Melville E. Wilson’s Favorite Song: “Forgotten”

September 21, 2010

When I went back to Alabama a month ago,  I happened to investigate a bunch of antique stores. I was hoping to find something interesting to go home with.  I ended up buying a Grimm’s Fairy Tales book,  a beautiful, green, ornate compact mirror, two old LIFE magazines dating back to October 14, 1946/ November 14, 1949, and a Red Cross Composition Book.  They all struck me as interesting in their own ways, but it was the composition notebook that caught my eye the most.  If you have never been to an antique store, usually there isn’t one solitary seller.  There are usually more than one seller and each of them have their own little booth set up.  When someone purchases something from a booth, the store owner takes down the item description and booth number.  In the last huge store we were perusing in, I came into the booth that had the LIFE magazines and was immediately interested.  I love looking into the past and would love to travel back in time to see what things were like.  I grabbed a couple that I thought looked like they would be interesting to read and look through.  When I got done picking only two (which was difficult because I wanted the whole stack and looking back I should have bought them), I turned around to the bookshelf in the booth.  I love books.  I love the way they look on a shelf, I love the way the paper smells, I love old books that look worn, I love all the interesting stories/insights they bring, I just love books.  I began to look through the shelves and in between some old, worn books I found a Red Cross Composition Book.  I thought it was odd, because it was someone’s composition notebook.  It was filled to the brim in beautiful, cursive writing.  Looking at it now, I think whoever was selling these books probably didn’t realize it was in between the books they were trying to get rid of.  Anyways,  I ended up buying it because it really struck me as interesting.  After getting back in the car to drive to the airport, I pulled it out and began to read it.  The owner of this composition book was Melville E. Wilson.  On the back of the front cover were the words “Collected while at school.” I flipped through this notebook to find 235 quotes from all sorts of famous literary people like Shakespeare, Longfellow, and many other fancy names I have never heard of.  They are all very beautiful quotes, lyrics, morals and ideas.  I continued to flip through and found 7 more pages of short selections he enjoyed.  He also scribbled down some of his favorite quotes numbers.  He had numbered all of them.  Sitting loosely in this book was a piece of paper outlining the “Glee Club Regulations”( which I am assuming Melville was in), a dedication program for the First Methodist Church in Guntersville, Alabama 1922 (where he was a pastor) and lastly a newspaper clipping with the title “The Drunkard’s Soliloquy.” I enjoyed reading all his entry’s, but the entry that I enjoyed reading the most was found on the last page of the notebook.  It contained a song.  Written above the song was “M. E. Wilson’s favorite song.”  The title of the song is “Forgotten” by Eugene Cowels back in 1922.  I found it extremely beautiful and wanted to share it.  I will post the song below as well as some pictures.

 

 

M. E. Wilson’s favorite song.

Forgotten

Forgotten you?  Well if forgetting,

Be thinking all the day.

How the long hours drag since you left me,

Days seem years with you away.

Or hearing through all the strange babble,

Of voices now grave, now gay

Only your voice can this be forgetting?

Yet I have forgotten you say.

Or counting each moment with longing,

Till the one when I’ll see you again.

If this be forgetting you’re right dear,

And I have forgotten you then.

Forgotten you? Well if forgetting,

Be reading each face that I see.

With eyes that mark ever a feature,

Save yours as you last looked at me.

Forgotten you?  Well if forgetting,

Be yearning with all my heart.

With a longing half pain and half rapture,

For the time when we never shall part.

Of the wild wish to see you and hear you,

To be held in your arms again.

If this be forgetting you’re right dear,

And I have forgotten you then.

Forgotten,

You say.

-Eugene Cowels 1922

 

Here is a link to the sheet music:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/collection/140/136

 

If you would like to hear the original song, here is the link:

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