Song - (2012)
Susanna Haswell Rowson
rose just bursting into bloom,
Admired where'er 'tis seen,
Dispenses round a rich perfume,
The garden's pride and queen;
gathered from its native bed,
No longer charms the eye;
vivid tints are quickly fled,
'Twill wither, droop and die.
woman, when by nature drest
In charms devoid of art,
reign sole empress in each breast,
Can triumph o'er each heart;
bid the soul to virtue rise,
To virtue prompt the brave;
sinks oppressed, and drooping dies,
If once she's made a slave.
pages, circa 2' 40"
Susan Haswell Rowson
Susanna Rowson, née Haswell (1762–1824) was a American novelist, poet,
playwright, actress and educator, and is known for Charlotte, a Tale of
Truth, said to have been the most popular American novel until Harriet
Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1852. Additionally
she ran a school for women in Boston, and edited the Boston Weekly
Magazine. Parenthetically, it is interesting that women rank among the
popular writers of the United States, long before the women's movement of
today declared itself champion of such issues. In all this, Rowson was
supported by her husband, and they even acted together in a comic opera
written by her, Slaves in Algiers (1794).
is among the personal reasons that I do not place much stock in movements
which claim to represent classes and identifies of groups, when it is the
value and merit of the work which abides past an age's "movements." Given
the attacks on women in the so-called "Arab Spring," as with the brutal
culture of "honor killings," as with the 60s "free love" movement and even
slurs freely spoken in Western media against women on both sides of the
political aisle, one sees the wisdom of Rowson's simple and yet audacious
verse. We see today playing out the notion of freedom for individual women
against the various social phenomena of enslavement of women, and the poet
reminds us that our choice, goal and vision should be for freedom, never
setting is a gentle polytonal underpinning of the vocal line, demanding
melodic shapes to wed with it. The eighth note rests may be slightly
elongated, as if halting a moment and the last in sets of two fermati
should be longer than the first. The harmonic progression subtly drops as
each four lines pass, as the sentiment of the text suggests.
The score for
Song is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial
performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement
with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.