers faintly white
Upon the shelly sand
Of this elfin land;

Sea-sound, like violins,
To slumber woos and wins,
I murmur my soft slumber-song,
My slumber-song,
Leave woes, and wails, and sins,

Ocean’s shadowy might
Breathes good-night,
Leave woes, and wails, and sins,
Good-night… Good-night…
Good-night… Good-night…"

Elgar's setting[edit]

The sea's lullaby ("I, the Mother mild") is evoked by bass drum and tam-tam and strings repeating a phrase that reappears later in the song cycle. At "Isles in elfin light" the music changes key to C major before returning to the oceanic theme. [2]


  1. ^ Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1936). Program Notes for the Forty-Fifth Season. Orchestral Association. 
  2. ^ Beales, Brendan Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Programme for performance at the Royal Albert Hall 6 April 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Norman R. Del Mar (1998). "Sea Slumber Song". Conducting Elgar. Oxford University Press. pp. 199–200. ISBN 0-19-816557-9.  — Del Mar's notes on how to conduct the Sea Slumber Song