AD's English Literature : You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truths Behind "Home Sweet Home": Remembering John Howard Paine’s "Home Sweet Home"

You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truths Behind "Home Sweet Home": Remembering John Howard Paine’s "Home Sweet Home"


Man’s greatest longing is for home. Home is the very essential core of our family: love is its circumference and peace is its centre. These two fulfilled, life has no regret. And they are both fulfilled together, never separately. People have tried to fulfill love without freedom. Then love brings more and more misery, more and more bondage. Then love is not what one has expected it to be, it turns out just the opposite. It shatters all hopes, it destroys all expectations and life becomes a wasteland -- a groping in darkness and never finding the door. Love without freedom naturally tends to be possessive. And the moment possessiveness enters, you start creating bondage for others and bondage for yourself -- because you cannot possess somebody without being possessed by him. You cannot make somebody a slave without becoming a slave yourself. Whatever you do to others is done to you. This is the basic principle to be understood, that love without freedom never brings fulfillment. Herein Paine’s Home Sweet Home we also celebrate love with the greatest possession of Home that makes it really sweet.


Now let’s take the whole poem a recite:

Home Sweet Home

John Howard Payne

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, oh, there's no place like home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gayly, that come 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, oh, there's no place like home!

I gaze on the moon as I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother now thinks of her child,
As she looks on that moon from our own cottage door
Thro' the woodbine, whose fragrance shall cheer me no more.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

How sweet 'tis to sit 'neath a fond father's smile,
And the caress 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, oh, there's no place like home!

CHORUS

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.


Unlucky Payne: John Howard Payne (1791-1852), American playwright, actor, and diplomat, was born in New York City, and was educated at Union College. He was a successful actor, and he wrote about 60 plays, chiefly translations and adaptations. His best-known works are Brutus, or, The Fall of Tarquin (1818), a verse tragedy, and Charles II, or, The Merry Monarch (1824), a comedy. He also wrote the libretto of the opera Clari, or, The Maid of Milan (1823), which contains the famous song “Home, Sweet Home.” The home that Payne wrote of was a little cottage in East Hampton, Long Island.  The song was first heard in London in his play "Clari" in 1823.  The air had appeared in an early collection of Bishop's as a Sicilian tune.  The theme of the song and the beauty of the melody have given it world-wide fame.

"Home! Sweet Home!" is a song that has remained well-known for over 150 years. Adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. In the evening of May 8, 1823, at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, London, Miss Maria Tree, a sister of the famous actress, Ellen Tree, gave voice to a song which thrilled the audience and since has reechoed in every heart in the English-speaking world as the song that better than any other expresses the sentiment of "home." The occasion was the first performance of "Clari, the Maid of Milan," a play by John Howard Payne, with musical numbers by Henry Rowley Bishop, and the song was "Home, Sweet Home " It was characteristic of the "homeless bard of home," that he was living in Paris, that his song was heard first in London, while the home he sang of was a little cottage in Easthampton, Long Island) in which he had not set foot since boyhood. The opening lines

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;”

have become famous. It is also used with Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs and in Alexandra Guilmant's Fantasy for organ , the Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, both of which also use "Rule, Britannia!". It also was characteristic of his fate that although "Home, Sweet Home" won a wealthy husband for the singer, and earned a small fortune for the theatre and the publisher, it left Payne little or no better off than he had been before. The song had that valuable theatrical quality professionally known as "thrills," but these did not extend to the author's pocketbook. He had sold "Clari" for a lump sum, had no interest in the publishing rights; while as to fame—the publisher did not even think it worth while to put Payne's name on the title-page!

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