Sarah Williams' lyrics "Though my soul may set in darkness" from her poem "The Old Astronomer" were set to music with a nice melody. See this YouTube video, for example. The melody is attributed to Franz Joseph Haydn.

Which Haydn piece was this melody taken from?

Searching the web only resulted in sites that show "Though my soul..." linked to Haydn, but without naming the underlying piece. Searching the melody on Musipedia.org had no satisfying results either.

Does anyone more familiar with Haydn's work recognise the melody?

1 Answer 1


It is a canon called Der Hirsch. There are at least two instances of it on YouTube, though they seem to use the same sound recording. The tempo is marked "allegretto" in the manuscript, which explains why this is rather faster:

The piece appears to have been composed in the last decade of the 18th century, in contrast to the claim in your link, though it was not published until 1810.

  • Interesting to hear how speed changes the feel of that song. Thank you so much for your answer!
    – Arsak
    Sep 8, 2020 at 9:55

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