“‘Tis Summer”: Summer Songs and Rose Tea Recipe

While in Cincinnati from about 1847 to 1849, which he later called the “happiest years of his life,” Stephen Foster wrote several songs set in the summer, “Stay Summer Breath” for family friend and soprano Sophie Marshall, “Summer Longings” with words from the Home Journal for fellow boarder Samuel Thompson, and “I Would Not Die in Summer Time,” part of a series with “I Would Not Die in Spring Time,” under the pseudonym “Milton Moore,”and “I Would Not Die in Winter” under a pseudonym, later parodied by another writer as “I Would Not Die At All.” Stephen also wrote “Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway” a few years later in 1850 in homage to Thomas Moore’s “The Last Rose of Summer.”

“I Would Not Die in Summer Time”:

I would not die in Summer time

When hearts are light and free,

And joy is borne from ev’ry clime

O’er mountain, stream, and lea.

I would not leave the friends I know,

Beguiled of hope and cheer,

To lose in burning tears of woe

The glad time of the year.

+ “May the Red Rose Live Alway” Tea Recipe

Rose tea was popular in the Colonial and Federal era in the United States, often made with rose petals, rosewater, or rose hips.

1-2 cups organic rose petals

3 cups water

Drain the 1-2 cups rose petals (make sure they are organic and pesticide-free!) in a colander. Place petals in a saucepan with the 3 cups of water and boil over a stove for five minutes. Let strain, pour in cups, and serve with a sweetener like honey or by itself.


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