My love dwelt in a northern land, Op. 18, No. 3 (Edward Elgar)

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  • (Posted 2023-10-12)  CPDL #76257:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-10-12).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 878 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2022-07-08)  CPDL #69918:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2022-07-08).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 191 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2013-06-04)  CPDL #29308:     
Editor: Burkhart M. Schürmann (submitted 2013-06-04).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 127 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2006-11-04)  CPDL #12997:     
Editor: Michael Gibson (submitted 2006-11-04).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 368 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Includes a keyboard reduction of the a cappella choral score.

General Information

Title: My Love dwelt in a Northern Land, Op. 18, No. 3
Composer: Edward Elgar
Lyricist: Andrew Lang (1844-1912), Caroline Alice Elgar (1848-1920)

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB, with divs
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1890 Novello and Co.
Description: This song was written in 1889 for Tenbury Musical Society and was dedicated to the Rev. J Hampton, Warden of St Michael's College, Tenbury. The words were published in the Century Magazine. This song was the earliest Elgar partsong to be published (by Novello in 1890) and was subsequently catalogued in Opus 18, together with two songs which were individually published much later (Op. 18/1 in 1896 and Op. 18/2 in 1907).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

My love dwelt in a Northern land.
A dim tower in a forest green
Was his and far away the sand
And gray wash of the waves were seen
The woven forest boughs between:

And through the Northern summer night
The sunset slowly died away,
And herds of strange deer, silverwhite,
Came gleaming through the forest gray,
And fled like ghosts before the day.

And oft that month we watched the moon
Wax great and white o'er wood and lawn
And wane, with waning of the June,
Till, like a brand for battle drawn,
She fell, and flamed in a wild dawn.

I know not if the forest green
Still girdles round that castle gray.
I know not if, the boughs between,
The white deer vanish ere the day:
The grass above my love is green,
His heart is colder than the clay.

German.png German translation

Im Norden lag mein's Liebsten Land.
Ein dunkler Turm in Waldesgrün
war sein,und an dem fernen Strand
sah man die grauen Wogen zieh'n,
davor die Waldeswipfel blüh'n.

Und in der nördlich Sommernacht
erstarb das Licht am Waldesrain,
und wunderweißer Hirsche Pracht
glomm silberhell im grauen Hain.
Sie floh'n wie Geister vor dem Schein.

Und oftmals sah'n des Mondes Kleid
wir wachsen über Wald und Land,
und abnehmen wie Junis Zeit,
bis es, wie Krieges Feuerbrand,
in wilder Dämm'rung Glut verschwand.

Ich weiß nicht, ob noch Waldesgrün
umweht die grauen Zinnenreih'n,
Ich weiß nicht, ob noch Hirsche fliehn,
verschreckt von fahler Dämm'rung Schein.
Das Gras auf seinem Grab ist grün,
mein's Liebsten Herz ist kalt wie Stein.

Translation by Jan-Frerk Burmester

Poetic translation released under the CPDL license by Jan-Frerk Burmester. The translator would appreciate feedback if you use his translations - please email: jf.burmester(a)