Essays Of Elia Dream Children Meaning

The theme of Lamb's essay is regret and loss: regret for unfulfilled joy, unfulfilled love, lost hope, lost opportunity and lost joys of life. There are three topics describing the theme of regret and loss at work in this essay.

The first of these is the loss of past happiness as represented by the house--with its carved mantle that a "foolish rich person pulled ... down"--and by great-grandmother Field and by the speaker's brother John.

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The theme of Lamb's essay is regret and loss: regret for unfulfilled joy, unfulfilled love, lost hope, lost opportunity and lost joys of life. There are three topics describing the theme of regret and loss at work in this essay.

The first of these is the loss of past happiness as represented by the house--with its carved mantle that a "foolish rich person pulled ... down"--and by great-grandmother Field and by the speaker's brother John.

Both great-grandmother Field and John died painful deaths while Charles Lamb watched on being then left alone without their presence, love and care: what he missed most was their presence: "I missed him all day long, and knew not till then how much I had loved him."

The second topic describing regret and loss is his beloved Alice. Lamb courted her "for seven long years" and, in the end, his suit for her love was a failure. This explains why the dream child is named Alice and this explains why he becomes confused about which Alice, younger or elder, he is really looking at:

turning to Alice, the soul of the first Alice looked out at her eyes with such a reality of re-presentment, that I became in doubt which of them stood there before me, or whose that bright hair was ...

This leads to the third thematic topic: the children who never were. In a surprise ending, in a dramatic (and at first bewildering) twist, we learn that the children he has been telling stories to--stories of loves and life-joys he regrets losing--are air, are a figment of a dream in a bachelor's sleep. These are the children that would have been, that could have been, that might have been if Alice had granted Lamb her love and if they had wed. As it is, they are but phantoms of a dream. All he really has is "the faithful Bridget [representative of Lamb's sister Mary] unchanged by my side."

Dream Children, Op 43 is a musical work for small orchestra by Sir Edward Elgar. There are two movements:

1. Andante in G minor
2. Allegretto piacevole in G major

History[edit]

These two pieces were written in 1902, when Elgar was approaching the peak of his fame and popularity. Unusually for Elgar they were not written to any commission. Michael Kennedy suggests that they may have been retrieved from the unused material for a symphony celebrating General Gordon which Elgar had been working on since 1898.[1] They are not complete symphonic movements (the first movement takes a little over three minutes to perform and the second a little over four minutes) but it was Elgar's practice to work in small sections and then put them together into a whole.

The orchestral score and parts were originally published by Joseph Williams Ltd. (London) in 1902, then in 1911 by Schott & Co. with the title "Enfants d'un Rêve" and the translation below this "(Dream-Children)". As with his earlier piece Salut d'Amour, Elgar agreed with the same publisher that the French title would sell better.

The first performance was at the Queen's Hall on 4 September 1902, conducted by Arthur W Payne.[2]

Charles Lamb's essay[edit]

The pieces are inspired by ‘Dream-Children ; A Reverie’, one of the Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb published in 1822,[3] and Elgar inscribed on the score the following excerpt from the essay. The essay is in one paragraph of over four pages: the writer imagines telling his 'little ones',[4] called Alice and John, some tales of their great-grandmother Field[5] and her house, and of his own courtship, in hope and eventual despair, for another Alice[6] before, at the end of the essay, mysteriously

* * * And while I stood gazing, both the children gradually grew fainter
to my view, receding, and still receding till nothing at last but two mourn-
ful features were seen in the uttermost distance, which, without speech,
strangely impressed upon me the effects of speech: "We are not of Alice,
nor of thee,[7] nor are we children at all. * * * * [8] We are nothing; less than
nothing, and dreams. We are only what might have been."[9] * * *

The most striking thing shown in the essay is that Lamb, though a lifelong bachelor, longed for family life which he was incapable of attaining. In a strange fit of passion he imagined all this in a dream-like state.

The name 'Alice' was important in Elgar's life: not only was his great friend Alice Stuart-Wortley his muse, but his wife was also Alice. ‘What might have been’ reflects a constant nostalgia throughout Elgar’s music, and is the predominating mood of both the Dream Children pieces, particularly the wistful No 1. No 2 is more smiling in tone, but reverts to nostalgia at the end, where it quotes the theme which began No. 1.

Instrumentation[edit]

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B♭ and A, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 3 timpani, harp and strings.

References[edit]

  • Kennedy, Michael (1987). Portrait of Elgar (Third ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816365-7. 
  • Lamb, Charles, Prose and Poetry, with an Introduction by George Gordon and Notes by A. M. D. Hughes, 1921, Clarendon Press (Oxford)
  • Orchestral score: Enfants d'un Rêve (Dream-Children), Schott & Co. (Mainz) 1911

Notes[edit]

Edward Elgar

Incidental music and ballet
Orchestral
Concertante
Chamber/Instrumental
Vocal/Choral Orchestral
Vocal
  • "The Language of Flowers" (1872)
  • "The Self Banished" (1875)
  • "A War Song" (1884)
  • Seven Lieder of Edward Elgar – "Like to the Damask Rose" (1892), "Queen Mary's Song" (1889), "A Song of Autumn" (1892), "The Poet's Life" (1892), "Through the Long Days" (1885), "Rondel" (1894), "The Shepherd's Song" (1892),
  • "Is she not passing fair?" (1886)
  • "As I laye a-thynkynge" (1888)
  • "The Wind at Dawn" (1888)
  • "The Shepherd's Song" (1892)
  • "After" (1900)
  • "A Song of Flight" (1900)
  • Sea Pictures – "Sea Slumber Song", "In Haven", "Sabbath Morning at Sea", "Where Corals Lie" and "The Swimmer" (1897–99)
  • "Dry those fair, those crystal eyes" (1899)
  • "Always and Everywhere" (1901)
  • "Come, Gentle Night!" (1901)
  • "In the Dawn" (1901)
  • "Speak, Music!" (1901)
  • "There are seven that pull the thread" (1901)
  • "In Moonlight" ((1904)
  • "Follow the Colours" (1907)
  • "Pleading" (1908)
  • "A Child Asleep" (1909)
  • "Oh, soft was the song" (1910)
  • "Was it some Golden Star?" (1910)
  • "Twilight" (1910)
  • "The Chariots of the Lord" (1914)
  • "Fight for Right" (1916)
  • "Inside the Bar" (1917)
  • "The Blue Mountains" (1924)
  • "The Immortal Legions" (1924)
  • Pageant of Empire (1924)
  • "XTC" (1930)
Discography
Named for Elgar
Cultural depictions
Family
Related articles
  1. ^Kennedy, p. 213
  2. ^Kennedy, p. 346
  3. ^First published in The London Magazine, January 1822
  4. ^Lamb had no children, though he and his sister Mary adopted an orphan called Emma Isola
  5. ^Lamb's maternal grandmother
  6. ^The other Alice was the personification of Ann Simmons whom Lamb said he unsuccessfully courted for seven years (exaggerated) before she married a pawnbroker named Bartrum. The dream-children are the imaginary children of Lamb and Ann Simmons - that 'might have been'
  7. ^In other words "We are neither Alice's children nor yours"
  8. ^Here the * * * * conceals Lamb's sentence "The children of Alice called Bartrum father", revealing Lamb's anguished fantasy that the children might have been his own, not Bartrum's
  9. ^The italics are correctly quoted by Elgar from Lamb's essay

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