Jane Taylor (1783-1824) was a Romantic poet who is best known for writing the poem “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Often collaborating with her sister, Ann, she also found great success as a solo author, penning a number of poems and books that spanned children’s and satirical genres. “The Violet” became one of her most celebrated poems for its beauty in revering a modest flower.
The humble nature of the flower in this poem teaches us to grow where we’re planted and to keep our focus on our journey and not compare our growth to others.
The work is a great study in melody for choirs. Ensembles and directors should utilize it as a teaching tool of phrase structure and musical line. The tenutos in the work help guide work stress in phrases, though more can be done outside of those markings. The clarinet can be substituted for a C-instrument, if needed/desired, though please preserve the character of the work with the selection of the obligato instrument.
Note on Divisi:
There are several moments of divisi within the Soprano line (m.18-21; 47-48; 60-63) and one in the Bass line (m.63) that can be omitted, if necessary for the accommodations of the ensemble. While the divisi enhances the work and the structures in the choir, they are not essential in preserving the essence of the work
Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew,
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colours bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there,
Yet there it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused its sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.
Then let me to the valley go,
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.
Voicing: SATB, piano and B-flat clarinet
Status: Unpublished and unpremiered
"Your Love Lifts My Soul" performed by PopUp Choir (Dr. Chris Aspaas, conductor)