In Infancy

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IN INFANCY. AKA - "In infancy our hopes and fears." English, Air (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The popular melody first appears in the opera Artaxerxes (London, 1762), an Italian-style work by Thomas Arne and Pietro Metastasio. It was picked up in period instrumental and vocal music collections and tutors, such as Joseph Hill's Compleat Tutor for the German Flute (London, 1762), Throwgood and Horne's Compleat Tutor for the Guitar(London, 1763), and Longman's Compleat Instructions for the German Flute (London, 1769). It was also employed in other stage productions, such as The Coach Drivers (1766), Lucinda (1769) and The Reconciliation, or the Triumph of Nature (1790).

"In Infancy" appears in a number of musicians' manuscript collections on both sides of the Atlantic. American manuscripts include those of John Greenwood (c. 1785), singer Bathshua Pynchon (Springfield, Ma., 1797), flute player John Hoff (Lancaster, Pa., 1797), Thomas Remington (Warwick, R.I., c. 1778), John Ives (New London, Conn., c. 1800), and John Curtiss (Cheshire, Conn., 1800). In England, Lincolnshire musician Joshua Gibbons originally set the tune in the key of C major in his mss., for two voices.

The lyric begins:

In Infancy, our Hopes and Fears
Were to each other known;
And friendship, in our riper years,
has twin'd our hearts in one.
Oh! clear him then from this offence,
thy love, thy duty prove;
Restore him with that innocence
That first inspired my love.

There is some similarity in the first strain to the country dance "Harlequin Gambols" and the hornpipe "Colosseum (The)."

Source for notated version: the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources: Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; p. 32 (set for two instruments).

Recorded sources:




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