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Lyr Req: Pale Withered Wanderer

GUEST 30 Jan 06 - 12:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Jan 06 - 01:26 PM
GUEST 31 Jan 06 - 10:42 AM
Phillip 31 Jan 06 - 10:45 AM
Jim Dixon 23 Jan 10 - 03:08 PM
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Subject: Pale Withered Wanderer
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 12:25 PM

Pale withered wanderer seek not here.

Anyone know where these words come from? All I have been able to find is a reference to a setting by a leading church organist around the beginning of the nineteenth century - John Clarke-Whitfield.

I ask because a friend of mine has come across very old commonplace book, and these words were written in there, but nothing else of the poem or song.

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Subject: RE: Pale Withered Wanderer
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 01:26 PM

I can only add a few minor details that might possibly help somebody else.

'Pale Withered Wanderer, Seek Not Here' is a canzonet, written by John Clarke Whitfeld (1770-1836) and published around 1815 in London (there is a copy in the British Library). Some biographical details are at

Beside his work as an organist and composer of sacred music, he set poems by Scott and Byron, among others.

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Subject: RE: Pale Withered Wanderer
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 10:42 AM

A little more info has been sent to me, by someone who has the whole text (which I will post if anyone is interested) and a possible title -

On a leaf which was blown into the bosom of the author.

But who the author was I still don't know.

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Subject: RE: Pale Withered Wanderer
From: Phillip
Date: 31 Jan 06 - 10:45 AM

Forgot to log in both times! Guest in this thread has been me, rare contributor (in one sense!), for what it's worth.

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 03:08 PM

From a novel, Self-Dependance, Vol. 1 [Anonymous] (London: Thomas Cautley Newby, 1849), page 211:

As he sat by my side, lost in thought, a dead leaf fell upon his breast. He gazed mournfully upon it, and addressed it in the following plaintive lines. The lines I have since met with, in a periodical of the last century.

Pale, withered wanderer! seek not here,
A refuge from the ruthless sky:
This breast affords no happier cheer,
Than the rude blighting breeze you fly.

Cold is the atmosphere of grief,
When storms assail the barren breast.
Go then, poor exile, seek relief
In bosoms where the heart has rest.

Or fall upon the oblivious ground,
Where silent sorrows buried lie:
There rest is surely to be found,
Or what alas! to hope have I?

Where sepulchred in peace, repose
In yonder field the village dead,
Go, seek a shelter among those
Who all their mortal tears have shed.

But if thou com'st a Sybil's leaf,
Such as did erst high truths declare,
To tell me, soon shall end my grief,
I bless the omen that you bear.

For sure you tell me that my woe
An end like thine at length shall have;
That wan like thee and wasted so,
I sink to the forgetful grave.

Then come thou messenger of peace!
Come, lodge within this barren breast;
And lie there, till we both shall cease
To seek in vain for Nature's rest.

[No title or author is given. The periodical referred to is apparently The Olio, Volume 1 (New York: Samuel Marks, 1813-1814), page 22.]

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