"When the blackbird in the spring On the willow tree Sat and rock'd, I heard him sing, Singing Aura Lee." In praise of a "maid of golden hair." The singer describes how even the bird praise her. He begs her hand in marriage
Aura Lea Complete text(s) *** A *** From sheet music published by J. Church. The sheet music shows no copyright date, but copyright records indicate a date of 1861. Title page inscribed TO S. C. Campbell, Esq. of Hooley & Campbell's Minstrels Aura Lea SONG & CHORUS Poetry by W. W. FOSDICK ESQ. Music by GEO.R.POULTON When the Blackbird in the Spring, On the willow tree Sat and rock'd, I heard him sing, Singing Aura Lea. Aura Lea, Aura Lea, Maid of golden hair; Sunshine came along with thee, And swallows in the air. Aura Lea, Aura Lea, Maid of golden hair; Sunshine came along with thee, And swallows in the air. SECOND VERSE In thy blush the rose was born, Music, when you spake, Through thine azure eyes the morn, Sparkling, seemed to break. Aura Lea, Aura Lea, Birds of crimson wing Never song have sung to me As in that sweet spring. CHORUS. Aura Lea, Aura Lea, Maid of golden hair; Sunshine came along with thee, And swallows in the air. THIRD VERSE Aura Lea! the bird may flee, The willow's golden hair Swing through winter fitfully, On the stormy air. Yet if thy blue eyes I see, Gloom will soon depart; For to me, sweet Aura Lea Is sunshine through the heart. CHORUS. Aura Lea, &c. FOURTH VERSE When the mistletoe was green, Midst the winter's snows, Sunshine in thy face was seen, Kissing lips of rose. Aura Lea, Aura Lea, Take my golden ring; Love and light return with thee, And swallows with the spring.
At times like this, one wishes we had a keyword, "Great-tune-lousy-words."
Originally published as a minstrel tune in 1861, verses were printed by both Union and Confederate presses, and the first important parody ("Army Blue") was used by the West Point class of 1865.
As for what Elvis Presley did with the tune, the less we say of that here, the better. - RBW