was originally composed as the fourth of Four Partsongs
Op 110, completed in 1908 and published by Stainer & Bell in 1910. Later it was published by J B Cramer & Co. as a solo song arrangement in 1918. The famous text, taken from Ionica
, a volume of poems by William Johnson Cory, is a translation from the Greek of an epigram by the finest of Hellenistic poets, Callimachus of Alexandria. The poem, an elegy, tells how bitter tears were shed at the news of the death of an old friend, Heraclitus of Hallicarnassus; yet, though long dead, his memory lives on in the mind of his friend. Cory’s translation is magnificent, as is Stanford’s limpidly diatonic setting, simple in its strophic design, yet full of deft harmonic turns and modal inflections; and, with the subtle ‘interjections’ from the piano, assumes a quite different identity in its solo guise.
from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2000