A Child Asleep

"A Child Asleep" is a song with words from a poem written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It was set to music by the English composer Edward Elgar in December 1909 and published in 1910 by Novello.

It bears the dedication:

                   This simple song
             (for his mother’s singing)
                       is made to
                  ANTHONY GOETZ
                          (Æ. I).
As an Aungel hevenlyche sche song. – Chaucer.

Anthony Goetz was the son of Muriel Foster, a favourite singer and personal friend of Elgar’s, about whom Charles Villiers Stanford wrote “She has not got the whopping voice of Clara Butt, but she has more poetry and is musical to her fingertips”



How he sleepeth!

Vision unto vision calleth,
While the young child dreameth on.
Fair, O dreamer, thee befalleth
With the glory thou hast won!
Darker wert thou in the garden, yestermorn, by summer sun.

We should see the spirits ringing
Round thee, - were the clouds away.
'Tis the child-heart draws them, singing
In the silent-seeming clay -
Singing! - Stars that seem the mutest, go in music, music all the day.

Softly! softly, make no noises!
Now he lieth still and dumb -
Now he hears the angels' voices
Folding silence in the room -
Now he muses deep the meaning of the Heaven-words as they come.

He is harmless - we are sinful,-
We are troubled - he, at ease:
From his slumber, virtue winful
Floweth outward with increase -
Dare not bless him! but be blessèd by his peace - and go in peace.



  • Percy Young, Elgar O.M.
  • Michael Kennedy, Portrait of Elgar (Oxford University Press, 1968) ISBN 0193154145


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