Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment.

Professor Scott explains that Clay was able to devote himself to composition because of a legacy left to him by his father, who died in 1873. He wrote music for the stage and collaborated with Gilbert in the early 1870s; indeed, he was the person who introduced W.S. Gilbert to Arthur Sullivan. “I’ll Sing Thee Songs of Araby” is from his cantata Lalla Rookh, and is an example of the kind of romantic vision of the East that is indebted to the tales of the 1001 Nights.


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Created 9 December 2015