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

According to Professor Scott, Maria Lindsay, born in Wimbledon, was one of the earliest commercially successful women songwriters. She wrote secular ballads as “Miss M. Lindsay” and sacred ballads as “Mrs J. Worthington Bliss.” She married the Canadian-born Rev. John Worthington Bliss in 1858. Her song “The Bridge” was advertised by music publisher Robert Cocks as “What a lyrical composition intended to be popular ought to be—it has no unnecessary difficulties, and is available for all who sing to amuse themselves or their friends.” (Notes and Queries, 5 Jan. 1861). Lindsay does not lack flexible subtlety, however, in her treatment of the poem, and she conveys successfully the poet’s mood of melancholic contemplation. Longfellow’s “The Bridge” first appeared in his Ballads and Other Poems of 1842. Lindsay omits stanzas 2-5, 12 and 13.


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

Last modified 12 December 2011