> Folk > Songs > The Last Rose of Summer

The Last Rose of Summer

[ Roud 13861 ; Ballad Index DTlastro ; Bodleian Roud 13861 ; DT LASTROSE ; Mudcat 140197 ; words Thomas Moore (1779-1852)]

Megson sang Last Rose of Summer in 2005 on their EDJ album On the Side. They noted:

An Irish folk song with poignant lyrics by Thomas Moore.

Eliza Carthy sang The Last Rose of Summer in 2019 on her Under the Bed / Topic album Restitute. She noted:

Suddenly felt the need to represent poets from all the places my family is from on this record. So here is Ireland again with this, Ben [Seal]’s idea and original tune, wangled by me. I find something of a “broken window policy” with this song: well, everyone else is dead so you may as well be too. I’ll gently smash you up into bits and spread you on the ground for no other reason than you’re alone, and that’ll be better. Ssh.
Thanks, Thomas.

Banter sang The Last Rose of Summer in 2024 on their Mrs Casey album Heroes. They noted:

The words to this song are actually a poem written by Thomas Moore in 1805 which was then set to an old Irish traditional tune called, Aisling an Oigfhear (The Young Man’s Dream) and is one of the most popular songs in the traditional Irish repertoire. It has been recorded by the likes of Nina Simone, Bing Crosby and Tom Waits to name but a few. In our version, Nina [Zella] re-set the words to a new melody. The metaphor in the words speaks of losing people around you and not wanting to be left alone without them. Apparently we can’t perform this song without at least one of us getting teary.


Banter sing The Last Rose of Summer

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one to pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping go sleep then with them
Thus kindly I scatter the leaves on the bed
When the mates of the garden are scentless and dead

It’s the last rose of summer, left blooming all alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes or give sigh for sigh

So soon may I follow, when friendships decay
And from love’s shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown
Oh! who would inhabit this bleak world alone!