This parlor song about a love that is no more was first published in 1860, starting life as a poem called I Will Twine 'Mid The Ringlets
. Other than the fact that another of her poems, Mildred
, was published in the November 1860 edition of Godey's Lady Book
, not a lot is known about its author, Maud Irving. But a great deal is known about the man who set it to music. Joseph Philbrick Webster was quite a famous composer in his day, and his song "Lorena
" found its way into the 1939 epic Gone With The Wind
As for Maud Irving, research by E.M. Bram
reveals that "she" was likely a pseudonym for the poet J. William Van Namee. Since "Ringlets" was published in a ladies' magazine, it made sense for him to assume that gender. Many magazines of poetry from the era were targeted to women, and the poems within typically credited to female writers.
Van Namee appeared to drop the pseudonym in later works, and published his collection Poems
in 1868 under his real name. The "Maud Irving" moniker later appeared as titles and fictional characters in some later works written by others.