“Sparkling and Bright” by Charles Fenno Hoffman—Happy New Year!

by Ann Neilson

I do not speak about my personal life on this blog, nor will I make a point to in the future; however, what I will say, upon reflection, is that it has been a year of both devastation and joy. Loved ones were lost, unspeakable grief was felt, yet in the darkness was a constant light, which never extinguished. I welcome 2018.

To celebrate, please enjoy what is considered to be a song “full of lyric feeling,” according to Edgar Allan Poe, which, during its time, was “unsurpassed by any similar production in the English language,” according to the National Repository. Hoffman’s song is catchy, witty, charming and timeless. It was so popular during its time that it saw numerous rewrites, including several sobered parodies. Such a version, with the original tune, can be heard here. I have the original sheet music stored somewhere, which I cannot for the life of me find, so here’s a “sobered” lyrical version of the sheet music, which also carries the same original tune.

As I bid everyone a Happy New Year’s Eve, I will leave this post with another Hoffman story, which may be of interest, and which is appropriate for the holiday, “New Year’s Visiting in Hades” (originally published in the New-York Mirror, December 30, 1837).

Sparkling and Bright
Charles Fenno Hoffman

SPARKLING and bright in liquid light,
Does the wine our goblets gleam in,
With hue as red as the rosy bed
Which a bee would choose to dream in.
Then fill to-night, with hearts as light,
To loves as gay and fleeting   
As bubbles that swim on the beaker’s brim,
And break on the lips while meeting.

Oh! if Mirth might arrest the flight
Of Time through Life’s dominions,
We here a while would now beguile
The gray-beard of his pinions,
To drink to-night, with hearts as light,
To loves as gay and fleeting   
As bubbles that swim on the beaker’s brim,
And break on the lips while meeting. 

But since delight can’t tempt the wight,
Nor fond regret delay him,
Nor Love himself can hold the elf,
Nor sober Friendship stay him,
We’ll drink to-night, with hearts as light,
To loves as gay and fleeting   
As bubbles that swim on the beaker’s brim,
And break on the lips while meeting.

See you all in the New Year! -Ann