Intermediate Language Lessons Part 3, Lesson 99, Home, Sweet Home

I included the instrumental of this poem which was originally a song. I also included a short bio of John Howard Payne.

The exercises at the end are there as an extension to the lesson. Don’t feel like you have to use them.

 

HOME, SWEET HOME!

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gayly, that came at my call, —
Give me them, — and the peace of mind, dearer than all!
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!

How sweet ’tis to sit ‘neath a fond father’s smile,
And the cares of a mother to soothe and beguile!
Let others delight mid new pleasures to roam,
But give me, oh, give me the pleasures of home!
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!

To thee I’ll return, overburdened with care;
The heart’s dearest solace will smile on me there;
No more from that cottage again will I roam;
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!

_________________________________________

About the Author and Home, Sweet Home

It remained for an American who died in foreign lands to sing us our choicest home song. John Howard Payne was born in New York in 1791, and spent his childhood in a humble home in East Hampton, Long Island. At the age of thirteen, while clerk in a New York mercantile house, he secretly edited The Thespian Mirror. For a while he attended Union College, but the bankruptcy of his father caused the young man to quit college and to seek to support himself as an actor. At eighteen, he played the part of Young Norval in “Douglas” in the Park Theatre, New York, and later appeared in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

In 1813, he sailed for England where he appeared in the Drury Lane Theatre, London, successively as actor, manager, and playwright. He proved a very unsuccessful business manager, and hence suffered many financial embarrassments. In 1832, he returned to America. Ten years later, he was appointed as American Consul at Tunis, was recalled in 1845, and reappointed in 1851. He died in Tunis April 9, 1852, and was buried there in the cemetery of St. George. It was not until 1883 that his remains were at last brought to America, where they were finally interred in Washington with due ceremony, and with proper recognition of the wandering actor’s home song.

The song “Home, Sweet Home,” is a solo in Payne’s Opera of Clari, or the Maid of Milan, which was first produced in Covent Garden Theatre in May, 1823. The music was adapted by Henry R. Bishop from an old melody which Payne had heard in Italy. The publisher of the song cleared two thousand guineas the first year, but Payne himself received very little of the profit.

Men everywhere have loved this exquisite home song. The soldier on the battlefield, the sailor on the trackless sea, and the lonely traveler with tear-dimmed eyes, have heard with thrills of delight the sweet strains of “Home, Sweet Home.” We prize the song more highly because the author himself was a wanderer with no home he could call his own. His very loneliness, by way of contrast, seems to give this ideal home picture its truth and makes it touch deeply the hearts of men.

HOME, SWEET HOME

‘Mid pleasures and palaces, though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again;
The birds singing gayly, that came at my call;
Give me them, and that peace of mind, dearer than all.

Home, home, sweet, sweet home,
There’s no place like home,
There’s no place like home.

— John Howard Payne.

The above is the song as originally written. Later the following stanzas were added:

I gaze on the moon as I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother now thinks of her child;
She looks on that moon from our own cottage door,
Through the woodbines whose fragrance shall cheer me no more.

If I return home overburdened with care,
The heart’s dearest solace I’m sure to meet there;
The bliss I experience whenever I come,
Makes no other place seem like that of sweet home.

Farewell peaceful cottage! farewell happy home!
Forever I’m doomed a poor exile to roam;
This poor, aching heart must be laid in the tomb,
Ere it cease to regret the endearments of home.

NOTES
After careful study, listen to the song.
Listen to the instrumental (on the right side of the page).

Look up carefully the following words and expressions: palaces, humble, charm, hallow, exile, splendor, dazzles, lowly thatched cottage, drear wild, fragrance, overburdened, heart’s dearest solace, bliss, doomed, endearments.

EXERCISES

1. Give a brief sketch of the life of the author of this poem.
2. What is there about the author’s life that makes the poem more impressive?
3. When and in what setting was the poem written?
4. What experience had the author with “pleasures and palaces”?
5. Explain fully the meaning of “hallow.”
6. What was the “charm from the skies”?
7. Why can it not be found elsewhere?
8. In what sense was the author “an exile from home”?
9. Explain “splendor dazzles in vain.”
10. Why does the author prefer the “lowly thatched cottage”?
11. What else endears home to him?
12. What was “that peace of mind dearer than all”?
13. Just what is added to the poem in the extra three stanzas?
14. What now seems to you to be the fuller meaning of the second line of stanza 1?
15. Why is this song so universally loved?

 

 

Filed under: Part 3 - Poems

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