The website for Dr Martin Shaw OBE FRCM (1875 –1958)

"There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight"

Oberon in 'I Know a Bank'


sheet music of 'I know a bank' fading out into a circle. Instruction 'tenderly'.


22: I Know a Bank

Recording Artists: Iain Burnside & Sophie bevan

Originally written as Oberon’s Song from Fools and Fairies (Shaw’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), I Know a Bank went on to be one of his best known compositions after it was published as a song in its own right in 1922.

The quiet, slow-moving chords are intended to give a sense of moonlight.

In a lively and affectionate letter from Shaw’s colleague from The Guildhouse, the suffragist and pioneer of Female Ordination Maude Royden wrote from one of her world preaching tours in 1928:

... I went to a horrid shouting party in Australia – the sort at which a mob of demented humans try to out-shriek each other for hours at a time – when suddenly someone began to sing “I know a bank” – by Martin Shaw (nothing said about Shakespeare) and I nearly wept for joy. Also from home-sickness.


The dedication (by permission) is to Her Royal Highness the Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles, later, in 1946, the Princess Royal. The permission may have been granted via Shaw’s friend and Lady in Waiting to Princess Mary, Lady Mary Trefusis.


William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) J B Cramer 1923, 1924 in print