Every two weeks, Alexander Street offers a free music download from our popular online music collection. This download is freely available, regardless of whether or not your library subscribes to the collection.
James Joyce (1882–1941) is best known as a leading Irish writer, but music was an essential part of his life and work as well. This song, “Bid Adieu,” is Joyce’s only known musical composition. The text is Joyce’s own poem, and appears in Chamber Music, his first collection of poems published in 1907. Joyce wrote the text’s melody and his friend Edmund Pendleton, an American composer, supplied the accompaniment. It is unclear when Joyce composed the melody, but Pendleton’s edition was first published in 1949, eight years after Joyce’s death.
This recording is performed by Ann Murray and Graham Johnson.
Bid adieu, adieu, adieu,
Bid adieu to girlish days,
Happy Love is come to woo
Thee and woo thy girlish ways—
The zone that doth become thee fair,
The snood upon thy yellow hair,
When thou hast heard his name upon
The bugles of the cherubim
Begin thou softly to unzone
Thy girlish bosom unto him
And softly to undo the snood
That is the sign of maidenhood.