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The Lost Chord
Words by Adelaide A. Proctor.
Published by Boosey & Co., 1877.


Fred Sullivan
Fred Sullivan

Sullivan composed The Lost Chord whilst watching at his brother Fred's bedside during his last illness. The manuscript is dated 13 January 1877 and Fred Sullivan died five days later.

The success of the song was immediate and stupendous. The song became particularly associated with Mrs. Ronalds who often sang it at society functions, and none other than the Prince of Wales was said to have remarked that he would travel the length of his future kingdom to hear her sing it.

Sullivan later commented: "I have composed much music since then, but have never written a second Lost Chord," and Dame Clara Butt, many years later, would opine: "What we need now is more songs like The Lost Chord. There is something of the grandeur of Beethoven in it."

Recording: Reed Miller, Edison Blue Amberol 2106; Edison Amberol 202. (1913) Restoration by Adam Cuerden. [MP3, 4MB]


Karaoke File

The score for the ad lib. additional accompaniment for harmonium is also available.[265K]


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The Lost Chord 1
Seated one day at the organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys;
I know not what I was playing
Or what I was dreaming then,
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen,
Like the sound of a great Amen.
It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an Angel's Psalm,
And it lay on my fever'd spirit,
With a touch of infinite calm,
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The Lost Chord 2
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The Lost Chord 3
It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife,
It seem'd the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.
It link'd all perplexed meanings,
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence,
As if it were loth to cease;
I have sought but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
Which came from the soul of the organ,
And enter'd into mine.

It may be that Death's bright Angel,
Will speak in that chord again;
It may be that only in Heav'n,
I shall hear that grand Amen.
It may be that Death's bright Angel,
Will speak in that chord again;
It may be that only in Heav'n,
I shall hear that grand Amen.
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The Lost Chord 4

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