H.D.L. Webster, a Presbyterian minister in Lanesville, Ohio, wrote the words to this song in 1856 after family opposition prevented his marriage to 19-year-old Ella Blockston, who sang in his church choir. Some years later, when composer J.P. Webster (no relation) asked the Reverend for words to accompany a piece of music he had just written, Webster offered this poem. Although the heroine was originally named "Bertha," she was re-christened "Lorena" to provide the three-syllable name needed to fit the meter of the music. Thus did the lost love of Reverend Webster's youth secure a place for herself in musical history.


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Last modified 16-April-2001